Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper JungleIn the small town of Ealing, Iowa, Austin and his best friend Robby have accidentally unleashed an unstoppable army. An army of horny, hungry, six-foot-tall praying mantises that only want to do two things. This is the truth. This is history. It's the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it. Funny, intense, complex and brave, Grasshopper Jungle is a groundbreaking, genre-bending, coming-of-age stunner.

This is possibly the most difficult review I've ever had to write. Simply because this is the first book I've ever been sent to review. 

When I received this book, I imagined loving the first book I ever reviewed as part of an agreement with a publishing house. But I didn't.

I just didn't. I really wanted to, but I didn't.

And to be completely honest, I don't think that this was down to the plot. The plot is bonkers. Not bonkers as in ridiculous bonkers, but brilliant bonkers. I liked how the plot started off, it was rather slow paced which meant you were able to take in every little thing. The idea of accidentally unleashing anarchy in the form of giant praying mantises is simply ingenious and I feel that that plot was let down by one main thing. The characters.

Austin is... well... Austin was a strange, strange character. I found it very interesting that he documented everything that happened in his life but other than that, I just couldn't stand him. There was a lot of repetitiveness in Grasshopper Jungle that gradually became less of a linguistic device and just developed into an irritating quirk of this book. This usually happened in Austin's monologues where he would repeatedly say "I'm a historian" or "This is history". I understood why it was used at first but, then the point became less and less effective. Additionally, within Austin's internal monologue, there are countless sexual references. Yes, it is very apparent that Austin thinks about sex... a lot. I'm someone who doesn't mind the odd reference here and there to sex, in fact I find it rather amusing. But this was just too much and it was a constant feature right from the beginning which lessened my liking for Grasshopper Jungle even more. 

Then there were the other characters such as Robby and Shann, and whilst I disliked them just as much as I did Austin, I just can't bring myself to have another ramble about them both. This is the first time I have DNF'd a book that I've reviewed here on my blog and I can honestly say that I think that was for the best as contrary to what I said earlier I didn't feel like the plot was going anywhere. For around the first 150 pages which is as far as I got, it was just life. Life was just happening as if the unleashing of Praying Mantises was never going to happen. And life was dull from my perspective. The book is 400 pages, so this is little under half of the book without anything of any major importance happening.

So what I'm trying to say is that this book had so much potential and could have been so great, if only the characters were a bit more dynamic and the plot's pace sped up a bit. Although I didn't finish this, I've given it a rating from what I've read.

Thank you to Electric Monkey for sending this to me to review. This book was in exchange for an honest review and that is what I've given.

 

Holly x

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