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Sunset High by Marla Braziel
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I won a copy of Sunset High through Library Thing.

The Sunset High series are short Novella's and the copy I won has all 5 in one. I actually like this better, because to me it should just be one book, with 5 parts. Annabell starts out wanting to find her high school victim, someone that's emotional and will give her the most feelings as she drains their life away. First she picks Aidan, but he's sort of hard to get to know, so she plots and plans to get close to his friend and girlfriend. Dublin beco,es the next target, because she is a wreck of a person, and finally it becomes Bane because he's a psychopath. I enjoyed the story enough, and thought it was played out well, keeping me sort of guessing and wondering what was going to happen. The end surprised me to a degree. The series lacked details and depth tho, and that's something I've gotten used to as far as series go. I think Sunset High would sell better as one book, and I think fans of Amanda Hocking would enjoy it. ( )
  Supera710 | Jun 15, 2012 |
I must warn any potential readers of this review that I will spoil parts of this story in the interest of providing a thorough review.

I won a copy of Musical Chairs, book one of the Sunset High series, through LibraryThing in early May. I felt a little gypped since the book ends before reaching a conclusion, so when I saw that all five books were up for a giveaway, I gave the author the benefit of the doubt and entered in. I won a copy and once I received it, I sat down to read, which only took me a couple of hours since the books are a quick read.

The one thing that glared at me all throughout this series was the fact that all five books had incomplete storylines and could be combined to create a full novel. I was curious to see if I could break each book up into a separate part of the plot structure and I found that I could:
Exposition: Annabel looks for her yearly victim (Musical Chairs).
Inciting incident: Annabel meets and sets her sights on Deblin (end of Musical Chairs).
Rising action: Annabel befriends Bane to get closer to Deblin (Under Construction).
Turning point: Annabel plans to kill Bane (end of Under Construction and Cutthroat).
Point of no return: Bane tries to kill Annabel (end of Cutthroat).
Crisis: Annabel kills Deblin and frames Bane (They).
Climax: Eric kills Bane and makes it look like a suicide (end of They). This part of a story is supposed to be a confrontation between the protagonist (Annabel) and antagonist (Bane) in which only one survives but it’s completely anticlimactic because Eric does it.
Falling action: With no one to stop her, Annabel acts on her lust for Aiden (Blood Lust).
Conclusion: Annabel accidentally kills Aiden and dies herself (end of Blood Lust).

First, I have to say that the title of this series is a very common name and I would have liked to see something other than “Sunset High” as the name of a night school, which is only briefly mentioned once or twice throughout the books to indicate why the series is titled as such. Another thing that is only mentioned once is Annabel’s master’s name (Eric) and this is in the last book, so throughout the series, she calls him “my master” over and over again to the point I wanted to jump into the book and ring Annabel’s neck. I thought the ambiguity was more annoying than mysterious.

More generally, I thought the dialogue was rather well written (although that certainly doesn’t mean it couldn’t be tweaked to flow better) but that the dialogue tags were clumsy, superfluous, and at times, verbose where a simple “he said” would have sufficed. The grammar and spelling mistakes in the books were hard to overlook at times. Some sentences were written awkwardly and/or archaically to the point I had to reread lines to catch the gist of what the author was saying. Characterization was stereotypical and flimsy, if not nonexistent (as is the case of Eric who doesn’t even get an official name until the end of book five). I felt the characters were caricatures of personalities: Bane is a cookie-cutter killer who is also rich and gothic; Aiden is pussy-whipped, a typical good guy who would give the shirt off his back for a stranger; Deblin is poor, controlling, and self-loathing, coming from alcohol- and drug-abusing parents who physically abuse her and leave her to raise her many siblings; and Annabel who is selfish and a little self-loathing when she constantly whines about the fact she doesn’t have mind reading abilities like Eric does.

I thought Annabel’s “love” for Aiden was shallow. Immediately upon seeing him, she falls in love with him, then spends the rest of the books fawning over how gorgeous he is, yet states how stupid he is and how she hates his flighty personality. This is ridiculous because in the real world, people fall in love with someone as a whole and fall in infatuation with people they find attractive. If at some point in the story someone (perhaps Eric) tells her that she doesn’t really love Aiden, that she’s just sexually attracted to him, then I would be okay with it but that doesn’t happen. I would have liked some foreshadowing so that the ending didn’t seem so convenient. Annabel’s complaints about how she doesn’t have mind reading abilities like Eric doesn’t suffice as foreshadowing either.

It would help if there was some richness behind the story that added reality to their world. Annabel touches on how she’s an emotional eater in Musical Chairs, how vampire law states that it’s forbidden to give a human reason to believe you’re a vampire in Under Construction, about the vampire healing process in Cutthroat and on the subject of They in the self-titled book, but aside from that, there’s no depth to the lore of the vampires Ms. Braziel created. ( )
  Katie.Loughlin | Jun 2, 2012 |
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Dedicated to anyone who has ever dared to be different.
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How could I have known that everything would go so wrong?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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