Sweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell

sweet unrestSweet Unrest by Lisa Maxwell, to be published on October 8 by Flux.

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Source: publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Flux, for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!).

Genre: YA paranormal fantasy.

Lucy Aimes has always been practical. But try as she might, she can’t come up with a logical explanation for the recurring dreams that have always haunted her. Dark dreams. Dreams of a long-ago place filled with people she shouldn’t know…but does. 

When her family moves to a New Orleans plantation, Lucy’s dreams become more intense, and her search for answers draws her reluctantly into the old city’s world of Voodoo and mysticism. There, Lucy finds Alex, a mysterious boy who behaves as if they’ve known each other forever. Lucy knows Alex is hiding something, and her rational side doesn’t want to be drawn to him. But she is. 

As she tries to uncover Alex’s secrets, a killer strikes close to home, and Lucy finds herself ensnared in a century-old vendetta. With the lives of everyone she loves in danger, Lucy will have to unravel the mystery of her dreams before it all comes to a deadly finish. (Goodreads)

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My rating: 2.5/5.

I sometimes think I read too much YA. It’s not true, of course, as the problem lies elsewhere – the books I read are just so bloody similar! It’s like I can’t find an original idea anywhere, it’s all so derivative… Gah! I’m in a foul mood.

This book is a dead ringer for Beautiful Creatureswhich I read a couple of years ago and disliked intensely. Ok, maybe it’s not *exactly* alike, but the setting, the flashbacks to another time, the insipid heroine… Well. But let’s all pretend for a moment that I hadn’t read Beautiful Creatures before and give Sweet Unrest a chance at a fair review.

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I… rather enjoyed the book. It didn’t offend me in any way, I got through it fast enough and I guess that if destiny, fated love and deep, longing glances are your thing, there’s a good chance you’ll like it. It just isn’t my cup of tea.

I always gobble up any books placed in the American South – I have a craving to visit New Orleans and then tour the bayou and all. You’ll have to forgive me – my knowledge of the South stems entirely from pop culture, so it’s probably really stereotypical. So I liked the setting here, what with the old, mossy oaks, French Quarter and voodoo.

But Maxwell never really got past this stereotypical image of the place and people, either. The voodoo priestess that Lucy (the protagonist) goes to visit with her friend Chloe is one such example. As much as they insist voodoo there is real and nothing like B-rated movies, Mama Legba sure sounds as if she was pulled from one: “We gonna shuffle the deck, Lucy girl, and you gonna to draw. Then I’ll read the cards for you,” she says. And then: “Everything is energy. You is energy. I is energy.” Do you see what I mean?

Lucy is a photographer – and she goes on and on about how good her photos are. All she wants to do is return to her beloved Chicago and pursue a career there. But then she meets the mysterious, gorgeous, green-eyed Alexandre and her world turns upside-down. She says things like: I never really believed before that a single moment could change you. That one minute you could be one person, and then something might happen that is so transformative that you become someone completely different.” Hmm… Really, not my thing.

I dislike romance plots where the falling in love (epic, immortal love) is inevitable and fated and the two poor souls have no choice but to be mad about each other. I mean – it’s not like you choose to love someone in any case, so why make it seem like it was destiny? I much prefer the sweet, ordinary kind of love that is no less deep and real, even if it’s not the stuff of legend.

So my verdict is: this is an average read that some might enjoy but I won’t be particularly insistent in trying to persuade you to go and get a copy for yourself, sadly.

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Have you read this book? How about Beautiful Creatures? Did you like it? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts!