Title: Death’s Promise
Author: Cheryl Twaddle
Length: 5324 Kindle units
Rating: 3 stars
Annabelle has always been an outcast at her high school. She would rather stay home and read than talk about clothes and boys, so everyone – especially her ex-best friend Rhonda – makes fun of her. Annabelle’s only escape is her dreams, in which she finds herself experiencing some of history’s most notable events. Then one day a boy from her dreams steps into her waking life, and she begins to realize that there might be more to her nightly trips than she ever knew.
Death’s Promise actually ranked pretty high on my give-a-crap meter, which is to say that I did give a crap about what happened to the characters. Annabelle’s situation – her grief over her father’s death, her dissociation from her friends at school – was sympathetic, and I was interested to see how she grew from being a weak person into a stronger one.
My favorite character in the book was Rainbow, a girl who died of an accidental drug overdose and was destined to haunt Woodstock forever and help people like Annabelle who came her way. I liked how, even though fate had dealt her a pretty tough hand, she still worked to help Orin and Annabelle as much as she could.
I have said it before, and I’m sure I will say it again: Third person omniscient narration is NEVER a good idea. Death’s Promise sort of pulled it off in that I didn’t get confused (except when we were suddenly in the head of a character we had never heard of, which happened a few times). But omniscient third person always ends up unbalanced because there is no way you can know what every character is thinking at all times. So in any given scene, you only know what some of the characters are thinking some of the time, and there isn’t a clear explanation of why you know what you do and don’t know what you don’t. Third person narration limited to one character per scene works out a lot better.
I had some issues with the believability of Death’s Promise. I don’t know about the rest of you, but in my high school, a tolerably pretty girl who was not particularly smart or sociable or in any way special would not have been constantly ridiculed; she would have been ignored. So it didn’t really make sense to me that Annabelle’s classmates harassed her. I also couldn’t figure out the physics involved in the mythology. I mean, if Annabelle was traveling back in time in her dreams, but leaving her body behind, how would that work? Does history exist on a different plane or something? Because trying to figure out the physics of how that would work makes my head hurt.
I found the romance rather disappointing, primarily because the potential love interests had no depth. We had Orin the goody-good boy, and Jett the baaaad one. It’s not an atypical set up, but usually we see some kind of contradiction, like the good boy doesn’t really understand her or the bad boy truly believes he’s doing the right thing. Yeah, not so much here. Orin is good, and Jett is bad, and neither boy is particularly interesting.
The plot of the novel revolves around Jett having to convince Annabelle to fall in love with him so that he can be freed from his prison realm. In order to achieve his goal, he kidnaps her, drugs her, and tricks her into thinking that he is her savior. Yet if she believed she loved him in this drug-addled state, it would have been enough to set him free. This seems to me a very poorly designed spell that can be broken by a shallow semblance of love.
Will I read more?
I believe that this is a stand-alone book, so I don’t think that there is more to read. But if there were more, or if the author wrote a different book, would I read it? Maybe. I have definitely read worse things in my life. But probably not. The story was not particularly satisfying, and the mythology was rather disjointed. I’m just not really feeling it.