Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Amazon Description: Boy, did Blink get off on the wrong floor. All he wanted was to steal some breakfast for his empty belly, but instead he stumbled upon a fake kidnapping and a cell phone dropped by an "abducted" CEO, giving Blink a link to his perfect blonde daughter. Now Blink is on the run, but it s OK as long as he s smart enough to stay in the game and keep Captain Panic locked in his hold. Enter a girl named Caution. As in "Caution: Toxic." As in "Caution: Watch Your Step." She s also on the run, from a skeezy drug-dealer boyfriend and from a nightmare in her past that won t let her go. When she spies Blink at the train station, Caution can see he s an easy mark. But there s something about this naïve, skinny street punk, whom she only wanted to rob, that tugs at her heart, a heart she thought deserved not to feel. Charged with suspense and intrigue, this taut novel trails two deeply compelling characters as they forge a blackmail scheme that is foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst - along with a fated, tender partnership that will offer them each a rare chance for redemption.

My Review: You know those books that seem to have such a great premise? They just seem really promising and cool...and then you read it and they're really blah? This was this book for me. The cover immediately popped out at me and the synopsis made it seem really cool, so I was quite eager to read it. I admit, the usage of the "you" tense during Blink's POV threw me off a little bit I got used to it pretty quickly and eagerly continued on with the story. And at first, it was alright. It was setting up to be interesting—we saw a crime happen early on, we met a drug dealer, we had a sense of approaching danger...

And then it all kind of just died. The book just fell very flat. The crime aspect spiraled into something completely bizarre and honestly? It made no sense how the two teenagers got tangled up in it. Realistically, they would never have gotten as far as they did without being tracked down immediately. The whole crime aspect felt weird too, it didn't have any feeling of suspense or danger...there wasn't even any real reason the kids got entwined in it! There was literally no reason at all for them to get involved and yet they did for some morally-ambiguous reasons which also felt really fake (because how could anyone their age really think their plan would work and they'd make major bank that way?). Basically, the blackmail crime plot was simply a device to bring the two characters together and force them onto a road trip together so they would have to be near each other and they would have to get to know each other. Honestly, that felt lazy to me. I'd have actually preferred if the whole crime/blackmail aspect had been cut out completely and Blink and Caution met each other on the streets and worked together just to survive, possibly to stay safe from Caution's dangerous ex-boyfriend (which, by the way, was a plot that was completely left by the wayside about halfway through the book). 

I just couldn't get over the unrealistic aspect of the book and the ridiculous plot. The characters felt a bit two-dimensional (I mean, really, why was Blink on the streets? Yes, his situation sucked, but he totally had a safe place to go the whole time...and yet, instead of utilizing it, he decided that being homeless was the better option?! What? It made a little more sense for why Caution was on the streets but it still felt too dramatic and fake to me) but the story might have worked way better had the book focused more on them trying to survive on the streets, evade Caution's ex-boyfriend, and really relying on each other and getting to know each other. As it was...the book had an unrealistic plot (which, about 2/3rds of the way in, stopped being suspenseful once you realized what was actually going on...and it wasn't even that big of a deal; let's just say the bad guys, or their "plot", didn't feel scary to me for even one second) and the characters magically found all the right clues just because they were smart and read some newspapers and stole a Blackberry. Which, oddly enough, the police decided not to trace until like 48 hours later, despite the fact that the owner of the Blackberry had clearly been kidnapped in a video released to the public. 

Sorry, this review is meaner than it should be; the book wasn't awful, it just felt...empty. Like it had so much potential but wasted it on a ridiculous action/thriller plot when it could have been focusing more on character development and growth. Not really too happy I wasted my time with this one. 

Cover: Alright, the cover's pretty freaking awesome. I'll give it that. It immediately catches your eye and it just looks so shocking and cool.  

Overall Grade: C-

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