Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Review: Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

Yeah, I know I suck. I have excuses. I've been reading Batman comics again, which is a huge time suck. My sister's fetish for mustaches has manifested itself into an active blog which I somehow got involved in. I've been being social, getting attached to drama I had nothing to do with because I commented on my friend's facebook status (another reason why facebook sucks.) I've been listening to Hole, which in and of itself is a hobby. I've been reading for school, I've been reading other blogs, I've been drawing, I've been wasting hours of my life pacing the hallways in my house because for some reason I really like to pace (this is a true story.) I've been involved with totally stupid things and therefore have not been blogging as much as I should have and for that, I apologize. But here I bring you a super totally awesome review of a super totally awesome book by a dude I super totally awesomely interviewed here and, just this once, I ask your forgivness. Okay, not this once. But I'm asking.

Title: Thirteen Days to Midnight

Author: Patrick Carman

Pages: 296

Received from: the stupendous author, free of charge.


You are indestructible. Three whispered words transfer an astonishing power to Jacob Fielding that changes everything. At first, Jacob is hesitant to use the power, unsure of its implications. But there's something addictive about testing the limits of fear.

Then Ophelia James, the beautiful and daring new girl in town, suggests that they use the power to do good, to save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows into the specter of a curse. How to decide who lives and who dies?

In this nail-biting novel of mystery and dark intrigue, Jacob must walk the razor thin line between right and wrong, good and evil, and life and death. And time is running out. Because the Grim Reaper doesn't disappear. . . . He catches up.

This book opens with a questions:

If you had only one superpower, what would it be?

He's anticipated your answer, our narrator. He knows what you'd say; flying, reading minds. And it can only be one, he emphatizes. One, with all it's faults. And, Jacob makes clear, they all have faults.

Jacob Fielding attends the dying old Christian school Holy Cross, run by part-time plumbers and an aging priest, along with his best friend Milo and about a hundred other students. After returning from a week-long hiatus upon the death of his foster father, Jacob is met with surprising news; there's a new girl in school.

Ophelia James, nicknamed Oh (like Oh! shit, Oh), is perfect; beautiful, fearless, a bit scrappy but still inherently awesome. When he meets her, introduced by Milo, she asks him to be the first to sign her cast (a skateboarding trick gone awry) as compensation for losing the only family he had. He does so, reluctantly, with these words:

Your are indestructible.

More morbid then poetic, these are the last words Foster Father said to Jacob before he died in a car wreck. Five minutes later, Oh idiotically feels the need to do grab some mad air yo! (Or whatever the kids are calling it these days.) Needless to say, she crashes. Hard. But the thing is, she is completly fine. This is weird, considering normal people would have been a pulpy mess the way Carman described the fall.

But she's not, she's perfectly fine, perfectly perfect, and this is where the problem lies.

As I've mentioned above and, I'm sure, countles other times, I'm hugely into comic books and superheroes and the whole "what would you do?" delemna. It's one of those questions where you could ask a hundred people and get a thousand answers, you know? And if you do ask, chances are everyone will be lying their ass off. Like if someone said, if they could turn invisible, and they happened to have inviisble clothes to go with it, they'd totally use it to save people somehow. But in reality? How could you resist the temptation to walk into a Wal Mart and stick a few DVDs in your invisible pants? You couldn't. If you could, your either not human or...Jesus.

These are the type of themes explored in Thirteen Days to Midnight; you are indestructable. What now?

Character-wise is where Thirteen falls flat; because, while the plot itself is interesting and well-developed, Jacob, Milo and Oh were....not. That's not to say they were bad characters, they just weren't necessarily characters I felt like reading about for two hundred pages.

Jacob himself was your typical narrator, really. An everyman, average with girls, a bit of a slacker but generally an alright dude. Yes, there are some noble attempts Catman made to give him some individuality, but he was always, in the end, a confused, slightly awkward kid which is fine, really, if it hadn't been done three billion times beforehand.

Just as Jacob is a Typical Narrator, Milo is a Typical Sassy Best Friend. He has a dry sense of humor, he has special little place where he and his friends chill at (his parents totally awesome sounding book store), he always has some retort or another for basically everything everybody says and, most importantly, he aids our narrator just by existing. Funny dude, I'd hang out with him, but it's made clear from his first appearence that he is not meant to lead, he is meant to follow. That's fine, if your into it.

Oh, okay. She was Maybe he's dissilussioned by his hormones, but Jacob spends the entire novel talking about how awesome she is and you know what? I'm not seeing it. I'm not just. She's an average chick who's, yeah, a Typical Love Interest/Plot Device. She's all spunky and low-mateinence and tomboyish but she's gorgeous ya'll! or something. I mean, you've heard one of them you've heard 'em all, right?

The characters for this novel, luckily, is not where the interest lies. It's the plot, the fact that it makes you think, and the mytery of the whole thing that kept me reading and it'll probably do the same for you. Reccomended.

Rating: 8


Simon said...

You know it was your idea.

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