See my review of this book, and many more, at Tales from the Great East Road.
People call Elizabeth Caldwell a freak, but they don’t know the half of it. Elizabeth feels nothing: no joy, no sorrow, no fear. Instead, she sees Emotions who are called to humans whenever they experience a feeling. Most Emotions have given up on trying to work out what she is. All except for Fear who loves to torment her, hoping for any sort reaction. Elizabeth is his obsession: what is she? What made her become so numb?Elizabeth ignores his pestering, until he shows up one day with a newspaper article about an accident she suffered when she was four years old. Fear is convinced that this accident had something to do with her condition, and though Elizabeth would love to deny him she can’t help but wonder if Fear is right. Could the accident have caused this? And is it connected to the haunting dreams she’s been having, and the feeling that someone is following her?
The idea of Emotions being human-like beings is a very original, and was the thing that attracted me to this book in the first place. However, I think it’s an idea that wasn’t quite as fully fleshed out as it could have been. Not only are there Emotions, but also abstract concepts like Winter, and Moss. There doesn’t seem to be a clear rule with these, which seems a little lazy (though this may be fixed in the next book). The Emotions seemed to just be people with power to influence feelings on people, invisible to all but Elizabeth, but surely they should be the embodiment of the emotion they represent? For instance, shouldn’t Fear be afraid all the time? Instead he’s confident almost to the point of being arrogant, which has become almost a stereotype in YA romance – the ‘bad boy’: good looking, arrogant, obsessive about the main character, and obnoxious. Luckily, Fear is a milder version of this cliche and doesn’t come across as a that much of a jerk after the beginning.
On the subject of characters, neither Elizabeth nor Fear felt particularly three-dimensional. Whilst they weren’t bad characters per say, they just felt a bit flat. Fear wasn’t featured enough to show more of his personality than his obsession for Elizabeth, and Elizabeth just seemed to repeat to herself how she felt nothing, but would then talk about how her ‘wall of nothingness’ would twinge. Surely this is an emotion, even if it is only a mild feeling? This is what I believe the fundamental problem of this book to be: how can anyone successfully write a character who feels no emotion, when all we ever experience is emotion? It’s pretty much impossible, and though some works have come close, this isn’t one of them. The only character I felt was close to being complete was Joshua, the other love interest, and in the end he just gets screwed over by Elizabeth.
On the whole, this book was mildly entertaining with a good premise (I was fairly entertained whilst reading, and only saw half these problems whilst writing this review), but ultimately it was forgettable.