Thursday, June 17, 2010

Three Viewpoint Thursday: THE PACE

Every third or fourth Thursday, Alyson, Vilate and I get together and talk about a young adult or middle-grade book in a roundtable discussion-type forum. Our latest book chat was about THE PACE by Shelena Shorts.

Weston Wilson is not immortal and he is of this world. But, aging is not part of his existence, and eighteen-year-old Sophie Slone is determined to find out why. In doing so, she could also uncover something about her own life expectancy that she may not want to know. Suddenly, immortality will mean everything and nothing all at the same time.

WARNING: Towards the end there a few minor spoilers. Nothing that will completely ruin the plot for you, but we do reference a few scenes towards the end of the novel, so keep that in mind.

Renee: If we're ready, let's start talking about The Pace, by Shelena Shorts.

Renee: First, what was everyone's general response or opinion of the book?

Aly: My initial impressions weren't that positive.  To be serious, the story had a very slow beginning for me.  I kept feeling like skimming sections.  But then it picked up some more about mid-way through the book when you find out about Wes and his background.

Vilate: For me, the book never really picked up. I felt like I was reading an initial draft of a story instead of a finished product.  I honestly don't know if I have anything good to say about the book, which is sad because even with Going Bovine there were some redeeming qualities.

Renee: For me, it was one of those books that had the right "recipe" for a good book (mysterious boy with paranormal abilities, girl in a new environment, "forbidden love," etc.) but  the finished product just didn't come out quite right. I agree with Vi that it felt like a very EARLY draft. The beginning just kind of happened; and Wes and Sophie meet too soon, before I even know who she is or whether I should care about her yet. Also, the ending felt way rushed and wrapped up too neatly.

Vilate: To be honest, I did end up skipping parts.  There was a lot of relationship-building that was slow.  I don't mind character development without a lot of plot as a general rule, but that takes some panache.  Stephenie Meyer did it well with Twilight.  She made the reader […] enough about the various connections of the characters, but The Pace had no real fire to it.  Not enough to hook me into caring about her main characters.

Aly: See, that was part of my problem.  I realize that Twilight has some significant issues.  But Meyer does something with her story development and characters that obviously not only worked for me, but for many, many others.  I think you are right in that this feels like an ARC that still needs a lot of work rather than a finished product.  I also felt like there were lines and images lifted directly from Twilight and not even done as well.  I wanted to like the book because of the interesting concept but it just never seemed to deliver.  And the end was too abrupt.

Renee: I have read books where the writing wasn't necessarily "good writing," but I got swept up in the story anyway -- sort of like a guilty pleasure -- but something was really lacking in this book. The characters didn't have any chemistry together, and separately they seemed very flat: Wes is perfect, and Sophie is codependent and needy. But there is a growing following for this book on Goodreads (and I'm sure elsewhere) so I wonder what is it that makes some people rave about it and others (like the 3 of us) have such lukewarm or negative responses. I can't put my finger on specifically what was missing...

Aly: I see the three of us being realistic readers.  We are generous on some level especially with things that we tend to like - as you said - with guilty pleasures.  But I think we also can see where a book could have been improved or maybe a plot line wasn't working.  So it is strange.  Maybe there are just a lot of people out there looking for something like Twilight and this seemed *close* to them?  I don't know.  But Renee you are so summing it up for me. 

Aly: What did you think about the twist with Sophie and her *past lives*?

Vilate: I'll speak to that.  One word: Evermore.  The idea of one guy living as an immortal while the girl he loves is reincarnated is definitely the plot of Evermore. But, again, the execution of the idea was done so much better in Evermore, even though I still gave that one a little less than four stars.

Renee: Funny that you mention the Evermore series, b/c that is exactly what I thought about when reading this book too. This *past lives* theme has been explored in YA, even in one of my favorite new authors, but it was handled differently. I will say that the *past lives* storyline was one of the few things that interested me in their story. That and the almost science-fiction explanation behind "what" Wes is.

Vilate: That did catch my interest, too.  I feel like I'm just sounding completely negative in this chat, but unfortunately, as interesting as it was, it didn't keep me hooked and all the telling and non-action around it just let the whole concept fizzle out for me.

Aly: I loved the explanation of the science behind what Wes was and I think that could have been wonderfully developed and more action and other aspects pulled into the story.  And I'm not sure I would have been completely bothered by the re-incarnation twist if again it was executed properly.  However, it just fizzled out.

Renee: The explanation behind “what” Wes was was great for me, b/c I was expecting some sort of faerie/vampire/angel story, and I loved the originality of it. For me, it wasn't used to its fullest because he explained what he was, and then it didn't play any part in the larger plot until the last few chapters. I think if there was less time spent trying to convince the readers that Wes/Sophie was a worthwhile couple (though I wasn't thoroughly convinced), the author could have devoted more time to developing action around Wes' uniqueness and then picked up the pace of The Pace.

Vilate: I agree with that, Renee.  It's very sad that I can't find much positive to say about this book because there were some good concepts introduced.  But it was bogged down by things like all the exposition in the beginning, and really just the entire ending.  I had to re-read the end to make sure I wasn't confused by what was happening.  Not only was the kidnapping predictable, but the actual ending was very abrupt.  What did you two think of the ending?

Aly: Agreed.  I had to re-read it to see if maybe I was missing something.  I still feel like I was missing something.  But abrupt is a common word that I have seen from several people who did not feel as positive about the book.

Renee: I don't know what happened at the end. STILL. Wes and Sophie were deeply buried in this (slightly melodramatic) no-escape situation.... and then she opens her eyes and they are both fine in each other's arms. I really have no idea WHAT happened in the end, and that could have been a good place for some action scenes to build up Wes as a hero or introduce a new character for the sequel or something.

Vilate: I thought she died at the end...

Aly: I thought we were back in a dream sequence.  Oh, this is bad when 3 readers aren't sure.  Anyway, I did feel that the whole thing with the research and the serum could have been used for action.  And that didn't seem to be developed well and then there could have been more to how that was used to end the book and set it up for the sequel.  IDK.

Renee: Sadly, none of us really knows what happened at the end (which is *great* for anyone looking to read it, since we didn't spoil it). I still can't put my finger on what was so off about this book. Is there any demographic or fan base you would recommend this to (besides Twilight) since there are many people falling in love with this story?

Vilate: Yeah... Unfortunately, I can't in good faith recommend this book to anyone at this point.  I'd be failing as a reviewer.  However, it is aimed at the Twilight demographic.

Aly: I think there are so many books that I would recommend first to readers even within the “Twilight demographics” before this one.  I realize the author has worked hard on writing a story and I realize that an agent, editor and publisher found it worth publishing.  And there are a lot of 4 star reviews but I cannot in good conscience recommend this to anyone.

Renee: I don't want this to sound rude, but I would probably only recommend it to someone new to the YA paranormal genre. Being well-read in young adult fantasy, there were too many obvious parallels to other series and examples we could think of (without trying too hard) where the same concept was executed better. So MAYBE if you aren't very familiar with the genre, you could really get into it, but honestly it is not one I really feel the need to tell my friends about.

Renee: Any final thoughts? There is a sequel (The Broken Lake) being released this summer on August 19, so obviously the series is gaining steam...

Vilate: Actually, I really think it's just because the publisher is fairly new and independent...  I'm pretty sure it's not because the series has enough die-hard fans to warrant a sequel.  As for final thoughts... I think I've already said everything I can. lol.

Aly: I have said everything that I need to say about that.

Renee: Alright, well thanks for another lovely chat.

Until next time,
Happy Reading!



  1. Yeah, I definitely was not a fan of the execution at all, too laundry list for me. Also, I wasn't really feeling the execution. I wound up giving this a 3-star review on goodreads.

  2. Okay... we felt in the minority for people who didn't completely love the book. I think it was 2.5 stars for me, personally.