|My Rating: 3.5 Stars|
Ria is an 18-year-old girl who has just started going to the University of Magic, a special university for those who have one of the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. There she meets Michael, a boy whose element is different from hers, which makes their romantic involvement seem impossible because mixing of elements can have horrible consequences. She also feels threatened by Adrian, a very dangerous magic disease carrier. Magic disease, which surged as a result of bad mixing of elements, turns people into cold-hearted killers, who have a strong desire to take someone's element as they do not have their own. Ria's best friend, Paula, is fascinated by Adrian like most of the girls at the University and wants him to help her with her research about the disease. All Ria's beliefs are put to test when she starts having the symptoms of the disease and the only person she can turn to is Adrian.
I think the first half of this book moved slowly. I felt like a car with its tires spinning in the mud...it tries hard, but it's not going anywhere, and no matter how hard you hit the gas, you don't move forward.
There's a lot of mundane college life in the beginning, and there was a little too much internalization followed by repeating the character's thoughts in dialogue. So I felt like I kept reading the same thing twice. And waaaaaay too many exclamation points; it made it seem like everyone was so uber-excited that they're shouting all the time.
I wasn't drawn to the main character at all. She seemed a little harsh to me, very narrow-minded. You can blame it on her up-bringing, but her best friend had the same up-bringing and yet was more accepting of those with the disease. I kind of understand why the author set up Ria this way, in order to show her change and grow, but over-all, the girl is selfish and not that likeable.
As to her friends, Paula and Michael, they're pretty one-dimensional. They didn't seem to have many layers.
Adrian, however, was an interesting character. Adrian saves the story, so to speak. He's a bad boy--and yes, he's a *bad* boy to the point of being an utter dick--but there's still some intriguing about him. And as the story unfolds, you understand he's the product of his environment. Society made him into a dick. His character runs hot and cold...just when you start feeling sorry for him, he pulls out the dick card and you start hating him again (and honestly, many times he pulls out the dick card because Ria's does some asinine thing to hurt him...again).
Halfway through the book, I started getting more interested...and this is the result of Ria and Adrian clashing, and the story actually starting to unfold. I liked how some of the other minor characters were in the gray area...unable to tell whose side they're on. This made the story interesting. And I was curious enough to read it all the way through to see how it ended. You have to wonder how much Ria changed after all!
While I wasn't wowed by the first book, I'm intrigued enough by Adrian's story specifically to give the next book a chance.