Dear Melissa De La Cruz, Please Read A Damn Book


I am one of those people who believe that bad movies/books/whatever deserve to be spoiled. But I’ll do my best not to. Because I’m nice. Sort of.

About a week and a half ago, I was searching for new clothes and so ended up wandering around Chapters (Shut up, books are clothes for my soul). I wanted to review the Divergent series, since the movie is coming out soon, but they apparently sold out on the first book. My eye was however caught by another book in the popular YA novels pile. Title? Frozen. At the back, one author was calling it a futuristic Game Of Thrones. Another one was calling it a reverse Lord Of The Rings. I immediately felt challenged. When you compare a YA novel to one of my favourite book series, I have to read it. And you better hope for your ass that I like it.
After reading the thing, I am not going to say that those authors didn’t read Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings. Maybe they did. Maybe they did and just didn’t get what was happening in any of them. After all, I remember the guy that lent me the first Harry Potter book yelling at me that Harry Potter didn’t have green eyes when I complained about Daniel Radcliffe’s eye colour after watching the first movie. However, my guess is that those people were probably paid a lot of money to say something good about the steaming pile of dog shit that this book is.
Frozen is a YA novel of the fantasy and dystopian genres and it insults both its target audience and the genres it belongs to page after page of bland characters and stupid dialogue. You know that feeling of deja vu that you sometimes get when you read or watch something not very original? That feeling stuck with me during this read, from beginning to end. Every word of dialogue, every detail about the world feels like it was copied from other, better work, when it’s not just plain overuse of clichés that were already tired before they were even qualified as clichés.
Nothing makes even the slightest bit of sense. It’s a “futuristic” world constantly covered in ice and snow, yet people never have water. They don’t have scientists anymore (no, I’m not even going to begin to try to explain how that could happen), but they have people with magical powers. Except those people rot from the inside when they use their powers and turn into zombies. Sorry, they turn into Thrillers. Or they just die, sometimes, it’s never really clear. Except the protagonist, despite the fact that she uses her powers all the fucking time by the end of the story.
Speaking of the protagonist. Despite the population only getting fed because the government gives them basic food supplies, she is beautiful and smart. Like all the good guys. It doesn’t matter that dehydration and malnutrition fuck up your general development if you suffer from them as a child. She is beautiful and badass. Or so are we told, because I never had a single proof of that during the whole damn book. At first I was thinking, “neat, she doesn’t have full control of her powers”. Except her powers were nothing more than a deus ex machina that miraculously got her past any kind of real obstacle on her way without her having to ever work for it, or suffer the consequences of her actions. At one point, a really tragic event happens, that could have almost saved the book if they had gone through with it. But no. It is magically resolved, for no reason whatsoever, just so the protagonist can be with her twu wuv.
Oh yes, that’s what this book is: a teenage romance with a convoluted mess of a dystopian/fantasy set up thrown on like a stinky blanket on an old stained mattress. The two good-looking people fall in love because they’re good-looking. For hell’s sake, the first thing the girl thinks when she sees the guy for the first time is that she doesn’t know if she wants to slap him or kiss him. That’s the kind of bullshit thing that no sane human being does or thinks. Oh, I see you rolling your eyes, saying that they’re just teenagers. Because yeah, of course, nobody in this freakin’ pile of rotten banana peels is an actual adult. They justify it because… malnutrition? Army? I don’t know, but if you ask me, the adults probably all preferred dying over having to stay in a world where everybody is so stupid they can’t figure out that ice is solidified water. Or that not being married doesn’t mean that your genitals are a guarded fortress.
Speaking of that, let me elaborate a bit, because this is priceless. So, all the nice people get a love interest, of course. And how can you tell who the bad guys are? Because they think about sex. And sometimes, they even have it, which is bad because good people don’t like sex because it’s degrading. In this world, the government is trying to keep the population under control by all means, which includes having to be married to have sex. Right. You know what they should have done? Sterilize everybody and encourage debauchery. Like in, say, Brave New World. Except Frozen isn’t a dystopian book. It’s a teen romance. And a very, very bad one.
It’s fanficcy. That’s what it is. Now, get away from your keyboards and hear me out before you try to asassinate me with your words. Don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that fanfictions are a bad thing, or that they are all bad. But let’s be honest for a second here: a big, big percentage of them are really bad. And we know why. When a fanfic is bad, it’s usually because: a) the writer shows no understanding at all of what he’s writing about, b) it has no real plot whatsoever and c) it has no conflict whatsoever, this because most people, when they write their fanfics, write themselves in an ideal version of their own lives. And it’s not to say that the world has to be perfect, but life for their character in that world has to go smoothly.
Frozen is the perfect example of a story written by someone who clearly does not understand anything about fantasy, dystopia, or even human beings in general. It’s a story about a girl that has to be special BECAUSE, and so obtains everything she wants, BECAUSE. There is no plot, aside from a vague journey that starts randomly and only gets more boring as you have to read chapter after chapter of how uncertain and yet so sure the teenage protagonists are about their feelings. And then you discover that the two co-authors of this book are a married couple and you understand that there is nothing else to understand. Yes, it’s just one of those.
Frozen is bad. It’s really, really bad, even by YA novel standards. No, I shouldn’t say that. I’ve read marvelous YA novels in my time, and there are still some very good books out there in that category. One day, I shall tell you about them. Meanwhile, stay the hell away from that one.
Anais L'

Four screenwriters candidly writing about film, television, novels, comic books, video games, and fanfiction.

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