Monday, May 18, 2015

Kaniesha Reviews: Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham

Title: Scarlett Undercover
Series: Stand-Alone
Author: Jennifer Latham
Release date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Genres: contemporary, action, mystery
Meet Scarlett, a smart, sarcastic, kick-butt, Muslim American heroine, ready to take on crime in her hometown of Las Almas. When a new case finds the private eye caught up in a centuries-old battle of evil genies and ancient curses, Scarlett discovers that her own family secrets may have more to do with the situation than she thinks -- and that cracking the case could lead to solving her father's murder.

Jennifer Latham delivers a compelling story and a character to remember in this one-of-a-kind debut novel.

I received a copy of Scarlett Undercover from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

Reviewing books like Scarlett Undercover is really difficult for me. I want to be nicer in my reviews about diverse books but with SU I don’t think I really can be.

Scarlett is a pretty great character a majority of the time. She’s funny, smart and pretty quick on her feet. But to me, she’s kind of forgettable in the long run. It’s been about a month since I finished the book and there are only a few things about Scarlett I can remember. Her being muslim is key, but we know that by the description. She kind of ignores her religion, so it feels incredibly false, for us to be told she’s muslim but there’s no substance to it. On top of that, there are phrases used in the story that make it sound like she jumped out of the 80s or something. I just get really annoyed when teenagers are characterized to exist NOW but older vernacular and slang is used. Literally no one talks like that anymore.

There are some prominent side characters in the book, but none of them save the book for me. Even the romance is kind of shallow and forced but excused as like “We were both feeling pressured and needed each other’s love to be okay” but up until that point, Scarlett was pretty much avoiding her feelings. It’s just weird to me. “I’m not going to acknowledge your feelings or discuss them with you at all until I’m in a near death situation and need your physical comfort”. Ugh. I don’t know. At the same time I think it’s okay to not deal with things until you’re ready but something about this is just off.

Then there’s the climax, revealing of villains and the ending in general; all of which were boring, though I was afraid for a second that someone was on a different side than we thought they were. I kind of wish that the ending had ended at a crazy cliffhanger. When books end really nicely with all the plot tied up neatly, it feels like the author was just doing it to stay safe in case they’re not signed on to do a sequel. It’s pretty obvious. But safe doesn’t create intrigue, usually.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

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