Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review: Doon

Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. 

But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. 
Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for . . . or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.   Quoted from Goodreads


There are a lot of things I really liked about Doon . . . and then there are a few things I would have changed.

First, I love the whole idea of Doon, the mythic land that you can only access once every hundred years, Scotland's hidden Utopia/Atlantis if you will.  Yes, it's inspired by the musical and the poem, but it definitely has it's own mythology going for it.  I really did like the world and the conflicts inherent in it. For example, they live in this perfect kingdom, but they can never leave.  They can see the ocean but never swim in it.  Part of me wishes the author's would have explored the sacrifice of living there further. Still, I love the idea of this idyllic kingdom.

Veronica and Mackenna are both great characters.  They're strong, spunky, and I love their friendship. They're both the sort of people you could see yourself being friends with.  To be completely honest, I actually wish the whole book would have been told from Veronica's POV.  It's not that I didn't like Mackenna. I did.  She's fun, spunky, and has a lot more to loose than Veronica, but the book time isn't shared out equally between them.  We get four chapters of Veronica, then one of Mackenna, and Mackenna's chapters didn't tell us anything we couldn't have gotten from Veronica's POV (well, except, maybe, how perfect and beautiful Veronica is).  It sort of broke up the story for me.  Honestly, I wish we would have simply gotten an epilogue from Mackenna's POV, maybe a prologue too, and that's it.  Then she could be the main character in the second book, which seems to be shaping up to be more of her story. Still, since there are two authors, maybe that's how the decided to split the work?

This sort of leads me to the down-side of this book.  It's a little bit too wish fulfillment happy for me.  For example, both friends potentially have a prince devoted to them? Couldn't one have at least been the captain of the guard or something?  Plus, Veronica's life is horrible.  From the beginning, you know the girls have to choose whether to stay in the Doon or leave.  For Veronica, she's basically leaving nothing behind. Half of what makes Brig o'Doon such a great story is what a person would have to give up to live there, and for Veronica the price is a bit too easy.

Other than that, the book really is a fun adventure.  There's plenty of romance.  Like I mentioned before, there are two princes for our two main characters.  Both are dreamy in their own way, though it took me a while to warm up to one of them.  

As for our villain, she is pure black and white evil (make of that what you will), and the book led up to a strong conclusion/confrontation. Most of it I totally saw coming, but there were a few twists that I enjoyed. 

Overall, this is a fun, light read.  I love the mythology behind it and our main characters. I'm interested to see how this series will continue and where the authors will take it next.  It's a delightful 3.5 stars for me.  Now I just need to figure out when the second book is coming out.

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