Singularity, Book 1
Author: Fabio Bueno
Publication Date: August 9, 2012
Source: e-copy for blog tour
Description from Goodreads:
Witches inhabit our world, organized in covens and hiding behind a shroud of secrecy—the Veil.
Skye’s London coven sends her to Seattle’s Greenwood High to find the Singularity, an unusually gifted witch who may break the Veil and trigger a dangerous new era of witch-hunting. Things get complicated when Skye meets a charming new classmate, Drake. Skye’s job becomes even trickier when she clashes with Jane, an intimidating rival witch.
Drake falls for the mysterious Skye, but odd accidents, potion mix-ups, and the occasional brush with death kind of get in the way of romance. Once he discovers Skye is a witch, he goes to war for her, even though his only weapons are a nice set of abs and a sharp sense of humor.
Fighting off wicked Jane and the other dark forces hell-bent on seizing the Singularity's immense power, Skye and Drake will risk everything to save the covens.
Going on a date has never been harder.
First Sentence: "I don't buy into the high-school-is-hell theory."
As is probably pretty obvious, I do not review too many indies here on A Reader of Fictions. With all of the drama with authors recently and the fact that I can't pick the up from the library, I just gravitate towards more traditionally published books. I decided to read this one, however, after I included the cover in one of my Cover Snark posts. In traditional Cover Snark fashion, I proceeded to make fun of Fabio's name, all in good fun of course, but still. Well, he found this post and commented, taking everything in good humor and letting inquiring minds know that Fabio Bueno is in fact his real name. Since he's such a nice guy and a good sport, when I had the option of joining the blog tour, I decided to take a chance on him.
First things first, I need to make the typical indie disclosure: though I found a couple of errors (no more than can be found in many Big 6 published books), Wicked Sense has definitely been edited and is not a hot mess.
I've got to be honest with you, dear readers, at first I was seriously concerned. I didn't want to dislike this book, but the opening was rough and uneven. I feared I might have to back out of the tour or something because I would want to rate it too low. The characters were uninspired, the dialogue stilted, and some of the circumstances laughably strange. Before you write the book off, I want to say that it definitely improved, but I do want to discuss some of these factors in a bit more detail.
Drake starts out as a pathetically awkward figure, desperate for affection from everyone to the degree that he only appears more foolish. In and of itself, I have no issue with that, because, heck, that's high school. However, some of the things he said were so weird, like when he's trying to ask out the mysterious, hot new girl Skye and ends up saying this in their first conversation: "Awkwardness is one of the biggest threats to our society. We should do something about it, create an organization, mobilize people. Raise awareness, you know? I'm all for social issues. Maybe we should hang out and discuss our plan of attack?" This does not strike me as a method anyone would use to ask someone out. I also rolled my eyes when he asserted that "Awkwardness awareness" would be a catchy name for said organization. Calling something catchy does not make it so, dear heart.
As such, I was a bit bemused by Skye's interest in him, given her otherwise level-headed nature. Drake's character goes from an awkward loser to a guy all of the girls wouldn't mind getting their hands on. Under that shield of awkwardness, it turns out he's hiding a hot bod. Of course. I really just had issues with Skye's attraction to Drake early on. They have little in common and he generally just makes himself look like a fool in front of her in a thousand different ways. Whatever, she is on the rebound, I guess.
To be fair, though, Drake's character does improve as the novel continues. Much of his odd personality stems from a lack of self-confidence, and, as he gains that, he becomes more sure of himself, meaning that he spends less time tripping such that his foot winds up in his mouth. His self-esteem comes from a girl friend, not from himself, but oh well.
Another factor that bothered me initially is the way that Drake and his friends, Seth and Boulder, talk about girls. They're all about objectification and the like. Most objectionable is their treatment of Priscilla, also known as Predator because of the way she worked her way through almost every single guy in the high school. Drake is one of the few guys she apparently has not had a sexual relationship with. Their judgment of her set my nerves on edge. However, the tone shifts, and I feel like the ultimate message is one of acceptance of how people choose to live their lives; see my favorite quote for more on that. Priscilla actually ended up being my favorite character; I think she's the deepest, kindest person in the book, and I hope Fabio gives her a larger role in the future.
The witch mythology depicted in Wicked Sense differs from anything I've ever read in the way the magic functions. Each witch has two major powers, referred to as charms, but they also have some basic other magical talents. The idea of the Charms really appealed to me. The crux of the book revolves around Skye's search for the Singularity, a witch who has more power than pretty much any witch ever, whose magic apparently functions differently. The fantasy elements were fun and entertaining.
If you pick up Fabio Bueno's Wicked Sense, I highly recommend sticking with it through the clunky initial chapters. I ended up enjoying this one, and wouldn't be opposed to reading on in the series at some point.
*Thanks to The Readiacs for hosting this tour and allowing me to be a part of it.*
"She eyes me. 'What is this all about?'
It's my turn to shrug, upsetting the rocks on my back. 'I don't know. Girl talk. I mean, you can have any guy you want, so why don't you just pick one?'
Priscilla doesn't answer at first. I'm glad I chose this moment: she's actually pinned down and cannot run away. Finally, she says, 'If I can have any guy I want, I'd like to have every guy I want.'
'What do you mean?
She gives me an exasperated look. 'I'm only seventeen, Skye. I'm not looking to settle down just yet.' She probably misunderstands my shocked expression, because she adds, 'I mean, I'm not saying you're wrong or anything, but it's just not me, you know?'"