Parched: Z.L. Arkadie (Book 3)

First and foremost: My sincerest apologies for that dreadful picture quality on the cover. It was legit the biggest file I could find on Google… and I was too lazy to search anywhere else. Sue me.

So Quenched picks up pretty immediately where Parched leaves off, with Clarity resuming as our narrator.

However, the opening several paragraphs of the book are so excessively flowery in terms of the verbiage that it’s ridiculous and at moments to the point of intolerable.

A few examples:

“…the blood pumping organ in my chest…” |  Really? Heart wouldn’t suffice? I mean, I’d have pardoned it if it was included in some kind of comment about its effectiveness at its function, but all she’s getting at is that she’s heartbroken from being unceremoniously dumped.

“When their warm breath hits the cold air, the impact generates a misty cloud of frost in front of their faces.” | Although I really do have to acquiesce that I quite enjoy this sentence.

“I remember standing here sometimes on days long past doing just this, admiring how nearby skyscrapers reflect on its” (the UN building) “mirrored skin.”

This is followed immediately by “A lot has changed since then–a lot” as if Arkadie couldn’t come up with a better emphasizer than another use of “a lot” because that really tells us anything at all.

Another thing: in the section directly after the above examined, Clarity announces that they are “whizzing past the tops of tall skyscrapers like Superman over Metropolis OR BATMAN SWINGING THROUGH GOTHAM CITY.” Excuse me, Ms. Arkadie and Ms. Clarity, but I believe this “swinging superhero” to whom you refer is actually Spiderman and he swings through New York City, not Gotham. I’m just saying.

If you’re going to talk about how your life is “as if [you’re] living in the pages of a comic book” you should at least get your heroes right. Batman does zero swinging, unless we are on the subject of punches, perhaps, but in this context? Nuh uh.

Moving further through the text just provides more and more instances of these unpardonable errors. Like, maybe I’m being excessively critical on too many fronts, maybe I’m just being picky, but there are some things that are just too ridiculous to let go. The walls of her morphs-into-exactly-what-I-love bedroom are painted lime green, and anybody who knows anything about interior design knows that lime green is too bright/loud of a color for anybody to friggin sleep with. I mean, there are people who will argue with me, but it’s a legitimate psychological thing. Neon colors are too energetic for a room where you’re trying to relax and rest. Furthermore, when she gets on a plane to fly halfway across the globe, she decides to start reading The Iliad and The Odyssey and, because she “reads so fast” she’s done with The Iliad in half an hour. SO MUCH BULLSHIT. I don’t even care if you’re superhuman or whatever. Just no. Absolutely not. 

Skipping over a multitude of glaring grammatical and punctuation errors as well as excessive over-exaggeration, we come to a really ridiculous geographical error. They end up looking for Exgesis (whose name I realize is unfamiliar to you, but I’m sure I’ll get to the actual plot at some point or another when I’m done tearing this thing apart limb from limb) in the Black Hills. Which are in west-central South Dakota and extending a bit into Wyoming. And then this boob announces that “Just as [she] thought, he’s not in North Dakota.” Well how the hell would you know, you fucking idiot? You’re in South Dakota.

Granted. I’m a little prejudiced there because I live in the northern Dakota. But seriously?! SERIOUSLY!? DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO USE A MAP?! GOOGLE IS FREE! PLEASE USE IT.

Like, don’t get me wrong. I’m obviously still reading this thing because the plot is still mostly enjoyable and interesting. Except that there are things being omitted and forgotten about and there are ends she neglects to tie up where they obviously ought to be. And don’t you sit there telling me in your head that maybe she’s just waiting to divulge it–because she isn’t. They aren’t things that make any sense whatsoever to withhold, and the characters are having the conversations in which said information really deserves to be divulged. Like, it’s part of the damned conversation and it’s like they just forget to friggin say it. There’s no rhyme nor reason to it; there’s no mental explanation of why said information isn’t passed on. It just isn’t.

Anyway, so in terms of plot, here’s the deal: Clarity and Baron have “broken up” because she spent a couple of days in Enu, which amounted to a couple of years on Earth, and because Baron doesn’t know that–still doesn’t, because she neglects to provide that simple information which would clear a lot of air–he’s “moved on.” But, because she needs him, she goes back to get his help and they end up going on the aforementioned trip across the globe to find Lario–Fawn’s sociopath ex-boyfriend, i.e. Exgesis. While in Europe, they make up and have a fuckton of sex for like, 4 days. Whatever.

So Baron’s got a portion of Clarity’s light now because they’re bonded, which means that he’s the “vampire with the power of light” and they’re in search of the vampire with the “power of the sun” currently sought by Exgesis.  This is where Zillael and Vayle come in from book 2 (The Seventh Sister), even though I didn’t really do a very good job of explaining or reviewing that one in the previous post (sorry). So Zillael is the sister with the power of the sun, and the vampire with whom she’s bonded has a portion of her power.

Is it just me, or does this seem cheesier and more and more formulaic the longer we persevere? I dunno. I still enjoy them, but English-majoring my reading material takes some of the fun out of it. So it goes.

The three sisters plus the two vampires and their Weks travel into a place called Nowhere–yes, seriously–and battle off a bunch of soulless beings (which notably resemble Dementors from Harry Potter, and I really wish I was kidding) who disintegrate into ash when Clarity blasts them with light. Honestly, although the sisters are somewhat portrayed to be equal here, Clarity is really elevated to a level above and her Mary Sue tendencies are thicker than the others. Granted, Clarity has her downfalls, but Arkadie struggles to convince you that her downfalls are actually her strengths, and I must admit that I’m not especially buying it.

Clarity returns the leaf from the tree of life–which Fawn had given to Lario to make him human, but we know how well that went–to its place and Nowhere is restored to a healthy, beautiful place. At this point, Felix shows back up and provides the vampires an ultimatum. Over the course of the next 7 hours, while the ground remained churning, they had the chance to either become human and leave it all behind, or to continue on the journey with the girls until it was over, at which point they would be returned the option. Baron, of course, immediately declines to continue taking care of and assisting Clarity, but Vayle is caught in an internal battle because he knows that Zillael loves her Wek more than she loves him and thus his motivation is compromised. The group leaves him crouched there, staring at the ground, and goes home. He is left with three doors remaining open out of the place: one to his old home, one to the home where his mother has moved, and one back to the house of Benel, where he would continue the path he’d been born for.

The novel ends with Zillael and Derek taking a trip back home to Moonridge for candy apples, but upon their return the town is entirely empty and they don’t get them. Seriously, the book ends with “I guess there’s no rest for the weary, or candy apples either.”

Seriously, Arkadie? Seriously? That was the best you could do? I say nay nay.

In the end, frankly, I’m loath to give this one more than three stars on Goodreads. I’m not even entirely certain that it deserves three, though. I’m teetering on the 2 and 3 mark. We’ll see where it goes.

Book 4 is called The Fifth Sister, which seems kind of silly to me, but whatever. I bought it, so I’m going to read it. Honestly, as much as it’s beginning to pain me, I’m probably going to continue on through the entire series just to see how the thing ends. Call me masochistic, but I prefer martyr. lol.

That’s what I have for you. It’s a bit longer, so I hope that’s more pleasing. Or…something.

Until next time,

–Emily

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