Outcast - Adrienne Kress Actual rating: 2.5 stars

It may not come to surprise you GoodReaders, but I’m an aspiring writer. I have a feeling most of us are, in some form or another; fiction, journalism, cookbooks, or writing book reviews. It kind of goes hand in hand with wanting to read a great deal.

And for all of us writers, we have the one Golden Rule. Oh, it’s not the same for every writer. Some people respect plot over character, character over everything, morality in every story, etc. But let me give you my Golden Rule:

Behold! Mary’s Golden Rule!

SHOW do not TELL!!


Praise be before the Golden Rule!

Now, you may be asking yourself what that has to do with this book? The short answer? Everything.

Because EVERYTHING is told to us in this book. Not one thing. EVERYTHING! Want us to know Riley is smart? Riley is going to go on a little mental journey where she tells you that she’s smart. Want to see relationships get healed? You don’t really get to see them as much as you get to read Riley tell you that they were healed.

You want to know how sick I get of characters telling me how I should feel? Because it’s a number that I haven’t even thought of, and I can count pretty damn high. Not to mention, Riley has to mention how humid it is at least seven times in the book. I get it. The South is humid. Move on, get a new description. Something!

Okay, fine. So you’ve got my number one writing pet peeve. I’ve overlooked it in other books that have had great plot, characters, or relationships. Barely, but it’s happened. So what did Outcast give me?

Nada.

It gave me a funny voice, Riley, and a character with mildly amusing dialogue, Gabe. After that? Nothing.

So the plot, right? People are getting grabbed by angels every year and taken away. That sounds awesome, right? It should be an engaging, creepy plot about angels coming and snatchin’ people.

Nope.

The problem is there the first ten percent and then disappears until the last fifteen percent. In the meantime, you’ve got Gabe going back to school and Riley telling you that Pastor Warren is bad because she’s suspicious and so he’s bad.

But he didn’t do anything until the last five percent of the book! The entire time I’m waiting for this plot to deepen, thicken, because you’ve got all the possible outlets here. Does someone realize Gabe is from another time? Are the angels angry that one of them was taken? Could Pastor Warren be a fallen angel and -oh fuck!- could that be why he came to this town at JUST the right moment preaching JUST the right thing?

Nope.

And that would all be fine –FINE!- if the plot was strong enough on its own. It’s not though. But the author describes away any tension before the climax. Gathering the army that may or may not be good enough to fight the angels? Alright, before that fight happens, let’s tell Riley why it’s literally IMPOSSIBLE for her to lose.

But the characters weren’t anything special, either. Riley is smart. I mean, I did know that. She told me that on a few occasions. Gabe is sweet and has an over the top 50’s way of speaking. I really only liked Father Peter, and I really only liked him that one time he struggled with his faith.

Oh, and last, this is NOT Angelfall. The only similarities that I can see are that the male is the angel and they’re around a female human.

Overall, I just didn’t care about the story at all. I had too high of expectations going into it.

If you don’t mind telling and not showing, then you may have a different story here. It just grated on me too much.