For What It's Worth

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Early Review: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts



17332270A novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings

The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that's left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand.

Alexandra Coutts's TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world. ~ Goodreads


Source: Free copy provided by the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Girous, at Book Expo America for review
Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Review:This started out as a DNF review. Tumble & Fall just wasn't working for me but then I gave it another shot and got drawn back in with mixed results.

First of all totally disregard that beautiful cover. If you are thinking this is an all out epic romance novel you would be dead wrong. That's fine but a tad jarring when you actually get to reading this book and are thrown in an entirely different direction. A better direction IMO but still not what you may be looking for when you start this one.

Tumble & Fall has a fascinating concept. It's the end of the world…but not quite yet. Everyone is just waiting for the asteroid to hit planet earth. There is no rush to a big movie style ending to save the world. It's coming and there's nothing you can do but wait. Which is sort of interesting as a contrast to the flailing panic & despair we usually read about.

The story follows three characters (listed below) during the final five days of their life on earth as they try to find closure and reconciliation with loved ones.

Sienna - she was released from a psychiatric facility to be with her father and brother when the asteroid hits. She's having a hard time dealing with the fact that her father is about to remarry when she runs into Owen, a childhood friend. Sienna's family dynamics were interesting, unfortunately the story focuses more on her relationship with Owen. I didn't mind the insta-love in this case. I mean the world's ending so emotions are heightened but Owen wasn't developed enough and his actions seemed downright bizarre at times as the story progressed. (I believe the cover is meant to refer to this couple but…meh I didn’t feel it)

Caden - He lives at home with his alcoholic mom and sister before being reunited with the father he's never known - in a very strange way. I really disliked this storyline. It could have been humorous but Caden's father just made me squirm. It was just skeevy and creepy. There was a romance with Caden and his father's girlfriend (or at least I think she was his girlfriend), drugging's, kidnappings, hookers…Oddly enough the conclusion of Caden's story was my favorite and but the journey there was too over the top.

Zan - I loved her story. She has been grieving over her dead boyfriend, Leo, for 10 months, but with the help of his best friend Nick she tries to unravel a mystery that threatens to upend everything she believed about her relationship with Leo. This was a real mystery with twists and turns, romance and heartbreak. Zan's story was too short and could have been the basis for the whole novel and the end left me scratching my head and kind of pissed off instead. lol

The writing is beautiful, almost haunting, but the 3rd person POV for multiple characters kept me from ever getting close to them or immersing myself in their experiences. I felt like a distant observer. Especially because all three teenagers call their parents by their first names. It just felt so impersonal.
I have to give the author credit for taking what is typically an action based story and focusing more on the psychological aspects of the end of times. But…..it seemed odd to me how very chill everyone was about it. I'm sure there will be people trying to maintain normalcy - hoping the end doesn't come to fruition, or groups having block parties but no riots? No government lockdowns or curfews? Maybe I've watched too many movies or my brain won't go outside the box but it seemed weird to me.

Final thoughts: I hesitate to say I disliked Tumble & Fall because the writing is beautiful and despite setting it aside several times I couldn't let it go either but I just didn't fully connect to any of the stories or characters.

I will say that the author took chances with this story and it's either going to be something that pisses you off or leave you saying WOW. I think I'm more in the pissed off camp because I don't believe the three different POV's allowed any sort of depth to a story that could have been incredible if it focused on just one of them. Or even a trilogy from each perspective that eventually tied everything together.

Author: Goodreads | Website
Buy the book! Tumble & Fall

30 comments:

  1. Great honest review. I know what you mean about POV. Some people hate first person but I love it.

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    1. I don't mind third person (or any person POV lol) if it's done right but between ALL of the characters calling their parents by their first name and the back and forth between all the stories that one factor just made it that much more difficult to connect to anyone.

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  2. HMM! I started this one age ago but I don't think I'll finish it. You're right, the writing is great but I have absolutely no connection with the story and find it kind of boring. :/ Thanks for your honest review!

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    1. I kept going because occasionally it would pick up and grab my interest. Ultimately it didn't' work for me but kudos to her for trying to write something unique.

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  3. I like the concept too, and have heard several say they were disappointed

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    1. It's too bad because the premise is awesome.

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  4. Yay, you're back!

    So your thoughts on this seem to be in line w/most. Beautiful writing, meh story. Sounds like Zan needed her own book.

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    1. All three had good potential for a main story. I really wish it was a trilogy or companion novels instead.

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  5. Oh what a shame...I have this on my list for the next week or two...now I'm worried. I think I was counting on beautiful writing to match the beautiful cover...but if the substance isn't there :/

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    1. As with all books and readers you may feel different than me about it. The writing is beautiful.

      Also, now that you know a little more what to expect going in - you might enjoy it more.

      I wouldn't say it lacks substance. I just felt that splitting the story between three characters diluted the impact somewhat.

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  6. I was almost sold on the idea behind this book, but your reasons for not liking it struck home with me. I did appreciate your all-round review though.

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    1. Hey - you never know. It might work better for you than me. I thought it had a lot of potential - just didn't deliver the emotional impact I was looking for.

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  7. This one sounds like it would have been better if it focused on just one character, I agree. It seems like it has a bit too much going on. I like the premise as well, but it doesn't seem to really succeed.

    -Lauren

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    1. I think when you do multiple stories like that they should tie together more. And the apocalyptic backdrop wasn't much of an issue so it just ends up being an ordinary contempt YA.

      I would definitely give the author another try though because her writing is beautiful.

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  8. Hm, pisses me off or wow, I do not know

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    1. I'm guessing you wouldn't like this one. lol

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  9. It doesn't really seem like it would be my cup of tea but I do like when authors take chances :)

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  10. Doesn't seem like people are enjoying this one at all, so it's at least nice to hear a semi-positive review that says the writing was well done. It seems like the biggest problem people have with the story is the multiple third person POVs and how it didn't allow them to connect to the characters. And I know I would feel the same way. It's a neat idea, but yeah, I'll be skipping this one.

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    1. I think the writing was very good and this is one of those books that will either work or not for readers.

      I hadn't heard of anyone who liked until I posted my review but a few blogger friends let me know that they loved it.

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  11. Oh I think this would bother me too. Looks like it wants to go for that depth, but just doesn't quite make it. Still, you have me curious about this author's writing so I do need to check out what else she has written.

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    1. I like her style. I would definitely read whatever else she writes in the future to see if it worked better for me.

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  12. Too many POVs is such a pet peeve of mine! Grrr. I ended up DNFing this one, because I just couldn't adjust to the way it was written. I don't mind multiple POVs sometimes if they serve the story, but it did seem like I wasn't getting into anyone's head, if you know what I mean. I agree about the cover, too, btw--it's so lovely and sets such a nice tone, which is very different from the book's. It's too bad.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. Yeah - that's how it was for me too. I just couldn't get a handle on anyone in this case.

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  13. The third person present tense was hard for me to get used to, and I often question whether multiple POV is the right choice for YA, but I enjoyed this. Once I accepted all the quirks I thought it was interesting.. Glad you stuck it out :)

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    1. I don't really mind multiple POV's or any tense. It was just the characters themselves in this book - except maybe Zan - I like that story.

      It was a different kind of take on the apocalypse which I did like. I think that's why I kept reading even though it wasn't quite working for me.

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  14. I just finished and totally agree about the 3rd pov--if 1st I think I would have been head over heels but am like-good try.

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    1. It was interesting just not captivating if that makes sense.

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  15. Oh, I'm so glad I didn't end up downloading this one. I was tempted by the cover. But I would have expected a romance and sounds like I would have DNF'd it as well. Glad you stuck it out so the rest of us could know what it was about.

    Heather

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  16. I started this a couple weeks ago and cannot get into it. I agree that the writing is lovely, but the storyline seems to drag. At any rate, I need to push through so I can write a review...like you! :-P

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