The following is the second installment of a collaborative guest post from book bloggers Emma (emdoesbookreviews) and Mallory (The Leaning Tower of Tomes), discussing their impressions of my novel, Blue Karma. Part 2 focuses on the book’s characters.
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MALLORY: I think the best part of the book, for me, were the characters. I really liked Amaya and Logan, and came to like Paul, although I didn’t start off really liking them all. They all began with emotional walls around them, and had personal flaws, but what was great was that they grew over the course of the story. They learned from their actions, took risks, and struggled through everything together. I found Blue Karma to be a very character driven book, although it did have a great plot threaded throughout. It’s a book about survival, but I thought it focused more on the characters’ personal struggles: Amaya was taking care of her sister, Logan was trying to find his family, and Paul was trying to prove himself. Their goals were easy to understand. I really liked it when their narratives finally intertwined and the three of them began to interact and bounce off one another. Their personalities differed but they, especially Amaya and Logan, made one another stronger.
EMMA: I also adored the characters, mainly because J.K. did such a great job in making them all seem realistically flawed; I was interested reading about these characters as they felt human, in that they made mistakes that I felt were understandable in the circumstances, and yet overcame their issues and had truly developed by the end of the book. The character of Paul managed to do something which is very rare for me: he made me change my mind. To begin with, I was adamant that I loathed him, what with his lounging in pools with no care about others’ situations, and yet J.K. did a fantastic job at crafting a believable story to explain (but not justify) his behaviour, before changing him for the better. When the three came together, it did create a dynamic that was very entertaining.
EMMA: I was dreading a love triangle, what with two male characters and one female, especially as I began to enjoy Amaya and Logan’s interactions and feared Paul being shoe-horned in unnecessarily as another potential love interest (not just because of my hatred for love triangles, but as I feel it would not have worked at all in this context). I was relieved, however, when it became apparent that that was not the case. None of the characters were forced into romances that didn’t seem plausible, and having a male character (Paul) who did not need to have a romance-driven plot throughout the whole novel was refreshing, as it is rare in young adult novels at the moment — everyone has to be in a relationship, or else worrying about love all of the time! These characters had much more life-threatening priorities, and making a love triangle a crucial aspect would have cheapened the importance of the plot.
MALLORY: You’re right, the three of them did seem very human and made understandable mistakes in their given situations. I also completely agree with what you said about how a love triangle could have cheapened the importance of the plot. There really wasn’t much time to get all lovey-dovey because of the life-threatening priorities, like you said. Amaya and Logan’s relationship evolved naturally through the story, and Paul’s crush, thankfully, never got any deeper when he realized he had more important things to concentrate on, and that Amaya wasn’t interested. Love triangles are so cliche now and have been for years. Hooray for nothing of the sort here, despite there being two guys and a girl.
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Check back tomorrow for the final part of Mallory and Emma’s conversation, which discusses the plot of Blue Karma (somehow without spoilers–aren’t these two reviewers great?).