Monday, 3 June 2013

Outcast by Adrienne Kress

Outcast by Adrienne Kress is a YA novel set in a small town in the southern US. The blurb  was the factor that made me want to read it. Unfortunately, the blurb was also the high point of the entire book.

After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.

Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is.

He thinks it’s 1956.

Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

Outcast was severely overwritten. I felt that, with the possible exception of the dialogue, just about every second sentence could have been cut. Reilly's inner monologue is very repetitive, driving home statements far more than necessary. A direct consequence of this was an abundance of telling rather than showing (which isn't automatically a bad thing, but was in this case). It was very frustrating to read.

I mostly kept going because I was hoping for the big reveal regarding the angels and world building to be interesting.  It was distinctly underwhelming. (But by the time it came around I was too close to the end to stop reading and sacrifice writing this review.) And the romantic resolution at the end was a bit odd <spoiler redacted>.

The one upside is that this is another book about angels (along with Rise of the Fallen) that did not annoy me because of the way the angels were treated (I get the feeling that without direct evidence of weird shit going on Riley might have been an atheist). Yay, "only" bad writing! Oh and most of the supporting characters were pretty good, especially the non-cookie-cutter cheerleader and the Catholic priest disenfranchised by the angels. Although I also thought that some of their interactions, notably at critical moments,  could have been more complex in terms of motivation.

If you're the kind of person that notices when a book is poorly written, definitely give this one a miss (unless you're into that kind of thing). If you're not usually one to notice poor writing and the plot has got you interested,  then by all means,  give it a go, just don't set your expectations too high.

2.5 / 5 stars

First published: June 2013, Diversion Books
Series: no
Format read: eARC
Source: publisher, via NetGalley


  1. what a shame the writing was so bad. it does sound very interesting, but I might be too irritated by the style to get through it.
    maybe if it's a kindle special some day...

    1. Maybe read a sample on the kindle and see how you go? I do think annoyance-at-writing-style can be very subjective.