Monday, May 6, 2013

REVIEW: Scratch & Sniff by J.L. O'Faolain

Scratch & Sniff Scratch & Sniff by J.L. O'Faolain
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book 2 Scratch & Sniff was a mixed bag; the same as book 1.

+ the characters

The first half of the story moved lackadaisically, which I wouldn’t mind if I wasn’t busy trying not to be annoyed by the characters. The story began with a vulgar scene that intended to drive home the fact that Sloth was an evil mastermind and that it would take great deal of luck to catch him. Instead, it ended up serving as another example of the superheroes’ lack of competence. Their plan sucked. All the things I have seen Sloth do have been things that anyone with normal intelligence could execute; there was nothing super about his villainy.

In sum, the story failed to convince me that Sloth was a supervillain and that our good guys, Push, Scratch, and even Wrath, were capable superheroes. I gave the characters the benefit of doubt in book 1, but now in book 2 they have not showed any improvement. What irked me more was Push, the protagonist.

Because of his insecurities, Push refused to believe Scratch’s love confession. I sympathized with Push’s insecurities, but it was frustrating to watch him push away Scratch and ultimately push away the possibility of true love and happiness. It took a lot of effort from Scratch to make Push accept him. I was very grateful for Scratch’s patience with Push for the entire story because mine ran out by the third of the story.

While I waited for Push to accept Scratch’s love, I really liked that it didn’t stop the two from having sexy times. Huzzah for smut! The scenes were graphic, ample, and lengthy. They abated my annoyance with Push and his angst. Once Push finally accepted Scratch, the romance was a sweet ride from there on out.

Regarding the other characters, in book 2, Wrath remained stagnant in character development. I wished the story would stop piling on pity for Wrath. He had a bad childhood and made bad decisions because of bad influence. Alright already. I got the point.

The new superheroes were a breathe of fresh air. I loved Professor Trixter, Scarlet Queen, and Wiccan Witch. I loved that the former defied stereotypes for being a black, brawny scientist and the latter two were sweet, loyal, and best of all fangirls. The gals were responsible for my favorite scene in the story. It was the scene when they accidentally (which seconds later turned into intentionally) interrupted Push and Scatch’s sexy time, and I learned bets were made.

+ the setting

I didn’t mind the small town stereotype in book 1, but I began to in book 2. Almost every towney was hostile to the superheroes. Sheriff Black in particular was a caricature and a convenient antagonist. I could not think of one towney who was thoroughly a good guy.

+ the plot

The pace picked up halfway through the story upon the arrival of new superheroes. Finally, there was some humor, much needed backup, great battles, and a gleam of the story arc. Speaking of the story arc, I liked the conspiracy and how it foreshadowed a superhero apocalypse.

Unfortunately, the execution of the story arc was cumbersome, and I developed doubts as to whether the series could pull the apocalyptic climax off. My gut instinct told me to keep low expectations.

The worst part of the plot was the nonsensical epilogue. Just like what happened with book 1, book 2 tacked on a different story as its epilogue, meaning it took place in the same world, but it had a different cast of characters, conflict, etc. However, unlike the epilogue in book 1, I actually saw the relevancy of book 2’s epilogue, i.e. how it related to what Push and company were going through. The epilogue further developed the conspiracy.

Nevertheless, just the same as book 1’s epilogue, I was pissed off with book 2’s epilogue. The series’ epilogues continued to be a WTF. There I was enjoying the nice romance between Push and Scratch after a long wait and then at the end the story rudely switched to another couple and threw angst and infidelity at me. Talk about a mood killer. It looks like I’m going to have pretend those epilogues never happened in order to maintain a simulacrum of enjoyment.

In Conclusion

I rate Scratch & Sniff 3-stars for I liked it. I only recommend the series if you’re into smut and superheroes and don’t mind a serial style of pacing. If you do read the series, I recommend you don’t read the epilogues, or at the very least skim them to minimize your confusion and anger.

Goodreads | Amazon

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