Friday, August 30, 2013

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Bullen Coutts

  • Release Date : September 17th 2013
  • Genre : Contemporary
  • Publisher : FSG (Macmillan)
  • Pages : 384

Synopsis : 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

 I think most of the criticism of this book comes from the misconception that this novel is a full on dystopian. When I started Tumble & Fall I got what I expected;  a contemporary with some pre-apocalyptic undertones. Even with that said,  this book doesn't hit a lot of high notes for me. 

 An asteroid is heading straight towards Earth and all hope is lost. Zan, Caden and Sienna are three teenagers living out their last few days on Earth.This story isn't about the teens who are going to save the world or the teens who have all the answers. It's about the average people who have the next 7 days to truly live, forgive and wrap up loose ends.

Tumble and Fall has a dynamic sense of place and setting. The dramatic backdrop of the impeding end of the world instantly adds a layer of tension to everything in the  the book. The way people toss out theories, gather around television and find comrade with strangers made this story seem eerily realistic.

Each main character has their own story told in alternating chapters. They overlap only a few times at the start and near the end, but for the most part are completely separate.

Zan  questions her late boyfriend's fidelity and love for her after finding some questionable information,  Sienna is rejoining her family after spending months in a rehab facility following the death of her mother only to find her father is ready to remarry, and then there is Caden who connects with a family member he thought was long gone.

Each character has a unique and different background and while their stories start off strong as the multiple story lines continued they seem to lose traction and fall all over each other. Somehow the concept of having 3 different stories just doesn't work.

I found the story of Zan and her mission to resolve one last clue from her boyfriend's death with her boyfriend's best friend to be a great journey for the end of the world. Her determination and the eventual end of her story I think will resonate best with readers. 

I had the hardest time with Caden's story. It just wasn't believable.  I won't give too much away, but his story started of interesting and then goes over the top. Towards the end it just got really...strange ? 

Sienna's story was middle of the road for me. I think it was supposed to be a love story but I found it a little dull. There are some touching family moments, insta-love and what I think was a cult ? But it didn't leave much of an impression. I'm not even entirely sure I understand why she was in rehab to begin with.

I think this would have worked better if the novel would have focused on one or two stories instead of three. The plots aren't  able to develop naturally with so many main characters, minor characters , plots and subplots to keep track of.

I guess there is something to be said about the stories being "wandering journeys" but it just seemed like each chapter was a bullet point of what has to happen and everything wraps up around the same time.

Tumble & Fall has a  unique premise and solid sense of place with an muddled message of faith and forgiveness, but it missed a few beats of storytelling. Maybe it comes from juggling to many stories and side characters but in the end I just felt like I missed something in the middle.

*ARC received from Book Expo America

I don't understand the cover of this book. It is kind of misleading.Yes, It's a pretty cover but I don't think it is a good  fit for the content of the book as a whole.

What frustrates me is that this is the third book I've read from a book packaging company that  just didn't do it for me. I don't want to be judgmental about packaged books but I've yet to find one that really stands out.

1 comment :

  1. AH! I'm so glad you said that about the book cover. I've been waging a war in my head over that as well. It bothers me when people put an attractive cover on a book that just doesn't match what the book is about. It's part of the reason I love the control of self publishing!


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