Sunday, May 5, 2013
Review: Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz
Author: Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Forget everything you've been told about Lucid. Everything. I'd be hard-pressed to come up with a title of a novel I've been more mislead by, and not in a good way. Lucid promises to be an original, mind-boggling, and paranormal tale of two girls who can't discern their reality from their dreams, much like what happens to Leonardo DiCaprio's wife in "Inception." Lucid, I have to admit, certainly delivers on this front, but only during the last twenty percent of this novel. For the other eighty percent, we are slowly flipping the pages, bored senseless by the normalcy of the two lives we are presented and if, you're like me, banging our heads as Adrienne Stoltz has managed to cleverly weave two love triangles in one. While Lucid is by no means an excellent novel, its ending saved it from being a disappointing one.
Maggie and Sloane have the same name, but they could not be two more different individuals. Maggie is a teenage actress living in Manhattan with a widowed mother who is more careless than responsible and a beloved younger sister who Maggie dotes on, but also takes full care of. Sloane, on the other hand, has a loving family, a younger brother, a best guy friend who is always there for her, and a normal school life. In fact, the only tragedy to hit her life is the death of Bill, a childhood friend. For Maggie, romance enters her life in the form of Andrew and Thomas while Sloane is torn between James, the enigmatic new guy who wins her heart with his intellect and good-looks, and her life-long best friend, Gordy. What makes Sloane and Maggie connected, though, more than just their names is the fact that they dream of each others lives at night and now, they can't tell who is real and who is simply a figment of their own imagination.
Quite frankly, it took me awhile to get into Lucid. If I hadn't been reading this on a read-along, I most probably would have abandoned it at its half-way point. Each chapter switches from the perspectives of Maggie and Sloane and at first, I found myself zooming through Maggie's chapters to get to Sloane. Maggie, as an actress, is aloof and distant from the reader for much of the story, failing to form the immediate emotional connection that Sloane garners because of the normalcy of her life. As the novel wore on, though, I found that I began to care for both heroines and the stark differences between their narrations were very clearly felt, which is an obvious plus point in the direction of this debut author.
Unfortunately, though, the eighty percent of this novel shrouded in dullness is also filled with angst. We have Maggie, who likes Andrew, who has a girlfriend. We also have Thomas, who is an agent, who likes Maggie, who is seven years younger than him and isn't even a legal adult. Ew. On the other hand, we have Sloane, who is besotted with James - and I don't completely blame her - but he, too, is rather mercurial. Although Gordy is never a viable love interest because of the attention Sloane lavishes on James, our feelings towards James oscillate from love to hate rapidly. One of the most unique aspects of this novel is that by the end, some of this makes sense. My mixed feelings towards James, for instance, are perfectly explained and kind of mind-blowing in their subtle genius. Others, though, are merely present for drama, angst, and for the sake of prolonging the novel longer than it needed to be. Folks, the beginning of this story is not a fun ride - not at all.
Thankfully, though, the plot slowly gives away to a descent into madness. We see aspects of Maggie's life crop up in Sloane's and vice versa and, at first, we aren't sure what to think. When the ending arrives, it is stunning and explains so much - but not enough. It seems to be too obscure for me to fully fall in love with this novel, yet decent enough that I did like it. Nevertheless, I can only recommend Lucid to the most patient of readers, those who can barrel through angst and love triangles to finally get to the rather genius ending within. And, to them, I simply say this: good luck.
A huge thanks to Jasprit for reading this along with me! Without her, I would have undoubtedly given up and never been shocked by the utterly brilliant ending. :)