Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Flutter by Gina Linko

Title: Flutter

Author: Gina Linko

Rating: 3.5 Stars

You have to bear with me because this review is like the Night Bus in Harry Potter or the journey the hobbits took to Isengard in Lord of the Rings - a bumpy ride. Flutter forced me to stay awake well past midnight just to finish it, but in the end, I unfortunately can't say I was satisfied. Up until the last four chapters, though, I was ready to give 5 Stars to Linko's debut, despite its minor errors. Unlike most authors, Linko sucked me into her tale; she made me care about her characters. Yet, when the ending arrived, I felt cheated. Flutter is a perfect example of a novel where my heart and mind are not my own. Instead, I fully delved into this story, body and soul, only to emerge from it deeply, profoundly, and utterly disappointed. As such, I really am not sure where my final thoughts lie when it comes to this piece. I loved it? I hated it? You decide.

From the very beginning itself, Flutter is written beautifully, introducing us to its protagonist, Emery, and her unique situation. Every couple of chapters, we are given short glimpses into experiences that Emery feels on a parallel dimension. You see, Emery has frequent seizures that she is unable to control, knocked out cold and transported to another world. Although she believes she is time traveling, the team of scientists that experiment on her as per her father's wishes rarely believe her. Although her illness physically weakens her greatly, Emery wants more of a life than a mere lab rat, thus running away to the small town of Esperanza, a quaint area that the little boy of her seizures tells her to travel to. It is there that she rents a remote cabin in the woods and meets Ash, a boy just as tortured - if not more - than she is. Emery may have ran away to find answers to her questions, but instead, all she's finding are more mysteries, the greatest of which is Ash himself.

Emery, despite her physical restrictions, is a strong and capable heroine, fiercely stubborn and unrelentless in her quest both for answers and freedom. Not only is her narration original, but the romance she experiences is utterly refreshing as well. Both Ash and Emery are characters with dark pasts, their circumstances leading them to be deeply mistrustful of others. Although their attraction to one another is instantaneous, however, their romance most certainly is not. It develops over time, a steady push-and-pull relationship with neither of them willing to open up completely, yet wanting to at the same time. Unlike most romances, however, it fails to resort to unnecessary drama, focusing instead on these two characters and their difficult path towards one another. From the surface, it seems as if the romance in Flutter is one I normally would not fall for, but I was utterly invested in this love story.

You see, it really is my fault for being so disappointed in the end. I threw my heart into the romance between Ash and Emery, their difficult situations, their constant fear so that by the time I neared the end of this novel, I began to expect a stunning conclusion. After all, Linko had delivered on practically every front - well-developed characters, a stunning romance, secondary characters with depth, and even a plethora of plot twists that really did surprise me with their subtlety and integration into the plot. Yet, the ending was gutting - in the British way. In the sense that I felt like re-writing in something completely different. On one hand, I truly cannot see another ending for these two, and on that front, it was perfect. Yet, the manner in which it was executed, filled with drama, an influx of new characters, and villains who resorted back to being black-and-white from their former depth left me feeling as if it was all wrapped with a bow labeled convenient.

Frankly, I myself do not know how this story could have ended. I acknowledge that it was the right ending and the glimmer of hope we receive at the end is stunningly executed, but the manner in which the characters reach that area in their lives is, honestly, a little lame. It left me feeling as if this was simply a good love story and not a deep, provocative novel about life, living, and moving on. Ultimately, the issues that Emery and Ash had were never resolved. Granted, they grew as characters and accepted certain circumstances, but there was still so much more to be done with these characters. Flutter lacked closure.

While most readers may complain by being left with a plethora of questions, for some reason, I was able to overlook this entire fact. As a student deeply seated in science, in answers, it is rare for me to let go of my constant curiosity, but Gina Linko did it; she made me so invested in her tale that I forgot to wince at the slight discrepancies in plot or the lags in writing. In the end, though, she left me with a gaping hole in my heart, just not in a good way. Thus, I am unable to recommend this to anyone. While it remains true that I fell in love with Flutter and immensely enjoyed it, so much so that I was willing to give it 5 Stars at one point, the end does not justify the means of reading this. For another reader, perhaps, this book will prove to be a treasure to cherish beyond all others, but for now, I will simply resort to falling in love with whatever Linko writes up next.


  1. Now I am so intrigued as to what happens at the end to change your feelings about the book as whole. It really is difficult when you have let yourself go with the story only to find the ending unsatisfying!

  2. This story didn't appeal to me to begin with but I definitely won't be picking it up after your review, Keertana. The ending you mentioned sealed the deal. Great review. :)

  3. It's a shame that the ending ruined it for you. Ahh I haven't seen this book before and the cover looks creepy but I really like most of the things you said in your review. Maybe I should experience this book on my own. Great review :)

  4. I've seen a lot of reviews lately for Flutter, and I admit I've never been encouraged before to give it a try. But I want to know now from your review what happened at the end, the romance between Ash and Emery sounds beautiful, so I have a feeling which way this story went, but I'm so hoping that it didn't. I guess I will have to pick this story up to find out myself. Lovely review hun! :)

  5. I really want to read this one, though now I am slightly worried about the ending. I already get the feeling that I'll invest in the romance pretty well, which makes me wonder if I'll be disappointed with the way things work out... I don't react well to a lack of closure, I've come to realise. I still want to give this a shot one day though. Despite the problems, I'm glad you were mostly impressed with it to start with. Great review, Keertana!

  6. "Yet, the ending was gutting - in the British way. In the sense that I felt like re-writing in something completely different."

    Uh Oh Keertana! That definitely has me a bit worried! I don't like to be gutted at the very end, even if it's the right ending for the characters or not. Maybe I'll read this one and then stop right before the end and pretend that ending doesn't happen. Like with the move Old Yeller:) Did I just show my age by mentioning that movie? *hangs head in shame*

  7. Oh this does not bode well for me. I'm an ending girl. I can be blown away by a book and the ending ruins it for me. I can also have an eh for most of a book but the ending blows me away. Still, do you think I can read it and not read the ending? :) Brilly review!!

  8. I think it shows the mark of a really good reviewer that, despite your disappointment with the ending, you can still acknowledge the merits of the book itself. I really hate when endings feel weaker than the rest of the book. I know that I'm much more likely to forgive a book a weak beginning than a weak ending, and I know I'm not alone with that sentiment, but that's just how it is for me. It sounds like it's similar for you. That's great you still hold out hope for future works of Linko's, even if this one didn't end up working out so well for you!

  9. I love how we saw the same thing completely differently. I too was conflicted about the ending at first, but after I gave it some time, I decided it was what made this book for me. I might forget everyting else about Flutter, but I'll never forget that ending. And I just didn't see another way for these two.
    Like you said, perhaps you'll like Gina's next book, Indigo, a bit more.
    I'm still glad you read this, it was interesting to compare notes on GoodReads.

  10. This is such a shame, Keertana. I really hate when endings of an otherwise wonderful book end up leaving you feeling cheated or disappointed. It sounds like this was really promising and engaging.. but the ending was poorly executed. I can handle "gutting" endings, but not when they feel like a cop out. I have to admit, I'd never been interested in this one, but now I'm a little curious. However... am I the only one who thinks the cover is awful? :/

  11. It's so interesting--your wildly conflicted review makes me want to read this book even more, isn't that strange? The descriptions of what you loved about it are so perfectly in tune with what I find exciting about books, so I'm still curious to check it out. Quite a few people felt the way you did, so I need to find out what all the angst is about, hah.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  12. Okay I know this is shallow, but I can barely even look at that cover. I'd have to cover it up to read this one. Also, I a not a fan of parallel universes, though the idea of approaching them through seizures is pretty fascinating. But if this book left a huge gaping hole in your heart, than I best not read it at all! I know endings can really make or break a book, and it's sad that this one ruined the experience for you.


I love hearing from my readers and I read, reply, and appreciate every one of the comments I receive!(: If you're a fellow blogger, please leave a link to your blog - I'd love to drop by!

Unfortunately, this is now an award-free blog. I simply do not have the time to respond and forward on the award, but I truly appreciate the nomination regardless.