I finally finished reading The Nine Lives of Chloe King! I meant to blog everytime I finished a book, but that obviously didn't happen. Sorry about that.
First of all, this book pretty much met all of my expectations, and then some. I was prepared to have to deal with some of the stupid paranormal teen romance garbage that a lot of YA books have right now, but I was pleasantly surprised that the romance was not really the main focus of the book. It was a (fairly large) sub-plot, but Chloe didn't focus entirely on choosing between her two boyfriends (Brian and Alyec). I do disagree with her final choice, but to each ther own (I totally would have picked Alyec over Brian).
The romance between Chloe and Brian seemed a little rushed though. At first, Brian was only supposed to get close enough to Chloe to dispose of her. Then, all of a sudden, he's in love with her? I feel like Chloe and Brian, like most teenagers, just throw the word around without fully understanding what it means. As I read through the books, I felt that Alyec was more mature than either of them and that Chloe could have learned quite a bit from him. Oh, and also, Alyec tried to protect her while Brian was trying to kill her. Most normal people would choose to be with the person who was always trying to save her, not with the guy who suddenly had a change of heart. Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox.
Although the books did cover quite a bit, I felt like they also left much to be discovered still. What happened to Chloe's adopted father? Who was Chloe's birth father? Does Chloe figure out how to be the leader of her Pride? What happens to her remaining six lives? Does she go to college? Although one plot line was resolved, I feel as though Braswell left so many loose ends that it's hard for the reader to really get any closure from the ending. Also, the books contained quite a bit of "fluff" that could have been left out to make the story a little bit shorter... and then she wouldn't have had to write 3 novels to tell one story. Especially since Chloe doesn't realize she's Mai until the end of the first book. Hello, isn't that what the series is supposed to be about?
Turning Amy and Paul into a couple was also unnecessary, I think. I realize that things like that do happen and I'm pretty sure Braswell wanted to depict a normal teenage experience, but it just added an element to the story that did not need to be there. It just complicates things further and is one more thing that needs to be resolved. That space could have been used to resolve another more pressing issue!
I did think that Chloe's transformation over the course of the three novels was done very well though. She goes from being a self-centered teenager to being the selfless leader of her people. She sacrifices two of her lives to try and bring peace to the Mai and the humans, and eventually succeeds in doing so - at least for the time being. Unlike Sergei, Chloe cares little for power and more for ensuring her people can survive and lead semi-normal lives without having to be afraid of being hunted because of what they are. Although she is a leader by birth, Chloe grows into the role and will eventually be one of the greatest leaders her people have seen (or at least it's implied that she will.)
Over all, I thought the novel was pretty decent. An easy read with an interesting storyline and some well-developed characters. Although it had its flaws, I would probably rate this a 3/5. Pretty average for a YA novel dealing with the supernatural.
I still have yet to finish my October pick, and I haven't even started Paul's yet... Hopefully I get around to those and our November books before November ends...