Tuesday, April 24, 2012

REVIEW: The Cupid War (Kinda like the TV Show Dead Like Me, but with Cupids instead of Reapers)

Carter, T.  (2011).  The Cupid War.  Woodbury, MN:  Flux

Appetizer:  Immediately after deciding *not* to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge, Ricky Fallon slips and falls to his death anyway.


Looking down at his broken and dead body, Fallon's soul is approached by an angel.  It would seem Fallon had some unfinished business.  He's to serve as a Cupid, fanning the flames of interest among potential love birds at a local high school, feasting on love (it looks like fudge), dealing with co-workers and battling Suicides or other dead souls with unfinished business who spread depression.

While first walking the halls of his assigned high school as an invisible cupid, Fallon encounters a familiar face from his own life, that of his former "friend," a girl named Susan who had systematically clung to him, separated him from his friends and girlfriend and driven Fallon to consider suicide on the top of that bridge.

As Fallon watches as Susan targets another boy, he begins to suspect that there's something strange about this girl, that she is somehow doing the same work as the Suicides.  The only person who can help Fallon is a girl named Trina, who, somehow, despite the fact that he now exists on a different plane, can still hear Fallon's voice.

I liked the concept of The Cupid War.  It is interesting; the idea of Cupids and Suicides battling for the souls of people to spread love or dispair.  The fact that love is actually a food that the cupids feast upon also has a lot of wonderful potential.

But I wasn't crazy about this book in execution.  The writing felt rough.  A lot of the action scenes were too quick or underdeveloped.  I didn't feel a lot of the tension that the author was trying to create.  I found myself writing "ugh" in the margins of quite a few pages that didn't impress me.  A lot of the plot "twists" were pretty apparent.  The narration also included a lot of telling as opposed to showing.  A lot of tensions were also underdeveloped.  Like Fallon's relationship with his mom.  It felt like an early draft that needed to be expanded and revised extensively.

But that's just my opinion.  What did you think?

Dinner Conversation:

"Ricky Fallon sat on the bridge railing, preparing to jump.  It seemed like the least painful way to die, while ensuring the best chance for success.
He also wanted to cause the least amount of trouble for the city; his father believed a jumper was involved every time there was a delay on the subway.  Fallon didn't want his dad to think he was inconsiderate.  At least, no more than he already did." (p. 1)

"However, as he sat on the edge looking down at the barely visible Don River below, Fallon changed his mind.  It wasn't because of a ray of light from Heaven, or an angel appearing to tell him there was a better way.  Instead, Fallon changed his mind due to a very simple realization.  On Monday morning at school, there would be shock.  By afternoon, however there would be jokes.  He called himself Fallon. The word "fall" was right there in the name.  Sure, it was pronounced differently, but he knew his classmates would make the connection." (p. 5).

"'Every soul has karma,' Bud told him.  "It's the stuff your soul has to work through, the things you do to become a better person.  Some people work off their karma by the time they die, and there's a place for them that you'd think of as Heaven.  Then there's the rest, the people like you, who didn't use their lives the way they should.  If you didn't work it off in your life, you have to work it off now."
"Nobody told me that was the deal!" Fallon said.  "If I'd known that....'" (p. 13)

"...You, pretty boy, are gonna be a Cupid."
..."A Cupid?" Fallon asked.  "You mean...?"
"That's right," Bud replied.  "You're going to make people fall in love."
"Oh," Fallon said.  When it came to afterlife assignments, this wasn't what he'd been expecting." (pp. 14-15).

"Fallon looked at the brick of Love in his hands and thought about all that had been said and written about love throughout the ages.  All the sonnets, poems, and greeting cards, and all the boy-band songs.  Love, he'd heard, was the answer.  God is love, the spiritualists said.  Love made the world go' round, love is the most powerful force in the universe.
Fallon wondered if all those things would have been said if the speakers knew that love was a bunch of big chunks of red fudge." (p. 25)

"'People with severe depressive disorders are the victims of Suicides.  Strong people struggle to hang on, to fight back with drugs and therapy.  Weak ones, however..."
"Jump?" Fallon said quietly.
"Yes," Caleb replied.
Fallon stopped walking.  "Is that what happened to me?" he asked.  "Is that why I wanted to kill myself?'" (p. 42)

"Here, in the afterlife, he had a chance to start over and do something truly great.  He had it in his power to bring happiness to the world.  All he had to do was learn how.
He also had the chance to fight off the forces that had led to his death.  He could literally save lives.  If he stopped only one more Suicide, the world would be the better for it.
What in the world could be better than that?" (p. 66)

Tasty Rating:  !!

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