I'm kinda excited about this review. This is my first review of an ARC I was asked to review. I kind of feel like I'm moving up in the publishing world. Or something. ;)
Anyways, Etude is about 19 yr old Beth who lost her mother and the use of her left hand in a car accident. The left hand is as devastating as losing her mother because she was an upcoming pianist. Her father is away on secret government business and during that time she is sent to live with her Uncle Connor. There, she meets Jonathan, who makes her feel like her life didn't end when she lost the use of her left hand. Until she finds out her mom's death wasn't accident and supernatural beings she never knew existed want her.
I wasn't sure when I started reading. First off, I was worried I'd hate the book and my first low review on my blog would be of an ARC. And secondly, the plot uses a formula that I saw a lot of books use after Twilight: Lone girl moves to a new place, meets beautiful boy, boy has secret, girl discovers secret and her life is now at risk. Been there, done that, yawn. Despite that, Etude did a wonderful job at telling a story that made me not care about the formula used. Plus, unlike other books that followed that formula, Beth didn't think of herself as ugly. She didn't say she was beautiful, but she didn't constantly claim she was plain and, Why oh why does this gorgeous guy like me? The description of her I felt was vague, but I got the idea that she was a lovely girl. Also, she did not constantly muse on how beautiful Jonathan was. In fact, I don't think she talked about it much. Yeah, she liked his looks but it wasn't every other sentence. Mostly, she talked about his eyes, but it wasn't overbearing. I wasn't wishing she'd shut up and get on with the story! I also liked how Beth's life didn't revolve around Jonathan and the supernatural once she learned about it. There were scenes of normal life, the normal world did not disappear and Beth was still very much part of it.
Enough on the formula used and how Etude managed not to fall into the usual cliches.
I really enjoyed the characters. They were well rounded. A few, I would have like to see more of. Janine I would have like to have more of a connection and feel more for her. Grace too, I would like to know more about her. Uncle Connor and Carl were fun too. I loved Carl's playfulness and Uncle Connor's protectiveness of Beth.
Jonathan I loved. He was playful and mischievous and I loved the way he and Beth bantered and teased each other. What he did with her Christmas present cracked me up. Also, I liked how everything wasn't perfect between Beth and Jonathan. She got mad at him and would get very frustrated with him. It gave a real feel to the relationship. Also, the fact they both had people they had dated before gave added realism. Especially Beth's previous relationship. Etude isn't first, true love. It was just love.
As for Beth, I enjoyed her. She was a kind person and you found that out with her friend Darcy. There were a few things that irked me. One was when she'd say something about the scientist in her. In the beginning, I never really got the impression that she was into science. It was all about the piano. The same when she talked about her mother. From what little was said (or maybe I just missed it) at the beginning, I didn't feel like either of them were sciency. Another thing was I didn't quite feel like she was 19. It felt like she should be younger. That may just be because a lot of YA the main character(s) are younger. Other than that I loved how Beth was. She stood up for herself, demanded answers, knew when things were up. She didn't always demand the truth, but she was aware and often the reason she didn't demand answers was she knew it wasn't the right time.
I could talk about Eric, but I really don't want to say much without giving anything away. I did like his character and he had nice back story and development.
I struggled a bit with the explanation of immortals, especially when it got into the more scientific descriptions, but that's just me. I was bad at science in high school and I'm bad at science as an adult. Usually, I'd reread the explanations a few times. I really enjoyed the immortals and the author's approach to them and I look forward to learning more in book 2.
My only real complaint was when it came to sex. Now, there is no sex in the story, but Beth does wonder about the right time for her and Jonathan. There is a heavy emphasis on waiting until the right moment and not rushing. Which is a good lesson, but at times I felt like the message implied was that the world would end if teenagers had sex. There was a lot of talk about Beth discussing it with Jonathan first and I can tell you my first time, the discussion was this: "Do you want to?" "Yes." "Okay." Very little discussion as opposed to the deep and meaningful discussion Beth wants to have with Jonathan when it was time. Of course, I suppose I should note that with Beth and Jonathan they are like fated love so there is an unspoken importance on their first time. I just hope later books don't revolve around them doing the deed. That was another cliche the formula I mentioned earlier had a lot of books focus on.
Over all, I found Etude to be a nice page turner. I was eager to find out what sort of being Jonathan was and see the truth revealed to Beth. There was a death that made me want to bawl and I had to work hard to keep the tears at bay so I could keep reading (Making the reader cry is always a good sign.) The cover is simple yet elegant (much like Grace. lol) The ending was a nice cliffhanger and I will definitely buy book 2 when it's released. I give Etude 4 stars.
One last thing. Favorite line in all of the book: "Hey Beth, I've been stalking you. By the way, I'm sort of immortal." I LOLed because one of the big complaints with Twilight is how much of a stalker Edward is and it was funny to see that line. I don't know if it was a pot shot or just the author being silly because of the whole Edward is a stalker thing, but I love that line.