So I finished five chapters and am heading into the sixth. I'm still determined, but only because I'm figuring out now why I don't like this book.
"Fiction is folks," someone once said, and I'm not connecting with any of the characters in this book.
(Katherine) Sweeney Cassidy is the more or less main character, and her sections are told in first person. She's a college freshman, away from home for the first time, but she has no personality. She's not excited or nervous or afraid about being at college; she's just there. We don't know how she got into this elite university or what she's studying or why she really, really, really wanted to be here. We don't know if she's on scholarship or her parents can afford the tuition. There's nothing of the eighteen- or nineteen-year-old about Sweeney.
In her first class, she meets two unusual students, Oliver and Angelica. After class she goes to lunch with Oliver and misses the rest of her classes for the day. She has no reaction to this. She doesn't tell him, "Hey, dude, it's the first day of school and I haven't gone to any of my classes and what the hell is wrong with you that you would even ask me to do this?" She doesn't reflect on what effect this may have on the rest of her college experience.
Her other new friend, Angelica, invites her to a reception that evening. The reception is supposed to be for a certain exclusive category of students, so exclusive that Sweeney has never heard of them. Sweeney is dressed ultra-casual in jeans and sneakers, but this is a formal reception. Sweeney has little to no reaction to this, too.
Then there's a weird, really weird, horrific, terrifying event that happens to Sweeney on the way to the reception. The kind of event that only happens in horror movies. When it's over, she asks Angelica, "Did you see that?" and when Angelica more or less says she didn't, Sweeney just shrugs it off. No big deal. The moon just exploded and this woman appeared in the sky and I thought she was going to eat the world, but okay, if you say nothing happened, then nothing happened.
I don't know if Oliver is a good guy or just a strung-out druggie. I don't know what the deal is with Angelica either. That would be all right if I felt some connection with Sweeney, but I don't. The other characters who have come in and out of the story -- Prof. Warnick, Magda Kurtz, etc. -- don't seem to have any more substance than Angelica or Oliver.
The writing is great; I can't complain there. But the story and characters just don't engage me. I can't read more than about 10 pages at a time without nodding off or getting so bored I have to find something else to do.
I'll keep reading, but only because I feel I have to.