This is post number 15.
Background: Pulse is a novel written by Kailin Gow, and is the first of a rather extended series of young adult fiction. The cover is a black and white picture of a girl who I assume is the main character, and it is a typeface away from being sued by Stephanie Meyer.
Plot: Vampire brothers Stuart and Jaegar return to their family home to solve the circumstances of their other vampire brother Aaron’s death. They both introduce themselves to Kalina, Aaron’s ex-girlfriend, who is thought to have a magical bloodline that can turn the vampire she chooses mortal. This only works as long as she is a virgin and is not forced to give blood.
Spoilers: Initially, Stuart and Kalina date, and Jaegar interrupts their lives throughout the novel. Until the final chapters, Kalina does not know that she has to remain a virgin for the magic to work, so when Jaegar reveals the truth, she gets mad at Stuart for lying and not wanting to have sex with her. She also realizes that Aaron was sent to find her in order to determine whether or not Kalina is actually magical, but he fell in love with her instead of handing her over to his boss. At one point, Kalina drinks Jaegar’s blood as a bit of revenge against Stuart, but this causes her to have feelings for this brother as well. In the end, Kalina and the brothers are captured by Aaron’s boss, who says that Kalina must choose between the two of them, and as a final twist, the brother’s find out that Aaron is still alive.
It was the first time she had seriously engaged in cheerleading since Aaron had died . She had continued going since then, participating half-heartedly in the workouts, but she’d known that something was different. Aaron was a football player, and when Aaron was alive she would always cheer for him. Without Aaron to cheer for, the sport had lost its appeal, somehow.
Opinion: Pulse fits almost every stereotype for a young adult, paranormal romance, especially one that has vampires. The paranormal elements serve no purpose except to make the main character choose between two immortal, hot jerks. Forcing the main female character to maintain her virginity to stay useful offends my inner Gloria Steinem. I get that the author wanted to make sure the teenage protagonist wasn’t having sex all willy-nilly, but Kalina felt ready to have sex multiple times and was stopped by her date simply because of this potential ability, which felt like the author was saying that losing your virginity as a girl would lower your value.
Having a love triangle/rectangle felt forced. Stuart as the good brother and boyfriend should be played by a cardboard cut out if a movie is ever made, and Kalina is only slightly better. Jaegar is the only character with depth as the bad, but not so bad that any relationship he would have would be unhealthy, brother and even he is hit or miss in terms of being interesting. Having her choose between the two was ridiculous because I kept getting the feeling that she would end up with Stuart because they got together first, and even if they didn’t, Stuart and Jaegar are both so similar that having a choice is unnecessary as did bringing back Aaron from the dead.
The writing also fits the standard in young adult fiction; the author will randomly use “big” words that sound nice or are unusual but don’t fit in with the sentence because their definitions aren’t a fit for what the author is trying to say. I call them “thesaurus words”, and these are the big words I refer to in this blog’s title. Every time they were used, I was distracted from the storytelling and reminded as to why I am annoyed by most YA literature. The dialogue and pacing were okay at best as was the use of third person limited.
Ratings: This is a paranormal romance so the ratings are as follows.
Explanation of powers: 2/10
Romantic development: 3/10
Overall I give Pulse a 3/10. Even for a YA romance, the novel is mediocre at best, and having flat characters and almost misogynistic powers knocks it from the top of the bell curve and not in a good way.
Citation: Gow, Kailin (2011-06-07). PULSE (Kindle Locations 1227-1229). theEDGEbooks.com. Kindle Edition.