Number of pages: 396
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 2
I have loved two of Jennifer Donnelly’s other books (These Shallow Graves and Revolution), but I sadly did not enjoy this one. A Northern Light features a bunch of whiny characters that I can’t bring myself to care about and a setting that I didn’t really notice. It had the same compelling pull of Donnelly’s other books, but unfortunately left me with an aftertaste of hatred and frustration. Shall we dissect this beautifully written disaster?
Firstly, it has been a while since I finished this book, but I can remember almost nothing that happened. I can remember scenes (and the emotions that went with them) from Donnelly’s other books (which I read months ago). Sadly, the only memorable things from A Northern Light are my criticisms.
Our main character, Mattie, is rather annoying. She complains about her town, helping her father, and not being pretty and rich to the point where I felt absolutely no sympathy towards her. She also complained to no end how she has such a terrible life that she will never escape and how life has no fairy tale happy endings. The book then ends with Mattie not only escaping, but also with her and her loved ones getting a happy ending.
Mattie’s “special friend”, Royal was the most self-centered moron I have ever read about. This kid is stupid as dirt and a compete jerk, yet he still manages to trick our “precious genius”, Mattie. Royal is one of those people who is a jerk on the outside, a not jerk deep down, and an even bigger jerk deeper down.
Also, why are all of the men in this book jerks? They are all abusive, substance abusers, or cheaters. I’m pretty sure that’s not a realistic representation of men. The majority of the side characters are also so forgettable and underdeveloped that every time one of their names was mentioned, I would have to go back 100 pages to find when they were first mentioned.
The setting was so poorly done that had it not been for the occupations of the characters and the “technology”, this book could have been a contemporary novel set in 2010, rather than a historical fiction set in 1906.
Overall, A Northern Light was well written, but fell short on characters, setting, and plot and is therefore a 2 star read. I do not recommend reading it.