Date of Publication: September 2 2014
Source: Netgalley- thank you!
For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.
Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.
Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.
I did not enjoy Feuds. If it was meant to be like Romeo & Juliet, it succeeded in the sense that it was overly dramatic and full of impulsive characters that make poor decisions. It also wasn't a story I enjoyed.
The synopsis and the cover persuaded me to give Feuds a try. Plus, I love that name: Feuds. It conjured thoughts of deliciously twisty conflicts that resulted in bloodshed. In reality, Feuds was like a soap opera and a lot in the story frustrated me.
The biggest issue that stands out to me is the characterization. I thought it was poor. There's a lot of "this character thought this and felt like this" and there's so much explanation compared to characters actually doing things, and I thought the characters' actions didn't always reflect what was written in this "tell" style of narration. One clear example of that is Cole, who is supposed to be a fighter, good and brave, except he decides to let go of everything for a girl he just met whom he wants to protect and love.
It wasn't just that Davis and Cole were characters I couldn't connect with, it was that they were not real in any sense. The way Davis would describe her family so blindingly, always saying they were perfect was strange to me. And Cole, the guy who is supposed to be so devoted to the people he loves, but who endangers them and causes so many issues because of his decision not to be honest with them irritated me. Together, their romance made little sense.
I think it was a passage where one of Davis and Cole (I can't remember, their narration is not too different) is describing the reason why they love the other, and say something along the lines of, "it's not just that they're hot, there's a spark" as an explanation for their love. That doesn't work for me, especially when the romance is suspiciously close to insta-love, chalk full of "she wasn't like everyone else" from the first time they meet. And then, Cole creeped me out a few times because some of his actions were aggressive. Like, he would pull Davis, whom he just met, away from her friends and I understand why now that he could have acted that way (even if I still don't like it), but the way Davis went along with it was too much for me. I'll stop there, but again, the way Cole was written in the narration vs his actions was a bit jarring to me. Maybe my mental imagery of what happened is different than what the author intended?
The other relationships didn't feel very real to me. I think the narration was detrimental because it just kept explaining so much rather than showing it firsthand. So, while I knew who was who and what they were supposed to be like, the indirect reinforcements of that characterization were not there. Davis, in particular, had a POV that was so much "my parents love me" "they are so great" that I was sure that one of the subplots was going to be that this girl was abused or something because it was just so awkward to have her fawning over her dad and stepmother. I know that most people love their family, but Davis was so bizarrely devoted to them that I thought she was brainwashed or something!
The plot really isn't worth discussing all that much because Feuds is a romance with the romance being the primary attraction. I wasn't feeling that, which is probably why the rest of the story fell apart.
However, I do think that somewhere in Feuds there could be a really interesting story. The division between the Priors and the Imps, while minimally described in terms of history, was fascinating just because of the way the Priors were so brainwashed. The segregation, if focused on more, could have added a fascinating dark undertone that could have given the story a greater meaning, but as far as I saw it in Feuds, it was just one of many obstacles between Cole and Davis.
I don't think it's constructive if I were to write more on why Feuds didn't work for me, so I'll try to focus on some positives now. Feuds is easily readable and digestible, so if someone were to be enamoured by the romance they'd have a nice time reading it. There are also some extremely creative parts to Feuds that I thought were fun, like all the dietary supplements the Priors took as well as the parties. The concept remains fascinating to me, but I can't say I enjoyed how it was executed.
So, Feuds gets 1 star.