ARC Review: Scala – Christina Bauer

18708440ARC provided from NetGalley in exchange for fair review

Summary:

Nineteen-year-old Myla Lewis has transformed into Great Scala, the only being with the power to move souls out of Purgatory and into Heaven or Hell. Trouble is, a magical object called Lucifer’s Orb is limiting Myla’s abilities. If she tries to move a soul, the Orb’s forcing her to send that spirit straight to Hell.

So, what’s a girl to do? Send innocents to the fiery down-under?

No way. Myla’s gone on a supernatural strike. No souls go anywhere until the Orb’s history. It’s the right thing to do, but Purgatory’s Soul Storage buildings are turning into time bombs. No spirits are moving out, while millions keep coming in. Myla’s determined to find the Orb and send the innocent to Heaven, but she’s running out of time. Soon, the containment fields will burst, releasing a mob of homicidal ghosts.

With Soul Storage ready to explode, Myla’s got enough on her plate without her old enemy, Lady Adair, causing problems. Adair is launching an ingenious campaign to take away everything that Myla holds dear, including Myla’s Angelbound love, Prince Lincoln.

Between their clever ideas and toe-curling kisses, Myla and Lincoln are fighting back. But will they beat the clock or lose everything to Adair’s devious schemes?

Review:

Angelbound had been a pleasant discover for me. It was a fun take on the usual angel/demon formulas and Myla Lewis was one of the most refreshing teenage protagonists I’d read in quite some time. A teenager who genuinely felt like a teenager: she had her whiney moments and her surly moments, but mostly she was an upbeat gal who loved to kick demon ass and just wanted to know what the deal with her dad was. And the answer to that question was an enjoyable ride in a world brimming with creativity.

By comparison, Scala feels a bit of a step back.

On the one hand, it’s nice to see teenage protagonists genuinely grow up. By taking on her role as Scala, she has had to grow up and it shows in how she carriers herself. On the other hand, I’d be lying if I said the book didn’t hurt a little for it. Some of the best parts of that book were those moments of being in high school and her discovering the world. Speaking of that, in the end notes, the author mentions her “overly-elaborate world-building” in the first book. So what happened to it here? Unlike the last book where we were continually learning new and interesting facets of the world, here it feels like we barely learn anything, and that’s a shame. I wonder if that isn’t because this is, per the author’s claim, a novella (it’s only about 200 pageS) and that she felt like she had to cut some things? I wouldn’t have minded a full length novel with more time and to explore and more downtime between action.

As far as the plot goes, it’s a neat scheme and I’m looking forward to seeing what the real forces behind it were. What I didn’t like? That Lady Adair’s motivations are boiled down to The Jilted Lover.

Can we not? I mean, really?

Why not say that once had a hint of the power of the Scala she decided she needed to have it at any cost? Or what about whomever is maneuvering to benefit from Myla’s downfall promising her some other kind of power or something. Women are as complex as men. Our motivations can be every bit as complex as men. Adair took measures that can only be described as extreme in this book, and to do it because she’s sulking that she didn’t get Lincoln? Ugh.  Just because this is Young Adult doesn’t mean that everything has to center around Lincoln. It was just so disappointing to find out and it was impossible to escape when it’s mentioned numerous times.

Overall, this is still a fun little novella and worth a read. I just wish that the author had taken more time to develop everything – the world, the characters, the motivations – so that it could have been as rich as Angelbound.

Verdict: Borrow it

Available: May 13th

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