Monday, May 9, 2016

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

Unrivaled (Beautiful Idols #1) by Alyson Noel
Release Date - May 10, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares. 
People call Los Angeles the city of dreams. There is always the possibility that those dreams can turn into a nightmare and Unrivaled relishes all the darkness that can be found in the California sunshine. Drugs, disappearances, lies, and a seedy club world take centre stage in this new series where even those with the purist intentions can be corrupted.

A competition with a huge prize draws different people, for various reasons. The characters that inhabit Alyson Noel's newest novel are all very different from each other. The voices of each are instantly recognizable. They each stand out on their own. Sometimes, especially in stories of this nature, the narration can sound the same or character chapters can blend together to the point that the reader is not sure who is who. This is not the case here. The characters may all have a similar goal but their motivations and personalities are so clearly expressed that the multiple viewpoint works rather well in this case. This may not be a character driven story, its plot is the driving force, but the characters are established enough that it allows this story choice to work.

The characters are all willing to do whatever they need to in order to get ahead. At times they are ruthless. There is so much blackmail, potential murder, and manipulation happening that it's easy to not like any of these characters. The fact that Alyson Noel makes you invest in them, even just a little, means she balances them. She lets you understand their characters enough to understand the choices they make and that makes all the difference.

The mystery that propels this story is only just beginning in this opening chapter of the story. We open with a splashy beginning where Madison disappears, but flashback to the time leading up to her disappearance. It ensures that the still will hold plenty of twists along the way as the story unravels the truth of what happened. The opening does get you interested, and the rest of the story manages to reveal just enough to keep you hooked. This is definitely a case where the answers that are given only lead to more questions, but

This type of book is the type that is enjoyable when you're in the mood for it. It is a fun, engrossing read that is perfect to read after a much heavier book. It's writing is easily digested and it's storyline is tantalizing enough to ensure the pages will fly by. It may not appeal to everyone, but it's target market, which are those who loved Gossip Girl and pretty much any other CW show, will undoubtedly enjoy the ride. It's the type of book that you know exactly what you're getting when you sit down to read it. It delivers exactly what it promises, and that should be kept in mind before reading. Your expectations could easily dictate your enjoyment in this case.

Unrivaled offers up soapy, sudsy fun that is tailor made for those who miss the Gossip Girl television show. It offers up betrayals, drama, glamour, and sin in the city of angels. It captures that CW tone and feel naturally, and would be right at home as a television show on that network. This is the book for you if you're looking for a summer read that offers plenty of flash, but maybe not a whole lot of substance under it's slick veneer. 

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