Book in Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Whew, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a book review, hasn’t it? Well, never fear, fellow friends–I am back with another YA book review today.

But, be warned… this one is gonna take some critiques from me.

The Book Overview

Overall, I’d kind of classify Instant Karma as a… um, Disney channel-worthy story. I mean, it’s cute… and that’s pretty much it. Kind of cliché, but I know a lot of people like certain clichés (I have mine, too, I’ll admit), and anyone who loves the cheesy enemies to lovers, sweet teen romance type will probably love this book.

“Chronic overachiever Prudence Barnett is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. 

Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed, love and hate . . . and fate.”

(Book cover and description taken from Goodreads.)

Now, in reading that there book description outlined up above, and, honestly, the title, one would think that this book is really about bestowing “instant karma” on so many people around the main character. I mean, Pru does get that instant-karma-gift, but… the book isn’t really about that so much as it is the relationship she has/doesn’t have with her lab partner. Like I said, bookish friends, ye be warned.

My Review

Okay, so, I will always try to find good things in every book I stumble across, and I’ll do that with this one, too. But… honestly, sometimes it’s really hard to not be completely honest, and, to actually be completely honest with you guys, this book was not my jam at all.

Here’s why.

For one, right from the start of the book, you will get rant after rant after rant from our lovely (not really, but that point’s next…) main character, Pru, about her lab partner and the terrible ‘C’ he made her receive on their end-of-year school project. I mean, things get repeated again and again, and it goes on for quite a while. I read via the audiobook, too, so I kept track and noticed that about the whole first 30% of the book was full of Pru’s ramblings on and on about that stupid school project. And, probably, if I hadn’t been reading the audiobook, I would have slammed the book shut around page 100 and just chucked it out the window for the raccoons to read instead because, honestly, I was so tired of hearing about that project… and, if you read this novel, too, you’ll know what project I’m referring to directly from page 2.

Secondly… I just didn’t like Pru. I mean, this book is written in first person, and we hear absolutely everything that comes into her mind 24/7. It’s a little too much, I think, but that’s more just my book style preference. What probably isn’t just my preference, though, is a likable main character; everyone wants and needs an MC that’s relatable and likable, even if that character is a villain! And, truly, Pru is just… not very likable; she’s rude, judgmental, self-centered to the max, and, really, I ended up calling her a couple of names out loud while listening to her rant on and on and on about everything she hates about other people. But, I suppose… if you like insanely irritating main characters, then maybe you will like Pru after all…

Okay, third thing that really bothered me about this book, and this is the last one, I swear: the plot line was extremely predictable. I mean, I know I said this was a cliché-kind of story, but there weren’t even side-stories within the main story that weren’t predictable, if that makes sense. For example, without creating any spoilers (although it’s so predictable I don’t think I could spoil it), there is a whole debacle about money going missing from the funds for the sea animal rescue center that Pru ends up volunteering at, and I could figure out exactly who stole the money right from the very mention of it going missing. Again, it was just too obvious–there were too many hints dropped–but, even at that, it took over twenty chapters for anyone to even have a guess about who did it.

So, now, here’s a couple of positives from this story… just because I will feel really bad publishing this post if I don’t list any.

For one, I actually liked Pru’s lab partner, Quint. In fact, I liked him a lot, and I would have rather heard the story from his point of view or something. He was well-rounded as a character with a lot of backstory that was revealed bit by bit as time went on and was, in fact, quite likable!

For two, I think the story had a good moral backbone; it just wasn’t employed to its fullest extent. For example, Pru’s ‘powers of karmic justice’ were really not used that often, or at least not as often as they could have been. Perhaps she used her powers to show us all what good and bad really is, or at least what she thinks it should be, in the beginning a little, but that all faded throughout the rest of the book, and she hardly ever used said powers by the end. I guess I just felt like this should have been the forefront of the story, and it wasn’t!

Now, as always, this is just a rambling of my own thoughts and opinions on Instant Karma. I mean, this book has a total of 3.77 stars on Goodreads (as of today’s date), so there are clearly some other readers that got into more than I could.

Let me know in the comments if you have read this book and, perhaps, what you thought of it as well!

–Kari

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