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REVIEW: 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

Dear Ms. Pierce,

I’m a big fan of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars — the television shows at least. We’re all allowed a few guilty pleasures, right? When HarperCollins offered this book to us at Dear Author and called it Gossip Girl meets Charmed, how could I resist?

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella PierceWhen her parents died in an accident, American-born Jane Boyle went to live with her grandmother in France. Unfortunately, her grandmother was paranoid and overprotective, which led to Jane fleeing to Paris as soon as she became an adult. Now an architect, Jane has finally met the man of her dreams, an American named Malcolm Doran. A whirlwind romance leads to a marriage proposal, and soon Jane is ready to make a new life with him in New York City.

Before she leaves, however, Jane wants to wrap up some loose ends and decides to pay her grandmother one last visit. She never made a proper farewell when she ran away to Paris and now that she’s moving across the ocean, it seems this would be a good time to finally do it.

But when she arrives at the old farmhouse, Jane discovers her grandmother’s dead body — though apparently of natural causes. She has little time for regrets, because she also finds a letter addressed to her. In it, her grandmother drops a bombshell that will change Jane’s life forever: her parents’ deaths were not accidents and she comes from a family of witches. Finally, all those strange occurrences and Jane’s bad luck with technology are finally explained!

Determined to keep her newfound identity as a witch secret, Jane moves into Malcolm’s family home where she has to contend with an even more frightening prospect than people wanting to kill her: her future in-laws. Most specifically, her future mother-in-law, who is used to getting her way. But there are strange things afoot in the Doran family home, all of which lead Jane to realize that maybe there are more witches around than she originally thought.

Anyone who’s ever read a Gossip Girl novel or one of its ilk will know exactly what kind of book this is. In fact, it’s written like a more grown-up version of Gossip Girl. Readers unfamiliar with books put out by packagers might be put off by the slight, breezy writing style but maybe it’d be helpful to think of this book as something akin to chick lit in terms realigning reader expectations. This is not your usual urban fantasy. It’s not even what I’d call your standard contemporary fantasy.

It took me a long time to get into the book. The first half was very meh for me. I don’t know if it’s because the cover copy gave away that Jane’s future mother-in-law is also a witch, but I kept waiting and waiting and waiting (and waiting) for Jane’s great revelation. By the time it happened, my reaction was more, “Finally!” than “Oh, look at this plot twist!” Sometimes I wish cover copies wouldn’t give away things like that.

It also didn’t help that despite her relationship with Malcolm being the reason why she moved to New York, we never see Jane interact with him in any significant way. People expecting a romance of that sort better put those notions right away. The romance is more of a plot point to get Jane to New York than anything else.

But once I hit the midpoint of the novel and Jane learns about her future in-laws, her powers, and the history of witches, I definitely grew more interested. I wish the entire book had been like this. For this reader, stories about people learning their abilities and researching family mysteries are far more engaging than ones in which a woman is ignored by her fiancé and railroaded by her future mother-in-law.

Other readers may feel differently but I liked how the relationship with Malcolm ended up. The reason for that resolution may be too neat and pat for some tastes (including mine) but I didn’t much care for him as a character and found Jane’s interactions with the other potential love interest more interesting. Hopefully, this will not develop into a love triangle in future books because that’s something I could definitely do without and I think what Malcolm did ultimately puts him in DNW territory in terms of potential love interests.

Because the book got such a late start for me, I found myself wanting more when I finished. More about the witch families’ history, more magical battles in the middle of Central park, more everything. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the next one. That’s the strange alchemy of many an Alloy book production. B-

My regards,
Jia

Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | nook | BN | Borders
| Sony

This book is published by an Agency publisher meaning that the publisher sets the digital book price and there are no discounts.

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

7 Comments

  1. Sandir
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 15:59:34

    Thank you so much for posting at the bottom of the review that the book is published by an agency model publisher! It saves me the trouble of checking myself.

  2. Andrea K Host
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 20:17:55

    @ Sandir

    Is it that the book is agency model which prevents you from buying, or the prices that the publishers are setting under agency? This one seems to be a little off $8, and just slightly less than the paperback version, so would fall into what I consider acceptable pricing.

    The reason I ask is because not too long ago Smashwords (major self-pub and small-pub ebook site) went to the agency model, primarily because between Apple and Amazon’s “never set the price lower anywhere else” requirements, it was a nightmare to distribute to them without going to the agency model.

    So I wanted to ask if you (or just generally people who refuse to buy ‘agency’ books) include low-priced agency books in your ban. My own pricing philosophy with my ebooks is that I start them at $2.99 for 6 months as promotion, and then move them to $4.99 for a few years. Since I use Smashwords to save myself the headaches of distribution, this means I am using the agency model. Would relatively low prices cancel out your objection to agency pricing?

  3. DS
    Mar 02, 2011 @ 09:35:22

    Not Sandi, but– I think a lot of the anger at “agency books” is directed it at the Big 6 who forced it on the buyers.

    I buy several independent authors a month in various genres and generally don’t think twice about paying $.99 for a book by an author I’ve never read before. At $2.99 I download a sample and then may or may not buy the book after I’ve read the sample– and I really want a sample of the writing not the title page, copyright information and a forward by another author.

    When it comes to over $5.99 for an ebook I really need to have some experience with the author. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll just buy it. There’s one author whose previous books I’ve read and enjoyed who has an ebook that has been sitting at $9.99 since June 2009 when it first came out. I finally gave up the other day and bought a used copy for less than a dollar. I’m about to do the same with last year’s release.

    If she had a tip jar on her web site I would be happy to pay her the royalty that she is going to miss out on from both these books because I don’t want to support her publisher.

  4. JennyME
    Mar 02, 2011 @ 12:13:03

    I’ll keep an eye out for this book since I’m a sucker for witch lit, but good call on the general suckitude of cover copy. Either it’s so generic it’s meaningless or it gives away the entire plot. Sigh.

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