Disclaimer: I received this audiobook from netgalley and the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Instant Karma
Author: Marissa Meyer
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Karma is in Indian derived concept, but wielded by white characters
Recommended For…: contemporary lovers, people who like bad books
Publication Date: November 3, 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary
Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual content, triggering amounts of HP)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Synopsis: 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 karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.
Review: For all the good that the narrator did, this book absolutely sucked. First of all, I saw the comments calling out the book for cultural appropriation and I want to note that their opinions are valid and yes, this book takes a very white character and gives her an Indian power and then takes the concept and twists it into what it’s not. It’s not pretty and that’s not cool of the author to do. Why is it 2020 and we’re giving white characters god like powers that people of another culture invented? Just because it’s Marissa Meyer doesn’t mean that she gets a pass. Anyways, overall I hated the book. The book reads like it should be a villain origin story except we’re supposed to believe that Prudence is a good character. The main character (Prudence) even sucks if you look at this from a villain’s perspective. She’s annoying, overbearing, and very much a young Karen in training. If you work in retail, you’ll despise Prudence and even in the end she doesn’t have that many redeeming moments. She’s still so hard to relate to and I just want to punch her one good time in the left eye. The book took a holier than thou approach when discussing veganism and that wasn’t really checked. The book had too many subplots for a contemporary read. The book is also incredibly boring. I went to court at one point and left the audiobook running for an hour. When I returned, the book was almost exactly where I left off. There was less than 5% progress from the characters while I progressed 7% in the audiobook. I’m also faulting the author on the many Harry Potter references. JK Rowling has been problematic for decades with her homophobia, transphobia, racism, and sexism and authors are still putting triggering amounts of HP in their works, even going so far as to name a prominent animal character after an HP character? Yea, that’s a no for me. The narrator tried and I fell in love with her voice, but other than that, I hated listening to this book.
Verdict: It sucks and is full of problematic content. It’s a swerve for me.