Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Warped by Maurissa Guibord
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons  
Pages: 352
Received: Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 


From Goodreads:

Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books. She finds the creature woven within it compelling and frightening. After the tapestry comes into her possession, Tessa experiences dreams of the past and scenes from a brutal hunt that she herself participated in. When she accidentally pulls a thread from the tapestry, Tessa releases a terrible centuries old secret. She also meets William de Chaucy, an irresistible 16th-century nobleman. His fate is as inextricably tied to the tapestry as Tessa's own. Together, they must correct the wrongs of the past. But then the Fates step in, making a tangled mess of Tessa's life. Now everyone she loves will be destroyed unless Tessa does their bidding and defeats a cruel and crafty ancient enemy.



I read this book the week my dog died so I was pretty out of it. It would have taken a 5 star book to pull me out of my head and into the book and, unfortunately, Warped wasn’t up to the task. My enjoyment was a 3 star rating, but I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it more (though not completely) in other circumstances so I’m bumping it up to a 3.5. I contemplated not even reviewing this one, but I decided to do a shorter review instead.

I want more than what I got

So much of this book was so close to being magical, but it just missed the mark. The plot was good and fun, but it never fully captured my interest. I loved the parts set inside the tapestry and in the past, but the scenes set in modern times seemed to lack a certain spark. Unfortunately, most of the book takes place in modern times and we’re only given tantalizingly brief glimpses into the past.

The pacing was ok with things moving along but never feeling rushed. I would have liked maybe a little more actual action, but this level of action would have been fine if I had connected with the characters more. While it seems like a unicorn book, it isn’t really. At least, not how I was expecting.

The main character Tessa was just ok for me. She didn’t irritate me, but she didn’t endear herself to me either. She just seemed bland. I felt like I never really got to know her and as a result she’s largely forgettable (very low score on the WWMCD test). Almost my entire positive and lasting impressions of her come from the flashbacks to the past, though the connection between her lives felt underdeveloped and a little confusing. Her best friend seemed like a much more dynamic character.

Will was better, and I admit I did find him charmingly attractive, but there was also something that kept me from completely swooning. I’m not sure what it is. He has all the right features that should leave me in a puddle, but…he felt a little underdeveloped? Something pretty major happens to him, but I don’t think the impact of this even is really reflected on his personality as much as it should have been.

The book is told in the third person, but follows Tessa’s perspective. Perhaps if the book had been written in the first person with Tessa narrating I might have felt more connected to her. I felt so distant from her and her emotions. Since Will is shown primarily through Tessa’s eyes, I think also I felt disconnected from him because I felt so disconnected from Tessa.

All is not lost

Where Tessa is a shadow of a character, the Norn were overflowing with mythical realism. The Norn, or the Fates, are the three beings who create, weave, and sever the threads of life. Their scenes were striking in their vivid imagery and characterization. For me, they stole the show. Fans of myths and fairy tales will probably appreciate Guibord’s handling of these scenes. Even her writing style shifts to create a timeless and mythical feel. Whereas I have a very hazy image of Tessa, the Norn are crystal clear in my mind.

I found the villain in the story equally fascinating. Her back story makes her a much more developed and human character than Tessa. I felt compassion for her, while still fully recognizing and appreciating her corruption. This was a character with depth, though the revelation of that depth came a little later on in the story than I would have liked. She spends much of the earlier parts of the book coming across like a stock villain.

All in all

Refreshingly, this is a standalone with a satisfying ending. Warped is a good debut that shows a lot of promise. My expectations were admittedly high (I was hoping and praying that this would be *that* book), and they were not met. In time though, Maurissa Guibord does seem to have the potential to write *that* book and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what she writes next.

 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 


  1. Aww I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book. It's a very testing time though when a beloved pet dies and I have to admit that if it were my cat that died I doubt I'd even be able to concentrate to read so you did well to finish this book. Wow that was a long sentence!

    I have this one on my shelf awaiting my attention. I'm hoping I enjoy it a little more than you. I enjoyed reading your review and I'm going to try out the WWMCD test on all the characters I read now lol.

  2. Too bad it wasn't great for you. It's always hard to read when you have lots of personal things. I wouldn't be able to function if my dog died.
    At least it had some things still good. The tapestry plot sounds interesting.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog! Things in life definitely affect the way I react to a book, so I can imagine if this book was good but not spectacular that it certainly wouldn't impress you given the way you must have been feeling! I will be beside myself when my boys go, I can't even think about it without tearing up. My thoughts are with you!

  4. Ooh. I bet if you were in the mood for something light and fluffy you probably would have liked it more. That's what happened to me. XD. I gave it extra points for the unicorns. Haha.

  5. It's too bad that you found this one a little disappointing. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet but it's nice to know that the ending is satisfying and that this one is a standalone. Pretty much every book I read these days seems to be a part of a series or has an open ending which makes me think that a potential sequel could follow.

  6. The Slowest Bookworm, Thanks :) I hope you do enjoy Warped. I thought the plot was unique and well done. Maurissa Guibord is definitely an author I’ll be watching out for now. LOL, hope you find my “test” helpful!

    Alison, It did have some things that were really good. The biggest problem for me was that I just wasn’t feeling the main character, but that might change if I reread it under better circumstances.

    Jenny, Thank you :) I also had super high expectations for it, so I think that may have also played a part in my disappointment. It was supposed to be *the ONE* :P

    Need Tea, Unicorns always get extra points :) I agree, I think my mood messed me up with this one. I’ll have to reread it.

    A Canadian Girl, I hear you! It was such a relief to read a book that had a beginning, middle, and ending.

  7. I’m so sorry about your dog :(

    I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one. Sorry it didn’t wow you.

  8. I always like a fascinating villian. Will have to keep my eye out for this book. Great review :)

  9. I like the premise of the story but I'm bummed neither of the leads were great, they sound kind of underwhelming.

    The Villain, though... well, I like my villains, so I might just need to pick this one up after all :)

  10. I'm so sorry about your dog! I've heard mixed reviews of this one, but..the cover is gorgeous. *_* Might read it just for fun.

  11. First off, when our dog died, I don't think I could have read anything and made any sense out of it. I commend you for trying. Hopefully it took your mind off the situation a little bit or at least dulled the pain.

    You did a great job with the review fleshing out and pinpointing the issues you had. I learned a lot from reading it. I still may give this one a they but not urgently. It's also a genre I'm not super comfortable with.

  12. I'm intrigued by anything that says "unicorn" even if it's just in reference to a tapestry.

    I like that you couched this review in reference to your mood, too. It's amazing how much that can make a difference in how much I enjoy a book. I think I'll still give this one a try, and I nominated it for your review comparison too!

  13. I'm sorry you didn't love Warped! I'm glad you found a lot to enjoy, though, including my favorite aspects :)

    I really enjoyed the novel and will look forward to more books by Maurissa Guibord!

  14. I definitely would've picked this one up because of the gorgeous cover alone!

    As always, you have really clear and valid reasons as to why you didn't enjoy it. And I can imagine that I would have the same issues with the book.

  15. *hugs* So sorry to hear about your puppy. I would have been wishing for the same thing.

    Your description of the lackluster characters is very similar to what I just experienced with the last book I read, so I totally feel your frustrations (or maybe you weren't as frustrated as I was). But Will sounds exactly like the guy I was supposed to swoon over but didn't. :(

    Though I have to admit, you've made me curious about that villain.

    P.S. I looked up your definitions page and snorted my coke. It was rather painful, but the page was super funny!

  16. I really want to read this one, but I haven't gotten a chance yet. I'm sorry it wasn't quite on the mark for you. Hey, the main character's name is Tessa! Haha, it's weird because I've been seeing my name in books a lot lately. Great review!

  17. Christie, :) Thank you. It didn’t wow me, and while I think part of that was my reading situation, I have read reviews where people mentioned similar things about the main characters.

    Nic, I loved the villains here. They’re bad, but understandable.

    Alex, I was really disappointed by the leads. Will had a lot of potential (and I’ve seen people swoon over him), but the MC fell short for me. That might have been me, but I’m not sure. Asher from Paranormal Indulgence felt similarly. I would still recommend reading the book though. The story was fun and the villains are make it worth reading, I think.

    Dazzling Mage, Thanks :) If the subject sounds like something you’d like then I’d definitely give it a shot if I were you. I don’t regret having read it at all.

    Gina, Aw, thank you :) It did, but it didn’t. The MC’s mother is dead, so she talked about death a bunch. Hm, maybe that’s also why I didn’t like her very much. I’m glad you enjoyed my review :) If it’s not your genre, then it may not be for you. The villains stood out for me, but the rest wasn’t particularly special.

    Logan, Me too :) I love unicorns, and any reference to unicorn tapestries. You should read Rampant! Mood and real life really can affect a reading experience. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy re-reading. Thanks for nominating!

    A Backwards Story, I am looking forward to more books from her too. She’s a great new voice to fantasy.

    Lazy Girl, Isn’t the cover pretty? I was lusting after it for months before the book released. I’m glad you enjoyed my review. Thank you for your kind words :)

    Missie, :) Thank you. Me not as frustrated? Remember, I'm a character girl through and through! Nothing frustrates me more than characters I want to love but just can't. The villains were pretty cool though. Sorry about the coke up the nose (yep, I know how uncomfortable that can be!), but I'm glad you laughed :)

    T.B., I hope you love it :) I don't think I've ever read a book where the main character shared my name. That must be pretty cool!


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