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Veronica doesn’t think she’s going crazy. But why can’t anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months.
But the Scottish countryside holds other plans.
They find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica’s daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they’ve longed for…or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.
I started reading this book because I felt like it promised originality. However, originality doesn’t equal a good story. The setting is unusual, but it just doesn’t make sense, and you often find yourself rolling your eyes so much that they might as well just stay in the back of your head.
Doon, the magical land in which Veronica (no, sorry, Verranica as said by Jamie MacCrae, but he’s for another paragraph) and her best friend MacKenna end up in is literally one big mess. I initially thought it was Scotland of the past, but it’s literally one big contradiction, a mashup of the modern world with the mindset of the past world. People have been travelling to Doon throughout history, from our world to theirs through a magical bridge every so often. As a result, Doon has modern conventions such as toilets, showers and as well as sushi and pizzerias. Despite the fact that they’ve come in contact with contemporary society, the people of Doon still firmly believe in their past life, with their mindset firmly ingrained with their previous views and are still willing to burn witches at stakes. The setting is a mess and was difficult to understand with its different behaviours and severe lack of sense. I would like the background to make sense and for its people to follow guidelines of reasonable practices.
Now let’s begin with the characters:
Veronica: (see also Verranica )
She’s the dictionary definition of innocent. She’s beautiful (as said by MacKenna like ten million times), without even knowing it. She’s a hopeless romantic despite having the worst life possible. She’s a walking tragedy and is so irritating. She swoons over Jamie’s eyes and his locks of hair that ALWAYS seems to fall over his eyes. Despite, him completely ignoring her and being outright hostile the second he meets her, she cannot help but be upset in her attraction to him. Her soulmate! She later gives him up, only to start moaning about it five seconds later. ¬-¬ She is wholly devoted to boy Jamie, regardless of how much he acts like an idiot and how much he professes to hate her.
Mackenna: Vee’s best friend since infancy, it seems. Naturally, they are polar opposites. Mackenna is the practical musical-addicted who doesn’t realise how beautiful she is. (I see a running pattern here). She is meant to be humorous, a stark contrast to Vee’s impracticality…it didn’t work for me. She comes off as more annoying than entertaining. However, the development of her and Jamie’s brother, Duncan, was much more believable.
From the second Veronica and Mackenna enters his foreign land, where he is the crown prince, and despite this being Scotland, he still looks like an emo boy. Despite knowing that he is Veronica’s Calling, (a commonly acknowledged moment in Doon to mean you’ve met your soulmate), Jamie denies it, and continue treating Vee like crap. He tells her one thing, says another. He says words intended to turn her away and is absolutely angry (and blames her) when she does run away.
Duncan MacCrae: I actually liked him a lot out of all the characters. He was so kind compared to the rest of them in this book that I really have nothing wrong to say about him at all. He just wants to protect his home, and his romance with MacKenna is somewhat understandable. Their characters interact well together, and so I can see them falling for each other.
The secondary characters were unoriginal, lacking in any complexity. Everyone is black or white. There is no complexity within any of the main characters, and much less with the secondary. The plot shows no sense of urgency to the imminent danger that the land of Doon is in. Apart from villagers disappearing, a few dead bodies thrown in, there is no intrigue, no feeling that something terrible is going to happen.
Reading the sequel is nowhere near the forefront of my mind right now, but that ending had me shocked! Maybe I’ll pick it up, but that’s a maybe.