Usually I can read a book while my roommate is in the room talking on the phone, with the tv on and my ipod in my ears and I won't notice any of it because I get so absorbed in what I'm reading. A really good book pulls you out of all your surroundings and says, "Hey! Pay attention to me!". Some of all my all-time beloved books fall into this category: Harry Potter, the Twilight series, Fablehaven, The Hunger Games etc. However, occasionally a wonderful book will require more concentration. It's not a bad thing, it just that some books need every ounce of thought focused of them because what they're about to say is so complex or the book in general is less flashy. Some of my favorite books were this way also, including: 100 Cupboards and Dandelion Fire, The Belgariad, Lord of the Rings, Megan Walen Turner's series, etc.
It is not a good sign though, when a book requires your complete concentration, and even then you don't quite know what's going on. Or when you set the book down for a few hours to, say, eat or talk to people, and when you pick it back up you can't for the life of you remember what you'd read an hour ago. This is the problem I had with this book. I tried! I gave it my full attention and concentration and it gave nothing back. I was so disappointed! Not only is it pretty, but the description both on the back and the inside flap were interesting. The first chapter was dark and intriguing and I was excited to read this relatively short novel. But then everything just fell apart.
First off, I think the idea is cool. It's about a boy, Edward - hey, and I didn't even have trouble not picturing sparkly vampires whilst reading! Go me. - who goes to this boarding school. One day he comes across this mysterious book - the "Other Book" - a dark tome that begins to take over his life. He learns that it is a source of power - one that is being sought out by people who would use it for evil. Edward must protect the book, and eventually deliver it to the rightful owner.
Sounds cool huh?
That's what I thought!
But the characters are confusing. Edward falls kind of flat. His personality isn't really explored, and all he does during the entire book is run from one place to another.
Another annoying aspect to me was that the other characters were extremely unreliable. Throughout the entire book you were never sure what their true colors were. Edward would put his trust in someone new, and time after time after time that person would turn around and betray him.
Also, the origins and nature of the Other Book were not fully explored. It was as if the author hadn't really decided what the Other Book was, so just put in some vague descriptions and decided that was enough. It was not enough for me.
In short, it was a cool idea for a story, but in the end the story and characters were not fully fleshed out or explored and the whole thing ended up feeling flat, truncated and confusing.