Blurb: 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. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna’s great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, 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 had high expectations for Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon. It’s been on my radar a long time due to that gorgeous cover plus it’s inspired by the old musical Brigadoon, which I’ve always had mixed feelings about. Not to mention several of my online friends have given it good reviews. So I was excited to finally get my hands on this book and be swept away on a romantic adventure to ancient Scotland.
Only – not so much.
The book started off interesting with Veronica having visions, jetting off to Scotland with Mackenna, discovering mysterious items relating to Doon – a land that shouldn’t exist. I couldn’t wait until they managed to cross over. I also thought the details about Doon’s disappearing were much better that in the musical – time still passes while Doon is hidden, just slower, rather than a hundred years passing while they sleep. I liked that much better than the original concept – something about being locked in time, hundreds of years passing by, has always felt more like a nightmare than a miracle to me. The reasons behind Doon being hidden were better too, but I still wondered what made it so special that a witch would be obsessed with the place. The girls were often snarky and there were some hilarious references that made me laugh, especially with the friendship between the girls. There was a lot to like about the book.
Doon’s occasional contact with the outside world ended up being rather bizarre. They had it down to a science – spending the big day reading up on all the advances in technology and rushing back to implement what they could. (Yay for flushing toilets in ancient Scotland! Isn’t that convenient for our two girlies?) And God randomly “Calling” people from all over the planet to come to Doon so they can have pizza and sushi? (I’m sorry but I just… I wanted to experience Scotland and instead they hung out with Italian restaurateurs!)
The magic-curse/evil-witch part just didn’t flow right somehow. Maybe because while I heard about it constantly, there were no real, obvious indications of it until suddenly at the very end. I kept feeling like they were jumping to conclusions and overreacting based on little to no information. Worst was the one time there really was an obvious sign but it happened off-scene and we were told about it much later. That would have been a powerful, downright creepy moment that would have really enhanced the story and I was flabbergasted it was not shown. I had issues with the big climactic ending too – I tend to get annoyed when I feel like a story goes all “girl power” for no reason – and some of the magic battling made me laugh which I doubt was the desired effect during the tense showdown. I also had a hard time telling the girls apart – their voices were the same and I couldn’t keep track of who was who and whose perspective I was currently reading.
But none of the above would have mattered – I can overlook a lot – if the romance had been decent. Firstly, Jamie acted like an extremely angry jerk for 90% of the book which I didn’t understand – for a people that place so much stock in soulmates, he sure didn’t seem to behave that way. Meanwhile Veronica just drowned in teen angst over the soulmate part. I’m all for two people being perfect for each other but I need to see the reasons why, not just have them be instantly, desperately, in love for no reason whatsoever other than they just have to be. There was a lot of told chemistry, physical tension and eventual kissing but I didn’t feel any of it because there was no groundwork laid to get us there.
(On a side note, there was a lot of fuss made about Veronica’s father disappearing when she was younger. On her birthday. Which had scarred her for life. I can see where some of that was to explain her character – but the fact he “abandoned” her on her birthday just made me extremely suspicious and I kept waiting for him to turn up for some magical, mystical reason. Except he never did. Maybe I’ve just seen the Alice miniseries one too many times but I was irritated at the “gun on the wall” that never got used. It’s the only thing about the sequels I am curious about. But not that curious.)
How do you feel about false “guns”?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.