Temping Fate -- Esther Friesner
Ilana Newhouse needs a summer job. Preferably one that doesn't involve burger grease and will look good on her college applications. She gets turned away from business after business due to her attitude and appearance. (Apparently, a 'Orc: The Other Green Meat' T-shirt and Sharpie tattoo of a skull on your cheek don't go over well in suburban Connecticut. Go figure.)
Finally, she lands a job with the D. R. Temp Agency. She quickly realizes that she's not just covering for some generic office worker -- she's temping for Fate.
It SOUNDS like a really fun premise, right? There's a lot of potential for fun and adventure, maybe some romance and so forth, right?
If I had to sum this book up in one word? SNORE.
But one-word reviews aren't really fair. I got a kick out of the Furies:
Ilana's scream was drowned out by a chorus of shrill giggles. In an instant she was surrounded by a trio of girls, all barely into their teens, as perky and bouncy as a basket full of puppies. They'd come out of nowhere. One was blond, one brunette, one redheaded, all of them dressed in shorts, T-shirts, and flipflops that were identical except for color.
But that was it. Just a kick. I never developed any sort of emotional attachment with a character (I liked Mrs. A, and her secret identity was very clever, but I didn't care about her. There was also a possibility with Arachne, but it just didn't pan out).
I never even really cared one way or the other about what would happen. They could have all died in a fiery pit of chili, and I probably would have said, "Huh. That was odd." MAYBE. But I wouldn't have cared. All surface, no depth. All of that adds up to that sad book death-knell: BO-ring.
All of the actual emotion interactions between the characters themselves felt stilted, somehow. Forced.
I'm not just being grouchy. I realize that I occasionally have a tendency to let my mood color my opinion, but I started this book in a great mood. The book destroyed my mood, not the other way around.
In all honesty, if an older teen wanted a book about being Fate, I'd probably point him/her to that Piers Anthony series. I totally think that P.A. is a hack, but I loved that series as a teen and I remember liking it enough that I re-read the Death and Fate books over and over again. At least with those, I actually got attached to the characters.