The Child Thief (6 book series) by Bella Forrest
Publisher/date: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018
Genre: YA Dystopian
They call her Robin Hood...
CRAS is the Child Redistribution Adoption System. In the absolute epitome of socialism, children are taken from the poor and given to the wealthy, so as to create less of a burden on the government welfare system. But like any man-made government, it can be corrupt. And Robin, an adoptee herself, figures out just how deep the corruption goes after becoming pregnant herself as an unwed teen.
First I want to say that I am the Queen Goddess Superfan of dystopian novels. I love them. I adore them. I devour them like a man lost at sea devours fresh water. So by all rights I should have absolutely been obsessed with this series.
I also would like to say that, for the record, I am a very forgiving reviewer. I've tried to write my own books, and I know how desperately difficult it is to put a great idea onto paper, having been mostly unsuccessful at it myself.
But I cannot forgive this series for letting me down so truly.
I shall now outline my shocking letdown for you.
Point 1 - it seems to be written in more of a movie script style than a novel. It moves very slowly, and there is excessive useless dialogue used to reach very obvious conclusions. There is a massive overuse of the word "realized," as if the characters in the book are very stupid. This makes you dislike, and frequently want to shake, the protagonist, instead of rooting for her.
A couple examples - 1. a character is captured. He lives with another character. The characters all go back to that guys house, as if its location has not been compromised by the capture of a person who lives there! 2. this is not a fantasy series, but wolves show up at one point and lead them to safety. Then the characters just stop and chat for a few minutes when they are being chased, and I literally was screaming aloud for them to continue to run. After they outrun the bad guys they literally LIGHT A FIRE in the woods to camp, like some kind of damn homing beacon.
Point 2 - I only know how to describe this as too much convenience. Here, let me give you an example. Numerous times throughout the story, the author describes what seems like a very serious injury that makes you very concerned for that character. Then, 5 minutes later, that character walks them right off. Then they suddenly appear later at an inopportune time, when that injury should have been causing that character pain and difficulty the whole time. But that wouldn't be convenient, so the author just glosses it right over.
Point 3 - each book is the same recycled story. I don't even have to include spoilers. Characters go into dangerous situation unprepared. They almost get caught. They run away. They go back to a place they've already been or another obviously unsafe place, have 5 minutes to breathe and discuss the obvious, and then just as they are about to leave, the bad guys show up again. Rinse and repeat.
Point 4 - Because of all of the above points, the books are extremely predictable.
Point 5 - None of the books I read have an ending. They literally just stop mid-story. You can't call it a cliffhanger if you haven't had any kind of conclusion. These books could have easily been edited down and put into one story. I have seen this practice before, forcing a reader who has become invested in a story to buy the next book. This series is quite blatantly trying to do just that.
Which brings me to Point 6 - was any editing at all done to this story? Sometimes I thought that it must have been ghost written. The ideas are there, the premise of the story is interesting. But the writing is terrible. Did the author scratch the idea into an outline and then hand it to a series of other writers, and then patch together each person's part without making sure they were cohesive? Or is Bella Forrest secretly a 12 year old girl, who self-published her story in parts as it was written, forgetting what was in the last story and not bothering to go back and check? I'm not sure.
Oh, how I lament to be hating on someone's work, but this story had SUCH POTENTIAL, and it makes me angry that it was so poorly executed. If somehow my review makes its way to the writer's eyes (which I hope that it doesn't because I truly don't want to hurt someone's feelings,) please get some beta readers and an editor.
1 star. I could not finish this series, and I tried. OH, how I tried. But I could only suffer through 4 of the 6 before throwing in the towel in utter despair.