Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Genre: YA fiction, fantasy, romance, Twilight
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: Veronica’s life pretty much sucks. Her dad abandoned her when she was 12, her mom is dating a lecherous slob, and her boyfriend just cheated on her. Luckily, her musical theatre obsessed best friend Mackenna makes plans to whisk them both off on a fantastic summer long vacation to Scotland where she has inherited a cottage from her great aunt. Before they leave, Veronica begins having strange visions and dreams about a handsome, blond boy in a kilt who is reaching out to her and calling her name. The visions only increase and grow stronger when they make it across the pond. Kenna thinks Veronica has lost it, until they find a set of magic rings, left to Kenna by her aunt, that transport them across the enchanted Brig into Doon – a magical kingdom straight out of the middle ages. Veronica knows she’ll find her destiny here and with a land full of handsome princes, gorgeous sweeping landscapes and incredible castles, what could go wrong? But Doon is not as perfect as it seems – a cursed witch is out to destroy the kingdom and Veronica and Kenna are suspected of being in league with her. Can they prove their innocence, find true love, and save an entire kingdom from destruction?
Brigadoon as a YA novel sounds amazing, doesn’t it? My mother has always hated the musical – “Why does the village only appear once every hundred years? That’s stupid.” I dozed through it once in high school and I have seen the movie at least one time and it is a little dull. And long. With the 20 minute long dance breaks that were so popular during that time period. So I thought this would be perfect – a modernized novel where teenagers fall into Brigadoon. Except it didn’t work out the way that I wanted, in that I wanted it to be good and it was pretty terrible.
The book is told in first person from both Veronica and Mackenna’s point of view in varying chapters. Kenna is the one who is Scottish and inheriting a cottage in Scotland from her great aunt, but for some reason Veronica (also called Vee for short) is the main character who right away starts having visions of an impossibly hot, blond guy in a kilt. (I couldn’t stop myself from picturing him as Chris Hemsworth as Thor in a kilt.) Both girls have one thing in common though – they are both extremely annoying. Seriously, if they said “bestie” in their internal narrative one more time, I was going to break something. Anyway, from the beginning the authors want to let us know that the girls are very different, but that’s why they compliment each other so well and are best friends. For example, Vee loves to read and Mackenna hates reading so much that when they discover her beloved great aunt’s magical diary she refuses to read it. Because she hates reading that much. What even. Meanwhile, Kenna is obsessed with musical theatre and continually says or thinks ridiculous exclamations such as “Holy Hammerstein!” or “Sweet Baby Sondheim!” I sincerely doubt anyone actually says that casually like they do it all the time. They also like to watch the Harry Potter movies a lot so that was another strike against me liking either of them. They are brainless and annoying in a typical girl sort of way that I would not expect from people who like to read or are obsessed with musical theatre. I like to read about smart teenagers, not the idiots I was presented with in this book.
Anyway, Kenna is dead set on thinking Vee is crazy and that Doon is not real despite mounting evidence that it is. They find two magical rings in Kenna’s aunt’s attic along with a confession that she had lived in Doon, her husband was from Doon and the whole story was true. Vee and Kenna go to the Brig o’ Doon (which is a real bridge) and the rings light up all magical and they find themselves in Doon! Vee brought along Kenna’s aunt’s diary which contains a map of Doon so they start walking towards the castle. They end up finding a big stadium full of cheering people who are watching the two princes of Doon swordfight. One of them is none other than Jamie (slash Chris Hemsworth) who Vee has been dreaming of. Before she can meet the man of her dreams, they are dragged to the dungeon by two guards who find them lurking. They are presented to Prince Jamie who disappointingly acts like he’s never seen Veronica before and worse thinks that she and Kenna are witches.
See, there was this witch who was trying to destroy Doon. The King – Jamie and Duncan (the other prince)’s father – locked himself away and prayed for God to protect their kingdom. Since then, the witch was cast out and Doon disappeared from the normal world. A path into Doon would open for one day every hundred years on the “Centennial.” During that day, the “destined” find their way into Doon and can choose to stay forever. The problem is Vee and Kenna showed up about two weeks before that which should be impossible – but they have the magic rings so I guess it worked that way? I don’t know, the whole thing with the rings was kind of unclear.
Very lucky for the girls, they are accepted into castle life, given amazing rooms, a servant/friend named Fiona, AND discover they don’t even have to give up modern conveniences. That’s right, because apparently every time Doon opens up to the outside world they get all this new stuff to bring back from the modern world so you get all the joy of living in a medieval castle while enjoying indoor plumbing, sushi, and pizza! Really.
Which brings me to more of how Doon works – which I spent the whole book trying to figure out and not quite grasping. But anyway, Kenna at one point asks Jamie what the time relation is between Doon and the modern world since time passes differently. He responds that Doon is about 1/4 of the time – so to them it seems like the Centennial happens every 20 or so years while to the outside world it happens every 100 years. Kenna’s internal response to this rather straightforward answer? ‘Nerd alert!’ Then says out loud, “It’s all geek to me!” That’s right. She thinks Jamie is a nerd because he knows what a fraction is and she can’t understand basic math concepts. Vee goes on to explain it to Kenna in terms of buying shoes that are on sale. Then I killed myself. Okay not really, unfortunately I just kept reading. But seriously, she doesn’t know what a fraction is.
Predictably, Kenna and Duncan hit it off while Vee pines after Jamie who treats her with contempt and like he doesn’t care about her at all. At first. Then things start to get very…unsavory. Like, I assume this is the sort of relationship that goes down in 50 Shades of Grey? Jamie does not understand or does not care about the words “Stop” or “No” or “Let go of me.” He is often physically violent. He grabs Vee roughly or pushes her all the time and does not stop when she asks him to. Usually he laughs and continues in a ‘what are you going to do about it?’ sort of way. Yet for some reason, this makes him more attractive to Vee who is completely in love with him despite his abominable behavior. Jamie seems to always be on the verge of completely losing his temper and beating everyone in the vicinity as well as verbally abusing Vee and whoever else happens to piss him off in any way. It’s pretty gross and I fail to see the prince charming Vee keeps claiming he is.
Eventually Jamie has a scene where he stops acting horrible like he has the entire book and he and Vee make out. The next morning he finds her where he left her on the couch with no pants on and strongly implies that she better get dressed or he won’t be able to stop himself from raping her. She thinks this is the sweetest thing anyone has ever said and falls even deeper in love with him. WHAT THE HELL. So he is super disgusting and awful yet he and Veronica are soul mates and destined to be together forever. Poor girl.
For a long time, I wasn’t able to tell what the plot of this book actually was, but the Centennial comes, they have a showdown with the witch, yadda yadda yadda. The ending is predictable, but with one gleam of hope that maybe Kenna has a head on her shoulders after all. Until the epilogue which is incredibly annoying and concludes the story by letting all girls know that they should ALWAYS give up their dreams for a guy or they will regret it forever. Because being with a guy is the only important thing. Because Twilight.
-Um…it was a good idea in theory to adapt Brigadoon
-Idiot girl characters who hate reading and math
-Confusing narrative with not enough explanation of how magic works in this world
-Physically and verbally abusive prince “charming” who doesn’t know that no means no
-No musical numbers or Gene Kelly tap dancing to distract me from the silliness of this whole premise
-‘Go Home with Bonnie Jean’ is stuck in my head forever FML