"Life is almost back to normal for Harper Price. The Ephors have been silent after their deadly attack at Cotillion months ago, and best friend Bee has returned after a mysterious disappearance. Now Harper can return her focus to the important things in life: school, canoodling with David, her nemesis-turned-ward-slash-boyfie, and even competing in the Miss Pine Grove pageant.
Unfortunately, supernatural chores are never done. The Ephors have decided they’d rather train David than kill him. The catch: Harper has to come along for the ride, but she can’t stay David’s Paladin unless she undergoes an ancient trial that will either kill her . . . or connect her to David for life."
My overall thought while reading Miss Mayhem: "Did I accidently stumble into another book? Is Rachel Hawkins _________?" (Fill in the blank yourself. I'm not going to write my exact thoughts there. Especially word for word.)
Harper Price isn't as funny as before. The lightness and sarcasm and sass is still there, but it is muted (which is to be expected). Still, there are some jokes played that don't work very well. Sometimes, cracking a joke twice is a recipe for boredom. It gets repetitive and too familiar. Rebel Belle does a great job of making humor and suspense go together well, but Miss Mayhem has a few bumps in the road. (Ouch!)
The plot moves quickly enough, though some events doesn't quite flow. I lose track of the book, and I find myself having to read it again and again (that doesn't happen very frequently to me, by the way). There is a lot of drama. There are even more subplots going on (which may confused some readers). Harper has a trial going on (long story), and she is struggling with her relationship with David (even longer story). Plus, Harper has some nasty troubles with her friendships (which equals to even more DRAMA).
David absolutely bewilders me. He is up. He is down. He is the classic teenager, and I can't tell whether or not he is partially crazy/bipolar because of his Oracle powers (probably a bit of that). But I absolutely dislike this thing Harper has going on. Lying to him and hiding things. Although in the real world, relationships are exactly like that and there is no such thing as a perfect couple, I still hate it. It is even worse when it is a two-way lying game.
The writing is classic, and the dialogue and dialect is all southern. The book is set in Alabama, but I wouldn't know if Rachel Hawkins has all of her "y'all" and "ole" right. It is extremely difficult to tell, because I live in California. And I have never met anyone from the South.
Overall, Miss Mayhem doesn't meet the expectation I set up for the book. Rebel Belle certainly sets the mark high, but Miss Mayhem stumbles into the dreaded "middle book" territory. The "middle book" territory is where the book isn't great nor terrible. It has been outshined by the first book, and it will (most likely) be outshined by its sequel. There are some decent characters, and I love the world building of Ephors and Paladins and Oracles. Hawkins portray a growing yet also troubling relationship of young love (between David and Harper). The plot has a few bumps in the road, and the excitement I had for Rebel Belle isn't found here.
Rating: Three out of Five