Book Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Published in Australia on the 10th November, 2020 by Pan Australia, an imprint of Pan Macmillan.

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Australian RRP: $19.99

ISBN: 9781760983468

Format: Paperback

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Educational Fiction.

Page Count: 400

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Pan Macmillan Australia

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgement on the residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

Pru giddily makes use of the power, flexing it on everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers. But there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-round mortal enemy.

Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers and even herself. She discovers how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.

My Review:

I received a copy of Instant Karma from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts are my own.

I’m a big fan of Marissa Meyer’s Renegades series and The Lunar Chronicles quintet, so I was definitely excited for the Author’s first foray into Contemporary Fiction with Instant Karma. On principle, I found it to be an honest to goodness fun, light hearted (but with more than a healthy dose of seriousness thrown in!) read.

I loved quite a lot about this book, I thought it was quite sweet and endearing that Pru and her siblings were all named for songs from The Beatles (Jude, Eleanor, Lucy and Penny (think Hey Jude, Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane). I’ve never really been a hardcore Beatles fan but I definitely found myself looking for my earbuds and listening to them whilst I was reading and I definitely think I’ll be listening to them more avidly having read Instant Karma!

Prudence was definitely an interesting main character, initially I must admit I found her constant need for perfection (grade wise) to be slightly admirable, there’s something to definitely appreciate in regards to striving for nothing but the highest level of perfection, putting in so much work towards something and hoping for recognition and the perfect grade to mirror one’s hard work, but honestly I did wish that Pru would give herself a break sometimes. What I did relate to an understand though was her slight inability to loosen up, people assuming and dictating that she didn’t know how to have a good time. Those sorts of assumptions can hurt, so Pru definitely had my sympathies in this aspect.

Prudence’s character development throughout was fun to read, as she’s chasing that perfect grade on a collaborative paper she did with less than studious Quint, (who Pru couldn’t envision would get a higher grade than her on their piece, much to her indignation!). I appreciated Pru’s sheer determination once again to completely knock it out of the park and make her Professor completely impressed, but what I definitely enjoyed more so was Prudence’s character growing from that total goody-goody student to someone who actually grew really passionate about the Sea Rescue Centre that she started volunteering at, even if it was just initially to help her cause to get that flawless grade!

Reading about Pru interact with those wonderfully sweet, beautiful sea lions that Quint and his family nurse back to health was just so sweet and reading about Pru’s hard work to help the Centre do the best they can, working with Quint to host events such as beach cleanups and inviting audiences to witness animals being released back into their homes was so exciting too, I could completely visualise it all as I was reading and it was completely visually awe inspiring and I found myself catching the characters’ excitement too!

Now, let’s talk about the title itself – Instant Karma. It’s a homage to the John Lennon song, yet also it suggests towards a fleeting power, being able to literally dish out instant karma to anyone who does wrongdoings (although this definitely becomes problematic, I think, when Pru finds she’s using it on her terms, resulting in an unfortunate accident regarding one of the side characters, but I suppose that’s part and parcel of having it). I found myself really enjoying it though, even if sometimes the results were borderline immature (e.g. upon hearing someone say less than colourful things about Pru’s twin Jude, Prudence’s little trick results in someone losing an earring, a family heirloom no less!).

That’s not to say that Pru didn’t have her moments of remorse when she learns how her quirky little gift has affected some people, which is completely understandable but honestly I wish the concept of Instant Karma itself and Pru using it was explored more! I personally felt like just as it was all becoming familiar territory for Pru, the story started to veer in the romance direction, which was perfectly fine and it was fun reading about Quint and Pru’s developing chemistry, but it just would’ve been all the more interesting reading Pru handle her gift a bit more, I think!

What I did really enjoy also though was the bond between Jude and Prudence, twins in books are always fun to read about and these two were definitely no exception! I really adored the family dynamic between Pru and her parents and other siblings too, though I did find it slightly immature that Pru was angry at her little sister for eating the last of the bananas, just because it interferes with Pru’s routine.

Qualms aside, Instant Karma was a refreshing read as I hadn’t read anything similar of its sort before! It’s definitely a fun read and even though I was audibly wincing at some of the cheesier aspects, I do think it was fun reading Marissa Meyer write something so different from The Lunar Chronicles or The Renegades Series!

Happy Reading,


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