(Received from Netgalley for review.)
What a miss. At first glance, the premise sounded interesting. Unfortunately, it’s half baked. First, there’s the concept of “saving” art by relocating the human figure inside it. Which means, I guess, that art without human figures is somehow less real? Put aside, I guess, how totally cool the people in the paintings are with being people in paintings, and with a modern world they really shouldn’t know much about. Ok, whatever. Now let’s get to the villain, who’s apparently motivated by the fact that people looked at her painting less because she’s “ugly”. She’s drawn in a sort of cubist style, which we all know is totally unpopular and that absolutely nobody spends hours obsessing over the works. Oh, wait, they totally do. It’s very strange that this book equates (morally) good art with conventional notions of beauty, and (morally) bad art with anything that isn’t strictly representational. It’s a bizarrely regressive view of art. If I felt like the author was setting up that view to knock it down, that would be one thing. It would be a point a few decades past its prime, but I could follow that. I sincerely don’t get that sense here.
Aside from that, the main character is obnoxious and I cringed every time he was on the page. Most of the characters are at least a little annoying, but that’s mostly because they’re blandly characterized. Mona Lisa in the real world could be any number of previously sheltered princesses, and there’s absolutely nothing about her that follows from being a centuries old painting. Main character Reggie Riot (ugh, seriously?) is on a totally different level. He’s the sort of juvenile wannabe punk who thinks it’s hilarious to tie up a cashier because he doesn’t like the clothes sold in the store she works in. I wanted to slap him.
There’s an interesting premise in here, but it isn’t executed very well, and the views on art are weirdly outdated.