Review might contain mild spoilers for the latter books.
Oh man, where do I begin?
First of all, the writing. It is not brilliant. But let's be honest: How many books have you read in the last five years and didn't have the same thought. Thin about Harry Potter. There you go. So, there goes one star. But not more. I still could have liked it.
The plot. It is a young adult romance book. Somewhat. So I expected the teenage angst, the feeling of being neglected and misunderstood. To feel... lacking. It's fine. I get it, I expected it, it was executed as I expected. That was not the problem. The mystery parts where not bad. Not great, but the ideas weren't awful, they were good at times and I enjoyed them. Parts of it were even suspenseful and it was exciting to read that. That's where the 1.5 stars come from.
Now let's move on to the stuff that makes this a "Hell no!". The message in this book is what I have a serious problem with. Starting with the necessity of beatuy in order to have a happy life, over staying and marrying an abusive boyfriend - who is also definitely not a minor anymore - to the nonexistent emotional response of the main character to all the trauma she experiences - everything about this whole love thing rubbed me the wrong way on a lot of levels. The girl is nothing without her boyfriend, a relationship is nothing without a marriage certificate. And even if I get all the angst about losing your first love - Bellas reaction to her break-up is not healthy and frankly, it is more than worrying. Which is why I really didn't like that nobody reflected on that aspect. But that was seemingly the tenor of the whole series.
It bugs me to no end how single-minded those books are. How the girl is deliberatly painted weak. It is somewhat chauvinistiv, if not insulting to me as a (not so young) girl and I'm absolutely going to touch the subjects of alternative lifestyles or thinking out of the dusty old 50s box. Let's leave at that. The books don't really make me ngry anymore. But they sure as hell won't make it out of the "hell no" zone any time soon.
The massive plot holes were only a minor detail after that.