Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer Review

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Published by: Feiwel & Friends on November 3, 2020

Genres: Young Adult Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 400


Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant 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, punishing 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-around mortal enemy. Soon, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate.MY THOUGHTS

❝You keep trying enough things and something’s bound to work, eventually.❞

Instant Karma is Meyer’s first attempt at contemporary and is only good in theory. With a small town setting, an enemies to lovers romance and plenty of The Beatles references, I should have loved this book. ‘Should’ being the operative word because a good book can’t rely on plot or tropes alone. A question people always ask is — do you prefer a book that is plot driven or character driven? My answer to that is always going to be both. A funny cast of characters might be amusing, but boring for 400 pages without a semi-interesting plot whilst a fantastic plot will suffer from shallow or weak characters. Instant Karma suffers from the latter.

❝I hadn’t considered how karma flows in two directions.❞

Before I dive into the characters, I should mention that whilst the idea of a girl being granted the power to enact instant karma is an intriguing plot, the execution was lazy. The lack of explanation for how it happened left me annoyed — was it all in her head? Well, we’re left to guess and it feels like one of those cliché ‘it was all a dream’ moments. The only reason this book is two stars for me instead of one is because the writing itself is decent enough. Albeit, some of the dialogue felt a little unnatural for teenagers these teenagers saying things like holy mothballs/schnikeys/shish kebab/criminey/shucks sincerely made me cringe.

❝All the confidence I show the world is a diversionary tactic. A cover for the fear that lies underneath.❞


❝You’re self-absorbed. Critical. Judgmental. A hypocrite. Selfish. And honestly, trusting you was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.❞

Prudence Daniels is the most insufferable YA protagonist I have ever encountered. She seemingly likes to play God and has a superiority complex. For some reason, she thinks it is her responsibility to punish people for their bad actions without even hearing full conversations or knowing why they’re doing a certain thing. Not to mention she’s never in the wrong. Despite making a girl lose her dead grandmother’s earring and causing another girl to break her leg with these supposed powers, she sees no problem in trying to steal from a non-profit organisation. And, she always assumes the worst of others, then shows little remorse for her own poor judgements. Regardless of her wanting to be better by the end of the book, there’s no liking her to such an extent that I wonder how nobody pulled Meyer up on this sooner. You would think a likeable protagonist is the key component for a successful book.

❝Fun-loving, easygoing, obnoxiously charming Quint Erickson—having a thing for Prudence the Prude?❞

Quint is tolerable, but not memorable by any means. He’s nothing special, a typical YA love interest, but I think it was a missed opportunity not having it written from his POV. Granted, watching paint dry would be more entertaining and infinitely less frustrating than reading Pru’s perspective. My biggest gripe with him is actually his relationship with Pru. Although it doesn’t happen until over half way, the two coming together felt very sudden for me. Since Pru and Quint lack any semblance of chemistry, I wonder if this book was actually an excuse to ride the ever popular ‘rivals to lovers’ wave considering it’s a sure sell from a well-established author.


❝The music begins.

My stomach drops.

Dear Prudence … won’t you come out to play?”❞

In this very disappointing book, I must admit there was one standout moment for me — Quint’s apology! However, I don’t think his criticisms of her were all that wrong. It was an emotional outburst from his end and considering the fact she was going to steal, only to stop because of an interruption, means I’m on his side. All that aside, I’m a sucker for a grand gesture. And him singing the song Pru was named after had me in a puddle. Honestly, where can I find a boy who will (badly) serenade me on karaoke? It was fun and livened up the book after a middle section that sent me to sleep.


My least favourite moment was getting to around 20% and thinking, “Oh God, I need to finish this now” because I’m generally against DNF-ing books after a certain point. If you’re like me and read it thinking it’ll get better . . . it really doesn’t.

In all honesty, I don’t have one least favourite moment. Whenever Pru breathed is likely up there. But, on the whole, there are way too many moments to count where I wanted to bang my head against the wall — how Pru treated her youngest sister, how Pru was going to steal the money and her general opposition to a rescue centre because it wasn’t profitable enough are a few that immediately come to mind.


Overall, this book is too long, too irritating and too boring for me to want to recommend it to anyone. It’s such a shame because I had high hopes entering Instant Karma and the cover in particular is stunning. However, there’s no way to sugarcoat what a mistake this book was — no matter how noble the cause of promoting animal rescue may be. The end is hastily wrapped up and even then, there wasn’t enough of a learning curve or character development for it to be satisfying.

read it and weep,

15 replies on “Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer Review”

When I read the synopsis of this book, I was a bit turned off that it seemed to be a happy contemporary romance. I think I would much prefer the ‘instant karma giver’ story be one that is darker with some badass woman or something.

Liked by 1 person

I was planning to start this book soon (maybe today) and I’m (still) pretty eager to read this book and hearing this makes me disappointed but my expectations are lowered for sure which might be for the best anyway….

Liked by 1 person

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