Eva Nine lives in a Sanctuary, an underground, hermetic environment with all the technological whizbangs one expects. There, she is cared for by Muthr...moreEva Nine lives in a Sanctuary, an underground, hermetic environment with all the technological whizbangs one expects. There, she is cared for by Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot), who has raised Eva from a baby. When Eva Nine is forced to evacuate the Sanctuary, she is thrust into an alien world full of danger, beauty, and secrets. With only a scrap of paper bearing a picture of two humans and a robot and the word WondLa scrawled on the back, Eva must traverse this mysterious world and find out if there is anyone else like her out there.
Having not read The Spiderwick Chronicles, I was unsure of what to expect from The Search for WondLa. However, the two-color and black-and-white illustrations brought back strong memories of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels, and when I finished the book and found out that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was one of the inspirations I was hardly surprised.
Eva Nine is a futuristic Dorothy, thrust into a strange world by herself. All she wants to do is go home, but when one home is destroyed and you don't even know if another exists, what do you do? Over the course of the novel, Eva evolves from a young girl who is definitely not ready for the task ahead of her, to a young woman who is probably ready for anything. There is clear growth present, but in a subtle way, and it was just really wonderful.
There are several other characters, and DiTerlizzi's rich imagination runs rampant with them. Rovender Kitt, a Caerulean, is a blue, two-legged...thing. He's pictured on the cover and in the illustrations. Rovender also shows a transformation over the course of the novel, and was most definitely a pleasure to have along. Muthr, the robot that guides and nurtures Eva, is sure to be popular, and despite being a robot, also evolves. Throw in a giant buffalo-like creature named Otto that can jump long distances, a furry hunter with a "boomrod", man-eating plants, spaceships, and large crab-like csand-snipers, and there's no lack of weird and wonderful creatures.
The story is divided into four parts, and while there were times that the pace dragged a bit, overall it worked very well. Some of the big twists (and there are several) were fairly obvious, while others weren't. Still others seemed obvious, and would be revealed and you would be right; but then clues that said revelation was not actually true would be placed and you would figure something out that the characters missed. Either way, the realization of just what WondLa is will shock you. I, for one, was unsure of whether to laugh or cry.
The ending ties up the story nicely, with the guarantee of a sequel. I believe this is a new trilogy, although I may be wrong.
Illustrations are provided throughout in black-and-white and two-color. While the review copy I read only had illustrations in the first 100 pages or so, what I saw were lovely and captured the spirit perfectly. DiTerlizzi has a talent not only for words but also for images that enhance those words.
Finally, the book comes with three instances of "Augmented Reality", or WondLa Vision. Once again, my review copy only had one instance, but I did try it out. By holding up certain images in front of a webcam at the www.WondLa.com site, readers get to see illustrated, moving, 3-d maps of Eva Nine's journey. There was a bit of a long loading period for me, but the map was intricate and colorful. Probably more of a one-time thing than an actual necessity, but it was certainly cool.
Overall, The Search for WondLa is both classic and fresh, and evokes the spirit of older titles while still feeling ahead of its time. Accompanied by lovely illustrations, a colorful cast of characters, and an emotionally strong story filled with mystery, this is one of my favorite books of the year. Suitable for ages 8 and up, I can see this having crossover appeal for the whole family.(less)
Paranormal romances are a dime a dozen these days, with some good and many bad. The Dark Divine, I am pleased to say, is definitely one of the good on...moreParanormal romances are a dime a dozen these days, with some good and many bad. The Dark Divine, I am pleased to say, is definitely one of the good ones.
Grace Divine, pastor’s daughter and all-around good girl, remembers that night three years ago when her brother, Jude, came home covered in blood. That was also the night that her childhood friend Daniel disappeared. Now, he’s back in town, and he’s brought danger with him. To save the ones she loves, Grace will have to unravel a mystery and may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The first thing I must say is that The Dark Divine is an issues novel with paranormal elements, not a paranormal novel with other stuff thrown in. It starts off completely “normal” and it isn’t until later that the paranormal elements work their way into the story, which is a nice change. The pacing is excellent, with the danger slowly amping up as more people get hurt and more questions get asked. There are two twists near the end, and one I did not see coming at all while the other one only occurred to me about a page before the heroine figured it out. The climax, a deadly battle fought on a church rooftop, is intense and nail-biting. The ending clearly points to a sequel, you can make your own decision about your feelings about that.
As far as characters go, Grace is kind of the expected “good girl” and Daniel is the “bad boy”, yes. They’re crafted well enough that you can look past those stereotypes, but the most interesting character is perhaps Jude, Grace’s brother. While he’s relegated to the periphery for much of the story, he feels very fleshed out, and at the end of the novel I really appreciated him. Both of Grace’s parents are present and are developed, being shown as real people who aren’t perfect, but are definitely trying.
There is an element of God mixed in with the paranormal element, which may offend some people, but I really liked how it tied things together in a nice bow. Otherwise, there’s no really bad language, although there is a smash-cut at one point. There is definitely violence, especially toward the end, but that’s to be expected. The murder mystery elements were a great thread to follow throughout the novel, and the reveal near the end was masterful.
Overall, The Dark Divine is a well-crafted paranormal romance with murder mystery and contemporary elements. I recommend it to those who like any of those genres, and I definitely look forward to the next book.(less)
The penultimate volume in Melissa Marr’s Faerie Court series, Radiant Shadows is definitely the strongest yet. The story is that of Ani, half-mortal a...moreThe penultimate volume in Melissa Marr’s Faerie Court series, Radiant Shadows is definitely the strongest yet. The story is that of Ani, half-mortal and half-faerie, but not just any kind of faerie. Ani is half Hound, and the blood in her veins calls out to Faerie. Then there’s Devlin, the High Queen’s Bloody Hands, who is coming to face the consequences of the single time he disobeyed his Queen. Together, the two of them will form the final piece in the fabric of tension between Reason and War.
Radiant Shadows picks up where Fragile Eternity left off, and while the two aren’t directly associated, I definitely recommend having read Fragile Eternity before reading Radiant Shadows. That being said, I think that this novel is able to stand on its own if the reader is O.K. with not knowing some of the backstory. However, it sets the stage for the final book in the series, and while the book itself is full of danger, by the end of the novel you can be sure that this is only the calm before the storm.
I’ve always felt that Marr’s male characters were stronger and more intriguing than the female ones; this is no longer the case. While we are reunited with fan favorites Seth, Niall, and Irial, Radiant Shadows is dominated by powerful women. First is Ani, who has the need to feed off of both emotions and touch, both human and faerie. She’s between a rock and a hard place, but is determined to do anything she can to protect the ones she loves. Then there’s Sorcha, the High Queen, who, because of events in Fragile Eternity, has taken on a new dimension. Finally, there is Rae, who is a Dreamwalker–capable of entering dreams and changing them. The guys certainly get into the action (Devlin, especially, with his musings on fealty), but this is a novel where the women dominate.
The plot is a strong point. Whereas in Fragile Eternity I felt like there was a bit of fat that could have been trimmed, Radiant Shadows is tight, with an excellent pace. There are twists and turns, and danger around every corner; allegiances will be tested, boundaries will be crossed, and the very existence of Faerie itself will be threatened. And, of course, there will be blood.
If you’ve not begun Melissa Marr’s series yet, it’s time. With Radiant Shadows is comes into its glory and shows the harsh realities of the dark, edgy world Marr has created.(less)
Rarely does a book come along that is both of high literary merit and entertaining. Eyes Like Stars is one such book. It blends romance, fantasy, thea...moreRarely does a book come along that is both of high literary merit and entertaining. Eyes Like Stars is one such book. It blends romance, fantasy, theater, comedy, drama, and suspense into one cohesive element.
The story follows Beatrice Shakespeare Smith--Bertie to her friends--, who lives in the Théâtre Illuminata, a magical place where all the Players from every play ever written reside, along with The Book of all those plays. Bertie isn't a Player, she is an orphan, and if she wants to remain at the Théâtre she will have to prove her worth, and she might just save the world at the same time.
The story is fresh and inventive. There is no simple equivalent such as "boy meets girl", Eyes Like Stars is so original that it stands out against my mind. The pacing is excellent, with doses of hearty laughter spread throughout to help speed things along. There is a romantic story complete with drool-worthy pirate boy; there are mischievous fairies; Lady Macbeth on the rampage; a plot to destroy the Théâtre; and secrets aplenty.
Bertie is a spunky heroine in the great tradition of spunky heroines. She stands out as being well-meaning but usually disastrous, what with her clumsiness and friendship with the previously mentioned fairies. She does not fit in at the Théâtre, a magical place where everyone fits in. Nate is a new addition to the Book Boyfriend List, and he is also fresh and new, with his pirate accent but sweet sincerity. Ariel is ripped from the pages of The Tempest, as is Ophelia from Hamlet, but both are given added depth and a slight modernization that cast new shades on them. The fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream are even more entertaining here and in the original work, and the other original characters that round out the cast are colorful and varied.
I might describe this book as "on crack in a good way" or perhaps as "what happens when a cupcake explodes and fairies come out", but either way I know that Lisa Mantchev's debut novel is sure to please many readers. (less)
**spoiler alert** There are spoilers for THE HUNGER GAMES below, so if you haven't finished that book yet do not read this review. However, there are...more**spoiler alert** There are spoilers for THE HUNGER GAMES below, so if you haven't finished that book yet do not read this review. However, there are no spoilers for CATCHING FIRE, so feel free to continue reading!
Katniss and Peeta have survived The Hunger Games, winning extra food for their district for a year. However, The Hunger Games are nearing again, and this year is the third Quarter Quell, "celebrating" the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Games. And every Quarter Quell has a twist...
CATCHING FIRE is the second in THE HUNGER GAMES Trilogy. The ending of the first book was fairly ambiguous, so I was on the fence about reading a sequel. I no longer doubt Suzanne Collins, and I will read anything she writes. Not only does CATCHING FIRE manage to captivate, it is also as good as its predecessor, which is practically unheard of for a "middle book".
Katniss and Peeta return, accompanied by old characters and new ones alike. It is nice to see Cinna, Gale, and Haymitch get more screen time. With the exception of Finnick, though, the rest of the new characters seem a little hollow and one-dimensional. This is not a shock, as once again the supporting characters are fairly minor in importance.
The plot begins more slowly than THE HUNGER GAMES, but it does pick up and starts moving at a fast clip. Towards the end I was skimming some paragraphs so I could see what would happen faster. The novel also sets up for an explosive finish in the last book.
CATCHING FIRE lives up to THE HUNGER GAMES, and while the flaws remain, they are minor and nothing compared to the fast-paced, exciting ride the book provides. 5Q, 5P(less)
THE CHOSEN ONES is quite possibly the most emotional, moving, and important book of the year. And it's only February.
The story centers around thirtee...moreTHE CHOSEN ONES is quite possibly the most emotional, moving, and important book of the year. And it's only February.
The story centers around thirteen-year-old Kyra, who is one of The Chosen Ones. She is the first daughter of her father's second wife, and helps all three of her mothers take care of the younger children. Yes, The Chosen Ones are Polygynists (Polygamists where there are multiple wives for each husband). Kyra has been secretly sneaking off of the Compound to visit the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, and she has also been sneaking around at night, meeting with a boy names Joshua. However, The Prophet has been told by God that Kyra is to become her sixty-year-old uncle's seventh wife. Kyra will be forced to question everything she believes, with the possibility that her whole world will fall apart. Her journey is one of bravery, faith, and love.
Kyra's narration is primarily internal, although there is a lot of dialogue. However, sometimes Kyra's thoughts slip into flashbacks or poetry. Overall, she is very believable as a thirteen-year-old. Other characters, such as Patrick the bookmobile driver and Mother Claire are interesting and show different sides.
An interesting thing about THE CHOSEN ONES is that there is something for everyone. There is an epic star-crossed love story, two high-speed chases, coming-of-age, and more.
This novel is funny, sad, horrifying, happy, and captivating. It drew me in and made me feel Kyra's pain and joy, her terror and sadness. It is on par with novels like GO ASK ALICE and ANNE FRANK: DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL.
Okay, I have some business to talk about before I get to my “actual” review. First, as you may or may not know, I had the amazing pleasure to meet Lauren Myracle at ALA Midwinter in Denver. She was there promoting this book, and she also spoke for the BBYA kids, and she is hilarious in real life. She also signed my ARC of this book, and she wrote, “Hiya, Robbie! Hope you like it + ARE VOCAL + OBNOCIOUS about it!!!” Well, vocal I shall be, but I am only obnoxious when there are flaws, and, well, there just ain’t many in this book. Remember to see Lauren talk about this book over here and see her blog over here.
lauren signed my book!
Ok, on to the review. The cover is, um…interesting. I know that the girls at BBYA and I were like “what’s the title?” but I must admit that once you read the book it makes an odd kind of sense. My Mom asked me why one of the ducks was backwards, and I told her that she would have to read the book.
The story is about Carly, who is fifteen. She goes away to camp the summer before her sophomore year, and she gets all enlightened and wants to be her own unique self when she returns to Buckhead, Alabama (I think it’s Alabama…). Problem is, when she gets home is turns out that her 14-year-old sister Anna has grown bodacious tatas. Yanno, buzzooms? Luscious cantaloupes? Boobs. And she’s pretty. And lets face it, the big sisters always wants to be better than the younger sister who wants to be as good as the older sister. So Anna and Carly go into this school year together, and Carly has her friend Roger to Dutch exchange student, who would like to be more, only Carly is interested in the new boy Cole, who gets her and her hippie- music (and Cat stevens is totally awesome, by the way), potato-print t-shirt way of life.
Of course, that’s not all. Since Anna and Carly go to Holy Redeemer, a private Catholic school, they have to deal with all sorts of stuff. Like The High Dive, which will determine whether they fail gym or not. Or how Carly’s friend Peyton is growing distant, but she has a new friend named Vonzelle who is also the only black student at Holy Redeemer. AND, will Carly be able to find her very own ironic love boodle, or will she be stuck with a can of Campell’s Cream of Jesus?
The entire book, while dealing with very important things, is hysterical. There were multiple times that I had to go and put on adult diapers because I was peeing my pants. Only that was figurative. Carly narrates in Lauren Myracle’s distinctive voice (although this is not an epistolary novel) and with her biting wit. Pop culture references are sprinkled throughout, but if you aren’t familier with The Beverly Hillbillies then we don’t want you around anyway.
The characters are all really good. I am not a teenage girl, but each of the main characters is believable enough to be real. I could picture walking down the halls with Peyton or watching Gilmore Girls with Vonzelle or even painting my nails with Anna…if I did such things. The parents of Carly and Anna are present in the novel and play an important role, but are not the focus of the story and of course they have sime problems dealing with their girls growing up, too. Finally, Cole, the sexy bad guy, is naturallly, hot and mysterious, and Roger, the Dutch prince charming is also hot in a different, sweet way.
I am not sure how much this novel will appeal to readers. Obviously, it won’t be an easy sell to guys and I doubt it will “speak” to many of them. And while I would assume that it would speak to many girls I really don’t know. However, I will gague some reactions to my booktalks and let y’all know. It’s funny enough that if it takes pushing it should be pushed, and once a few people read it it should be flying out of hands.
At times funny, at times sad, at times pee-your-pants funny, Peace, Love & Baby Ducks is another foray into the Life of the American Girl as told by Lauren Myracle. Now go buy some adult diapers. You’ll need them.(less)
Rooted deeply in Chinese and various Asian Mythologies, Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is an epic tale of a political struggle for power, a coming-of-age story...moreRooted deeply in Chinese and various Asian Mythologies, Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is an epic tale of a political struggle for power, a coming-of-age story, a parable on female empowerment, and so much more. Oh, and did I mention there's dragons?
The story revolves around Eon, a twelve-year-old candidate for Rat Dragoneye. Underneath, however, is Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who will be put to death if she is found out. Amidst Eon's inner and outer struggles is a sinister plan to unleash the mythical String of Pearls and rule the Empire.
The plot is really much more detailed and many-faceted than what I can relay in a review; it unfolds elegantly, layer by layer, until the gripping climax. Admittedly, I guessed a few key points much earlier than the characters, but that made it all the more exhilarating when the characters learned the secrets they needed. The ending is fairly abrupt, almost like the book and its conclusion were one book that was sliced in two to cut costs.
Eona, the main character, is thrust into a world that she is not only unaccustomed to, but also a world where women are not appreciated. The inner power of a woman is ignored by her society, but it just may be Eona's greatest weapon. Surrounding her are a strong cast of supporting characters. The villainous Lord Ido, Rat Dragoneye, has machinations to grab the throne for himself. Lady Dela, one of Eon's closest allies, is a Contraire, a man who lives as a woman; Contraires were revered and respected in Lady Dela's tribe but are foreign ans strange in the Empire. Ryko, Lady Dela's guardian, is Moon Shadow; that is, a eunuch. He is charged with protecting Eon, but is he prepared for what that means?
This novel was originally published for adults in Australia (as The Two Pearls of Wisdom), and it shows. There is violence as well as drugs and mention of eunuchs and concubines. The world is fully realized in every facet, ad younger readers may be unprepared. That said, older readers and adults will find the story riveting and engrossing. Definitely a fantasy, Eon should appeal to people fond of political stories, Asian-inspired stories, and perhaps a few science fiction or romance fans.
Overall, this novel is expertly crafted and researched, and it pays off. Allison Goodman has crafted an epic novel that ranks among such YA juggernauts as Graceling and Ella Enchanted.(less)
This "prequel" to Graceling, Kristin Cashore takes us to The Dells, a land removed from the Seven Kingdoms by a large, treacherous mountain range. In...moreThis "prequel" to Graceling, Kristin Cashore takes us to The Dells, a land removed from the Seven Kingdoms by a large, treacherous mountain range. In the Dells, there are monsters, animals with beautiful, exotic colouring and the ability to influence minds. Fire is the only remaining human-shaped Monster, complete with fire-red hair and exquisite beauty that captivates all who look on her. Times are not good in the Dells; war is coming, and there are poachers showing up who have a strange fogginess around their minds...
The thread that connects FIRE to GRACELING is rather tenuous, in my opinion. We see King Leck as he was as a child, but he is only mildly important to the plot and shows up fleetingly at best. This is not Leck's story, it is Fire's and the Dells'.
FIRE has everything one expects from Cashore: a strong female protagonist with a power, an unlikely romance, spies, fighting, revelations, and more. I was certainly not disappointed, and Ms. Cashore is certainly not a one-hit-wonder.
The characters are the driving force behind this novel, and as such they are numerous, coloured, ad fully drawn. Fire is an exquisite heroine, who has to deal with not only the burdens faced by the other characters but also her own demons, the morals behind using her power, her ability to love, and more. Other characters such as Prince Brigan, Archer, and Clara, who have large roles, are well defined with their own personalities, while minor characters such as Lord Brocker, Queen Roen, or Mila, while a bit generic, have things that make them stand out or secrets to be revealed.
Pacing was great, foreshadowing was nice. Twists were there, some easy to guess and others not as much so, but not too many twists. One thing that I liked, is that while GRACELING took place mostly in the mucketty-muck, FIRE takes place mostly in a castle.
FIRE is readable without any previous knowledge of GRACELING, however, if you do read FIRE first, GRACELING will be ruined in my opinion.
This book spoke very intimately to me. There were times when it seemed exactly like me and my life, and other times when it was nothing like me or my...moreThis book spoke very intimately to me. There were times when it seemed exactly like me and my life, and other times when it was nothing like me or my life at all. Either way, it struck very close to home, and I don't feel as though my review will be particularly objective, but I totally loved this book.
The book is very much a coming-of-age story. It is about Dade Hamilton's last summer before college. Life in his sleepy little Iowa town is stifling, and when he meets bad-boy Alex Kincaid, his whole world is thrown into orbit.
The book is told from inside Dade's head, and we see almost everything that Dade thinks, even when his thoughts are unsure or contradictory. We see his dreams, hopes, perceptions, etc. The other characters are developed, but this is Dade's story, and sometimes it feels as though the other characters aren't very important because, well, they aren't.
I can't say that nothing happens in this book, because in a way earth-shattering things do in fact happen. However, most of it is internal, realization of who he is, etc. The book is not fast paced or packed with action, so it probably won't appeal to most people who don't read issues or GLBTQ fiction, and it certainly will not appeal to non-readers.(less)
In this "companion" to TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith brings us again into a world with Vampires (Eternals), Werebeasts (Shifters), and intrigue. Oh...moreIn this "companion" to TANTALIZE, Cynthia Leitich Smith brings us again into a world with Vampires (Eternals), Werebeasts (Shifters), and intrigue. Oh, and sexy Guardian Angels (GAs). It is set in the same alternate-real-world of TANTALIZE, and it begins in Dallas, but the similarities end there.
The story follows Zachary, a guardian angel, and Miranda, his charge. When Zachary intervenes where he shouldn't, Miranda gets chosen by The Dracula (current ruling Eternal) to be the new Dragon Princess. Now, stripped of his powers, it is up to Zachary to save Miranda's soul and destroy The Dracula. But does an Eternal have a soul to save? And what about the feelings that are developing between him and Miranda?
The story is told in alternating point of views, with occasional snippets of media thrown in for a broader perspective. There is a rather large time-skip at the beginning that may feel disconcerting at first, but it really is necessary to tell the story and it isn't too bad after awhile.
The characters are a strong point of the book. Zachary has questions over morality, life and the nature of heaven, while Miranda has conflicting ideas about her place in the world. Some of the supporting characters are painted in fairly broad strokes, but some, such as cook Nora, have added depth. Radford, The Dracula, is amusing and frightening at the same time,no easy feat.
The story is certainly interesting. Can an Angel and a Vampire fall in love? This, mixed in with the suspense and action of Zachary's "mission", make for a multi-faceted read with something for everyone.
Eternal is a definite page-turner with Vampires, Angels, Werebeasts, romance, intrigue, double-crossing, action, and suspense. Just read it already!
The House of Night series just keeps getting better. In Untamed, the series comes into its own and a full arc becomes apparent.
Mild spoilers below.
We...moreThe House of Night series just keeps getting better. In Untamed, the series comes into its own and a full arc becomes apparent.
Mild spoilers below.
Well, crap. As if having an undead-dead best friend wasn't weird enough, now Zoey has no boyfriends instead of three and her friends are having a hard time trusting her. Add to that the High Priestess of All Vamps Shekinah, who is visiting the House of Night, and the new boy Stark, and Zoey's hands are full. Well, maybe she doesn't have no boyfriends, since Erik is back at the House of Night and teaching Drama. Oh, and she has an instant connection to Stark.
In this book the "real evil" of the series comes out in the form of Kalona and the Queen Tsi Sgili. The legends behind these characters are rich and spooky, and definitely sound like real legends. The book comes to a heart-pounding climax and then our whole world is thrown into uncertainty.
The House of Night series has, indeed, come Untamed and grown into a woman. Kepp reading, I have a feeling the ebst is yet to come.(less)
Review: Marked (House of Night) *Minor Spoilers* November 13th, 2008 by Robbie
Marked (House of Night book 1)
By P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
* Paperback: 32...moreReview: Marked (House of Night) *Minor Spoilers* November 13th, 2008 by Robbie
Marked (House of Night book 1)
By P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
* Paperback: 320 pages * Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; 1st edition (May 1, 2007) * Language: English * ISBN-10: 0312360266
Let me start off by saying that at last year’s ALA Midwinter Talia from Macmillan gave me a copy of this book. And it sat on my shelf for nine months because I’m not as big into vampires as it would seem and there were other books that were just more interesting-sounding. Anyway, I found out that I get to go to a breakfast meet-n-greet with the Casts in January and I figured I’d better read their series. XD Boy, was I missing out. There are some minor spoilers for the first book in here.
The story revolved around Zoey Montgomery/Redbird, a girl with a strong tie to her Cherokee heritage through her grandmother. Well, one day Zoey is Marked to become a Vampyre and must go to the House of Night to complete the Change or die. Only it turns out that the Goddess Nyx made Zoey special in some way, and now she has to take on not only the bitch of the school, Aphrodite, but also scary ghost thingies and mature powers that she is not ready to deal with.
The story is sort of about a vampyre boarding school, but it’s more about regular kids at a regular school that just happens to be for fledgling vampyres. This is masterful, as being vampyres is not the characters’ defining trait and allows them to be fully realistic. The story is character driven, and all the characters have motivations and reasons for everything they do. The climax seems a little rushed, but that is obviously because it is a lead-in for the next book, so there are questions unanswered and a larger plot arc. I’ll definitely keep reading to see what happens.
Zoey is a great heroine, and she makes a journey and transformation throughout the novel, from shy and quiet to braver and willing to let her friends help her. She learns a lesson at the end about friendship that will serve her well throughout the rest of her journey. Her friends are a colorful bunch, raging from Stevie Rae, the girl with the southern accent; to the twins who aren’t twins; to Damien, the gay vampyre. There’s also Neferet, the High Priestess of Nyx, who I’ll talk about in a bit. Aphrodite is truly malodorous, and I love to hate her; Erik Night is a great guy character for Zoey, although he seems a little underdeveloped and I’d like to know more about him.
One thing about the plot that struck me as odd, was when Aprodite was having a vision in front of Neferet and she screamed when she realized who she was looking at. It makes me wonder about the future of the story and undermines my trust in Neferet, which is kind of odd seeing as how she is set up to be the adult mentor and calming presence in the novel. We shall see.
There’s a light amount of sexual reference and swearing, and a little nod to the classic elements that some will view as evil witchcraft or whatever, but I think that the novel is appropriate for grades 7+, dependent upon the maturity of the reader.
In all, an excellent book with great characterrs, story, surprises, and vampyres.