4.5 out of 5 stars Finally, a well-written angel series! Clara's physical appearance, the wings, the flying, the "glory"--make angels sound impossibly4.5 out of 5 stars Finally, a well-written angel series! Clara's physical appearance, the wings, the flying, the "glory"--make angels sound impossibly beautiful. The descriptions are so well done that you can really picture and feel what it would like to be in the presence of one. The supernatural aspects are well-balanced by a solid grounding in Clara's day to day life as a teenager with excellent descriptions of school projects, relationships with her friends and her brother, and especially her conflicted relationship with her extraordinary mother.
The characters are well-developed and there's terrific courtship that is blessedly normal and crazy appealing. I appreciate the unusual choice to wait until much later in the book to get things really started on the dating front, as you've already gotten to know Clara pretty well by this point *and* it's in the right context of her life. Important and fulfilling for sure, but not the be-all and end-all of her life, as so often happens in YA books. Once it comes, however, it's very sweet and very convincing.
I did find the beginning of the book a little disjointed, and there were a few sections that could have used smoother transitions, but overall it's really terrific. It's easy to understand Clara's conflict and it's easy to like Clara, who has unearthly perfections but who is also just trying to find her way in life. An excellent start to a what should be an excellent series.
**Our Cynthia Hand Interview, where she addresses many of the questions that arise from this series is here and here. Enjoy!**
There aren't words enoug**Our Cynthia Hand Interview, where she addresses many of the questions that arise from this series is here and here. Enjoy!**
There aren't words enough to express how gorgeous this book is. Fans of the Unearthly who might have worried whether Cynthia Hand could deliver a second installment that would do justice to the story need worry no longer. This sequel lives up to and exceeds every expectation I had for it, and I only wish I could hand this book to every single would-be author who is even considering writing a YA paranormal romance. Because this is the template for what every teen romance/sophomore/angel book should aspire to be.
As the story opens, Clara is still recovering from the fire in which she went against her "purpose" as a part-angel in order to follow her heart. Her brother Jeffrey is still acting strange, Angela is helping Clara to test her powers, and eventually, we are introduced to an important congregation of angels and learn more about their purpose on earth. Best of all, we get some fabulous time with Tucker as he and Clara further enjoy what has to be one of the sweetest and truest young adult romances ever put to page. I could not stop smiling as I was reading the story, because their relationship is just so warm and happy and perfect. I love that, in the middle of all of Clara's bigger-than-life abilities and problems, she and Tucker still have such an amazing time together doing such blessedly normal and human things.
We all knew what was coming next, though, right? Christian was such an attractive enigma throughout so much of the first book that I was really hoping we'd get to know him better in this one. And while I dreaded the thought of this turning into a horrible love triangle situation that would devastate everyone while dishonoring them as well, I hoped against hope that the author would handle this tricky situation with as much honesty and grace as possible. And boy, did she ever come through. I am a huge fan of Tucker's, but Cynthia Hand somehow does the impossible and shows us how the flicker of friendship between Christian and Clara grows incrementally stronger everyday. By the end of the book, he has shown himself to be a rock-steady, understanding, and fun presence in Clara's life (view spoiler)[not to mention an incredibly hot one :D (hide spoiler)], and it's pretty near impossible not to fall in love with him in a pretty deep and meaningful way as well.
This book made me so very happy in so many ways, and there are unbelievably beautiful angel moments in it, with descriptions of gorgeous feathered wings, flying, and luminous "glory" that are just marvelous. I've always appreciated the wry honesty and warmth with which the relationship between Clara and her mother was written, and here we discover so much more about her as a mother, as an angel, and as a person in a way that is incredibly touching. Clara learns a great deal about her family and about herself in this novel, and her deepening strength and maturity combined with her funny, sensitive narrative only made me love her further. I also enjoyed the distinctly outdoorsy feel of the mountains in this book, the presence of many of the adults, and the nuanced portrayal of the bad guy, as well as the thoughtfully considered mentions of angel lore, religion, and references to Paradise Lost. Oh--and big, big bonus points for a prom scene that didn't make me want to do violence!
But this book also broke my heart in more ways than one. There is an exquisite tenderness to this story that I never could have imagined, and while I think some elements of it may upset some fans, I hope readers will go into it with an open mind and an open heart. I had many theories and opinions and hopes going into it, and I can honestly say that coming out of it, all of that has changed--and I am firmly convinced that it is for the better. I am tremendously moved and inspired by this story, and it's a testament to Cynthia Hand's pitch-perfect writing that we are so gently eased into new realizations and growth in a way that feels so right and so emotionally true.
My heart was aching when I turned the last page. But it was also overflowing with love and deep appreciation for the splendid journey that I didn't even know I wanted to go on. After reading a second fantastic YA book from this author, I have absolute faith in Cynthia Hand, and I am so looking forward to seeing where she will take us next.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
P.S. I am dying to discuss the specifics of what happens in this book in the comments below, so please, tell me what you think of where this story went in spoiler tags! I can't keep this to myself any longer. Please be aware that the spoilers tagged in the comments are REAL, so please don't click if you haven't read the book yet! But the spoilers in the review are all in good fun, and safe to click. ;)
Also, a spoiler for people who were worried about Midas the horse in the last book: (view spoiler)[They're still looking for him in the beginning of this one. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wish I could go on a date in the 50s, in no small part because Stan Crandall is ever so dreamy. If you haven't met him yet, and you have a weaknessI wish I could go on a date in the 50s, in no small part because Stan Crandall is ever so dreamy. If you haven't met him yet, and you have a weakness for nice boys with a winning grin, you really should swing by to pick him up for your next book date!
Stan is the object of affection in Fifteen, and he has a golden tan, green eyes, brown hair with a dip in it, and a sincere smile. Jane Purdy meets him one summer afternoon when he saves her from a babysitting disaster, and though he asks her out shortly afterwards, she's never quite sure of herself when it comes to their relationship. Why should a popular boy like that like her anyway, when there are smooth girls like Marcy Stokes around? With her casually streaked blonde hair, Marcy is the "cashmere sweater type" who always has a way of making Jane feel completely out of place.
Remember when boys helped girls with their coats, when it was scandalous not to wear stockings, when high schools sponsored steak bakes, and when the triple feature was followed by a trip to the local soda shop? No? Well, I don't either, but I get to pretend I'm living in the 50s every time I reread one of Beverly Cleary's teen romances. She's more well known for her beloved middle grade books, but she brings the same sort of warmth and wisdom to her YA novels as well. While some of the customs and details are charmingly dated, the themes of self-discovery and heartbreak are timeless and, I daresay, universal.
After all these years, this book still feels so honest and engaging to me, and is such a great story about making the transition between childhood and adulthood. Jane tries her best to deal with her many uncertainties, from school to unfamiliar cultural experiences to her dating woes, and I feel such sympathy for her wistfulness at feeling left out of something and the small fibs she tells when she's trying to be sophisticated. And as liberated and independent as women are supposed to be now, I can't imagine there is a girl out there who doesn't identify with Jane's thrill at the prospect of beach picnics and swimming parties on Stan's arm. The author also does a wonderful job of creating a familiar sense of time and place, whether it's Jane's comfortably worn in home with her parents or a sitting on a rock by the river on a date.
The golden age of America depicted in Beverly Cleary's novels is idyllic and perhaps idealized, with nuclear families and strong moral values taking center stage. But that is exactly what I like so much about them. I love the sweetness and simplicity of this escapism, and I love Fifteen in particular because it's wonderful to read stories about ordinary girls like Jane--and how her attraction to Stan is mostly based on the fact that he's nice. How novel is that? Very much so, in these jaded times.
Stan Crandall may not be be the first guy teenage girls think of anymore when they fantasize about swoon-worthy boys. But he's welcome to stop by and take me for a ride in his powder blue coupé anytime.
Random Side Note
Incidentally, if you ever decide to try making a chocolate coke float, which is Jane's drink of choice at Nibley's Confectionery and Soda Fountain, I'd recommend using the usual paper-wrapped plastic straw as opposed to the paper ones that are so popular these days. The striped paper one I used looks pretty in the photo, but it got soggy before I'd even finished drinking it! And I didn't even have the distraction of sitting across the table from a cute boy. (view spoiler)[Damn it! (hide spoiler)]
Our March discussion book is The Luckiest Girl! If you've never read Beverly Cleary's YA, this is an excellent place to start.
Discussion Date: Friday,Our March discussion book is The Luckiest Girl! If you've never read Beverly Cleary's YA, this is an excellent place to start.
Discussion Date: Friday, March 28th Hashtag: #tmgreadalong
Discussion takes place at The Midnight Garden on that date. Tweet along as you read on Twitter!
These retro reads are so wonderfully full of quiet drama–each story is about a girl in high school who is learning to be comfortable with herself, and in a way I feel as though these “contemporary” romances were the Sarah Dessen books of their day, in that nothing happens in them and yet everything happens at the same time.
I wrote a review of Fifteen if you're curious as to what you can expect, but I think The Luckiest Girl is the more emotional and mature book–and probably the one that contemporary readers will relate to most. (I'd recommend trying out the Amazon preview as well. If you like the sample, you'll love the book.)
But for now, my initial reaction to the first book remains below. It's fascinating to see this society that the author created.
2.5 stars I really wanted to like this book, but holy moly. I try very hard not to let my opinion be colored when fictional characters make choices I wouldn't necessarily make, but...I just can't do that in this case. The offhand way gang rape is handled, the dismissive attitude towards an abuse victim, and the sudden introduction of an inconceivable love interest (turning it into a triangle) late in the book left me cold. The action scenes and interesting premise aren't nearly enough to make up for a heroine who is physically extremely capable, but unfortunately, someone who also seems to be emotionally empty....more
**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visibl**Please be aware that the spoilers in this review are real, so don't click on them unless you've read the book. There are mild spoilers in the visible text, but they're not anything that you haven't already guessed if you're already a fan of the series. And since three people have done this already, please DO NOT discuss spoilers in this book without spoiler-tagging your comments since you will absolutely ruin the book for people who haven't read the book yet. If you don't know how to do this, please learn before commenting.**
I absolutely LOVED the first two Hex Hall novels. There are few authors whose books I pounce on at midnight the day of release and stay up all night reading, so that should give you an idea of how much I love Sophie, Jenna, Archer, and Cal.
The relationship between Sophie and Jenna is still fantastic, and that was probably my favorite part of this book. Their worry for each other, their banter, etc, are all familiar and funny and a welcome interlude whenever they're together. There is also a plot line involving (view spoiler)[demon kids Nick and Daisy that pulled at my heartstrings a bit. (hide spoiler)]
I'm sorry to say that this turned out to be my least favorite book in the series, however. The action zips back and forth between a lot of locations and the various overlapping storylines felt rather jumbled, which is problematic even if you've already guessed many of the big secrets back when you were reading Demonglass. I had a hard time staying engaged in the story, especially since there were moments that seemed to lend themselves to a bigger emotional punch (view spoiler)[such as the revelation that her mom is a Brannick, the early interactions with Cal, seeing her father again, Archer being tortured, etc (hide spoiler)] than were portrayed. I also got a little tired of Elodie popping up again and again (view spoiler)[and possessing Sophie's body (hide spoiler)] and the way Sophie's magic came and went at pretty convenient moments.
My two biggest issues with the book, however, were:
1. (view spoiler)[Sophie kissing Cal very soon after the book begins, before she even knows if something's happened to Archer. I'm not satisfied with the amount of guilt she felt after Archer pops up again, and in fact, she never even tells him about that particular kiss. Then Elodie later uses Sophie's body to kiss Cal again to torture Archer! Both scenarios just seemed very convoluted and forced to me, and they felt very different from the sunny nature of the previous books. (hide spoiler)]
2. DO NOT CLICK THIS if you haven't read the book. Seriously. Don't do it. (view spoiler)[Cal's death. And the precious little amount of time spent mourning him. Please give me a hug. :( (hide spoiler)] Not only did that make me extremely sad, but it felt so unnecessary.
Many of the elements I enjoyed so much about the previous books just felt different here. It's definitely still a funny book, but there's so much going on that the humor doesn't flow quite as smoothly. The parental relationships, always one of the stronger parts of the Hex Hall and Demonglass, were largely absent here as well. And most of all, there's very little time spent with Archer or Cal. What's there relies a tremendous amount on your past knowledge of Sophie's intimacy with them, and there aren't nearly enough meaningful moments between them for my taste. (view spoiler)[Okay, and not nearly enough make out scenes, either! (hide spoiler)] Don't get me wrong, there are some, but they didn't seem as urgent and charged as the ones in the previous books.
Maybe it's just me? I'm really sad to feel this way about the ending of a series I love so much. I'm very curious to see what my fellow Sophie fans think of this one, though. I liked this book overall, but the surprises that this book offered were just not the kind that I really enjoyed.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I've read many accounts of crimes that are as horrible as (and sometimes even more horrible than) the terrible things that happen in this book, both iI've read many accounts of crimes that are as horrible as (and sometimes even more horrible than) the terrible things that happen in this book, both in terms of real-life non-fiction crimes and in visceral thrillers. The voyeuristic, no-accountability POV in which this story was presented, however, relegates it to nothing more than straight out, uninspired shlock horror. Even then, the most gruesome parts are skated over and related in such a no-frills way that the book doesn't even succeed in being a genuine shock to your emotions, except in the most clinical of ways.
More than anything else, it is distasteful that the most authentically written aspect of the book seems to be the narrator's feelings of lust and shame towards the victims (as well as some delusions of empowerment), and that so little time was spent exploring any other emotion--and that includes cruelty, hate, entitlement, fear, pity, and remorse. When I read violent fiction, I'm not at all a fan of torture porn for the sake of it--and to me, neither the writing nor the story in this book were enough to make it any more than that. ...more
My favorite of the Little House books from start to finish, but especially the chapter where Ma and Pa go aMy annual re-read, this time with Heidi! :)
My favorite of the Little House books from start to finish, but especially the chapter where Ma and Pa go away for a week and the house falls into disarray as the children eat cake, slice watermelon, blacken the parlor wall, and most importantly, use up all the sugar making ice cream. Still no other author has ever captured the life of pioneers in quite this way, and the good eats will make your mouth water!...more
This review is spoiler-free, and safe even for those who haven't read the first two books in the series.
Forget everything you ever assumed about scienThis review is spoiler-free, and safe even for those who haven't read the first two books in the series.
Forget everything you ever assumed about science fiction novels or zombie thrillers: the Newsflesh trilogy defies all expectations. The story that began with a turbulent political campaign in a post-apocalyptic Feed escalates here as the blogger journalists from After the End of Times continue their quest to uncover the truth behind the deadly Kellis-Amberlee virus that has decimated civilization--one that is now mutating and spreading faster than ever before. The breakneck action and intrigue in Blackout is intense as a dangerous rescue mission, disease-carrying mosquitoes, zombie bears, tangled family drama, and a mysterious patient known as Subject 7B all complicate what is already hell on earth.
It's funny that my favorite zombie series actually has the least amount of zombie action in it, but Newsflesh hasn't ever been about the undead anyway--it's about the human response to it. As with The Reapers Are the Angels and Warm Bodies, this series is fascinating to me because it explores the idea of personal integrity within extreme circumstances. What would you do when the world ends? If you're Shaun and Georgia Mason, adopted siblings whose closeness forms an unbreakable team, you lead your fellow bloggers into an unrelenting search for truth--no matter what the cost. Or at least, that's how their story began. But now that the stakes are higher than they've ever been and those they love most are at risk, the focus has shifted to a very human need to hold onto the connections that matter most.
Blackout seamlessly combines medical thriller, political intrigue, and pulse-pounding action sequences with unforgettable human drama. How you feel about this series will very much depend on how you feel about the characters in general--if you love the Masons, Alaric, Becks, Mahir, and Maggie, you'll most likely have a fantastic time with Newsflesh. It doesn't mean the characters are perfect, of course; Shaun in particular is mourning a huge loss, and his reckless, desperate behavior in the second book caused a lot of criticism from a lot of readers. For me, I felt his pain so keenly, however, that his torment became mine--and I understood, too, the unconventional, defiant ways in which he grasped for some semblance of happiness as the world around him was destroyed. In books and in real life, I respond very strongly to loyalty, honesty, and the determination to do what's right. Shaun and Georgia, as well as their superbly realized supporting cast, embody those traits in a big way. Because they also are slammed with unbelievable suffering throughout these books that require a brutal amount of self-sacrifice, it isn't any wonder that I feel such fiercely protective love for them, as well as for the ideals they represent.
The author's writing gets better and better in each book, with well-researched scientific dilemmas and brilliant recaps that engage the reader without resorting to long info-dumps. Her brisk, matter-of-fact style of writing suits the story perfectly, and the sophisticated plot is exceptionally well-paced, with shifts from furious action to moments of stark stillness and contemplation handled beautifully. Whether we're getting worked up over red herrings, watching someone facing her own mortality, or respectfully acknowledging fallen comrades, the emotional pitch throughout the book felt utterly right, which is something that is very hard to pull off when there are so many ethical issues at stake.
A few random thoughts with REAL spoilers, because there's no other way to discuss them:
(view spoiler)[Subject 7B's realization of who and what she is is totally kickass. I loved how very true to her character this whole scenario was, and how believably all the cloning issues were integrated with our human need to recognize this person.
The scenes where 7B looks on the 8s made me really sad. :(
I'm so glad that one of the major plot points wasn't rescuing Georgia, because I cannot imagine any situation less likely to happen. The way she escapes and the way everyone reacts to seeing her was pitch-perfect.
I am SO happy to have Georgia back. Sheesh, I missed her so much! And it's nice to have a break from all the crazy of being in Shaun's head, hah.
I'm glad that Shaun and Georgia got to ride off into the sunset a bit, though I'm still sad for the brave, original Georgia who died in such a devastating way.
There were certainly some plot lines that I saw coming, and although I'm a little surprised that we got a HEA, obviously this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book at all. The way it was handled felt just right. (hide spoiler)]
I don't know that I've ever read another series where the emotion it evoked was so intense--Feed left me crying so hard I could hardly see the keyboard, Deadline had me literally whimpering with pain in the middle of the night, and Blackout made me want to scream with excitement and agony and worry all at once. If you'd told me that a science fiction trilogy with zombies could be so searingly emotional or feel so incredibly personal, I'd have told you it was impossible. And I've never been happier to be proven wrong. I know most true fans of this series will race through the pages just like I did, with the same urgency and dread and excitement.
While I'm so sad that this particular story is over (although there are two more Newsflesh novellas coming this year) and I dearly wish they could all turn into zombies so this story could live on forever, I'm happy with the way the story ended. I'm sure Mira Grant's new forthcoming novels Parasitology and Symbiogenesis will be absolutely spectacular.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
P.S. For more proof of the power of Mira Grant's writing, read the alternate ending to FEED, Fed, at the bottom of the review on our blog which is ONLY safe for those who have already read the first book. Holy frak, that woman is an evil genius. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 stars I have only read one Sara Zarr book before this one, 2011's How to Save a Life, and as I read Sweethearts all I could think about was how mu3.5 stars I have only read one Sara Zarr book before this one, 2011's How to Save a Life, and as I read Sweethearts all I could think about was how much the author has grown as a writer in the three years since this one was written. I love the theme of this book overall, which explores the bittersweetness of people coming in and out of your life; I didn't even mind that we don't learn as many details about what happened to Cameron back in the past as we might've hoped. Or that the main character spends so much of the novel frozen in time.
What kept me from enjoying this more than many of my friends have, however, is that emotional urgency and truth often seemed to be secondary to the writing style. I think the structure of alternating back and forth, and the cliffhangers that purposefully were staged because of that, just left me feeling too jumbled and disjointed. Especially since it's fairly easy to guess what's going on, and there are only so many times you can chop up one very important anecdote/flashback without leaving the reader frustrated.
Jenna herself also felt a little unreal to me. While I thought the author did a great job with writing a believable character who feels out of place even though she has everything she thought she'd ever wanted (I especially liked the moment when she equates sex with her boyfriend with her fixation on food--enjoyable, but something that she also wished were over so she could move on with her life), it was stretches believability to me that Jenna was so self-aware that she could pinpoint Cameron's departure as the catalyst for her changing herself and her relationship with her mom, and that that became such a driving force in her life. Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware of how strongly certain relationships can pull at you, particularly childhood ones. But Jenna seemed to think of so little else and was such a stranger in her own land that it felt very odd and not entirely realistic.
I really loved Steph, however, and the note of truth in that friendship. And Cameron's letter and the unresolved feelings that lie there felt very real. I just wish I felt as strongly connected to the overall plot of the story, although I'm still very much looking forward to this author's next book. So overall, I did like it, though I didn't quite love it the way I thought I would....more
3.5 stars The story is back on track after the messy affairs in book two, though I didn't enjoy this quite as much as book one. Although there are int3.5 stars The story is back on track after the messy affairs in book two, though I didn't enjoy this quite as much as book one. Although there are interesting developments, some genuine surprises, and all the icky scenarios of the last book are a thing of the past, I think I just disengaged myself too much from the story to really enjoy this one. An overall satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, however. I just kind of wish book two didn't exist....more
I've pushed through to 100 pages, but I just can't go on. For all its braininess, this book feels very juvenile to me, except that girls in most middlI've pushed through to 100 pages, but I just can't go on. For all its braininess, this book feels very juvenile to me, except that girls in most middle grade books are rarely this boy-crazy--and few of them have so little else going on their lives.
Here are some things that make it feel very young to me:
--the story seems to be centered around a "caper" in which Frankie tries to infiltrate a secret boys club --three boys who don't recognize Frankie after her body develops (or pretend not to, anyway) --a full page about boogers --occasional overuse of exclamation points --and above all else, the writing style
Written in the third person with an occasional interruption by some unknown narrator, it's all done in arch prose that strives very hard to be humorous and clever without being very smart. Or deep. Or interesting. At least to me, because this book certainly has its share of fans.
I'll leave you with just one paragraph so you can decide whether this writing floats your boat and if you want to read any further:
Most young women, when confronted with the peculiarly male nature of certain social events--usually those incorporating beer or other substances guaranteed to kill off brain cells, and often involving either the freezing-cold outdoors or the near-suffocating heat of a filthy dorm room, but which can also, in more intellectual circles, include the watching of boring Russian films--will react in one of three ways.
Honestly, the whole premise of this felt like a brain candy book disguised as something much more smart or meaningful. Boys aren't paying attention to you? Who cares? Not me.
I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.
So begins the very first good YA mermaid novel I've ever r3.5 stars
I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.
So begins the very first good YA mermaid novel I've ever read--and hooray, they're eeeevil, too! (view spoiler)[I seem to have started a trend in describing this book this way. (hide spoiler)] After trudging through so many books with insipid mermaids or ones that barely qualified as mermaids, it's so great to read a story in which sea creatures have purpose. And deadly intent. And tails. These merpeople aren't drawn to kill people just for sport, but also because they crave the energy harvested from positive human emotions.
One of the things I find most appealing about the idea of mermaids in literature is that I would love to know what it feels like to swim swiftly and endlessly through deep oceans. What's it like to live under the sea? And if you're part-fish, where does your aquatic side end and your human side begin? That's an aspect I thought was touched on in a very nice way in this book. Migration patterns, animal instinct, the pure physicality of painful transformation, all of these provided an immersive and believable mermaidy experience in a way that I hadn't come across before.
The urge to migrate was irresistible. Far more powerful than the urge to kill. With each rise and fall of the moon, with each turn of the tide, it grew more impossible to ignore.
I also liked the male POV, the push and pull of attraction/repulsion you feel for Calder and his sisters, their need to be near water, and the author's descriptive writing style. I was less engrossed in the human and emotional side of the story, however, including the relationship with perfectly-fine but fairly ordinary Lily, the somewhat flat secondary characters, and the romance. The central mystery/driving plot lines involving a murder in Calder's family and his need to take revenge could have been more streamlined as well--and perhaps the twists and turns hidden a bit better.
I wasn't bothered, however, by a few aspects that will probably drive some readers crazy, including Calder's hunting of his prey, driven by both instinct and human emotion, or something a bit squickier--(view spoiler)[Calder admits to falling into his siren sister's hypnotic lure and later, she goes a little batshit crazy in pouring out her feelings for him (hide spoiler)]--primarily because I don't think it was handled in an tasteless way, and there is some validity in its origin. Between their cruel, mocking games, careless values, and animal nature, it's not entirely unexpected. I think the author also deserves big credit for the gutsiness in her decision to keep her mercreatures true to themselves, even if it meant that the reader is shocked or turned off by their actions.
It seems that those who have had more scornful reactions to this book are readers who don't seem to read very many mermaid books, so I'd recommend this one specifically for those who love them or those who read a lot of YA paranormal romance. I love the idea of beauty and danger combined in a creature that humans can't seem to resist, so I happened to like this one a lot! And I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes next.
This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
She Reads By the Seashore
Here are a couple of photos I snapped at the beach in January, by the way! We found all kinds of sand dollars and pretty shells that afternoon, so it felt like a pretty perfect day to be reading this book.
Terrific. Loved the first half of the book, a little less engaged by the second, overly "sciency" half, when story took a back seat to explanation.
TheTerrific. Loved the first half of the book, a little less engaged by the second, overly "sciency" half, when story took a back seat to explanation.
The Blackstone Audiobooks version read by Robertson Dean is very engaging, by the way. I'm so horribly picky about narrators (It's not an exaggeration to say that I probably give up on roughly 90% of the audiobooks I try), but I loved this actor's voice and passionately measured reading style. And I am immensely fond of the rich, flavorful way that he says the word "garlic."...more