Bry's Reviews > Meridian

Meridian by Amber Kizer
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Dec 06, 11

bookshelves: 2010, urban-fantasy, young-adult
Read from June 13 to 16, 2010

All those other YA books that claimed to be dark were sadly lacking (I'm looking at you Fallenand Hush, Hush), but this book - this is dark and delicious in every sense of the words.

Meridian is a Fenestra, a being who helps guide the souls of the dead into the afterlife so that they are not reincarnated and are able to meet up with their loved ones again on the other side. This is a family trait that passes down through the bloodlines but is not present in every generation. Her 16th birthday marks when her powers begin in earnest, and from that day on she and her loved ones are in danger from the Aternocti, beings who want to pass the soul onto Hell, and destroy the Fenestra's.

The characters in this book were all fairly two dimensional but still highly enjoyable. Meridian spends most of the book in confusion and fear (understandable since she never understood what she was and is being hunted). Her life growing up was hard on her, she had no friends, people thought she was some kind of witch as animals and insects were always dying around her. She thinks she is the cause of the deaths and that people should fear her. So she never seeks out friends or love and accepts that those things are just not for her. I thought she should have asked more questions about all of this, but was always just completely accepting. Meridian was allowed to begin the book as a scared child and then grow into strong willed young woman. Tens, her Protector and love interest, is loyal, brave, and consistently trying to help her. Their relationship is totally rushed and not fleshed out since it was expected by one due to his gifts and completely overwhelmed the other who was always alone and felt unworthy of love. And again you have a YA book where the characters are 16 and 18, but are pure with no real urges or interludes between them. Auntie was by far the best character in the book. The woman was 106 years old!! Yet still a fighter, a teacher, and a protector. She was strong, sweet, and wise. Every scene she was in had much deeper emotions and was just more memorable. At only 300 pages the author could have written more to flesh out the main characters a bit more, but really I didn't think that it detracted from the story too much.

A fair warning...the main villain passes himself off as a evangelist preacher who consistently quotes the most violent and intolerable passages from the Bible. He uses Christianity as a weapon to ostracize 'non-believers' (i.e. people who weren't fanatic enough), condemn harassment and vandalism, and allow the deaths of innocent children. The quotes from the Bible are marked and identified at the back of the book, and are used to justify his evil actions. I say this as a warning because I could see people being offended by the radical portrayal of the religion in this book. The crazy fanaticism was even uncomfortable to read at times as I wanted to slap people senseless to shock them awake and realize the consequences of their actions. I wasn't offended or anything but it was shocking to read as I could seriously see this happening, which was especially terrifying.

The climax could have also been elaborated on a bit. It wasn't that it was anti-climactic but it could have been much more dramatic. It was as if it was almost too easy on the heroine. She has to makes some insane choices but there isn't much action. Not to mention how things *mysteriously* got fixed with no explanation.

I also loved the inclusion of quilting (being a quilter myself) as a theme representing the soul's lives. Auntie would make quilts to represent the people she helped cross, and it was her outlet for dealing with the consequences of helping them. There was one passage I particularly liked and want to share. "Each stitch was a heartbeat, a breath; each seam an experience, a lesson learned. Each piece of fabric was a feeling, a like, a dislike, a pain, happiness. Combined, they build a life, a picture of a life anyway, in bits and pieces. Like memories, they have no linear logic, but they resonate. You can tell a lot about a person by the quilt Auntie made for them after they died."

Overall, the take on death was original, dark, and well thought out. All the emotions and fears that surround death were brought up, discussed, examined, and left for the reader to make their own personal conclusions about. I was definitely pleasantly surprised that it was so good after all the YA dribble I have read lately. Just goes to show you to ignore marketing as the mass marketed books like Fallen, Shiver, and Hush, Hush were so bad, yet the unknown books like this one and The Splendor Falls was wonderful.

Something odd about the cover of the book released in Turkey Amy Lee from Evanescence as the cover model! Weird!

*********

Here's the prologue from the book. From the first sentence onwards I was completely hooked.

Prologue

The first creatures to seek me were the insects; my parents cleaned the bassinet free of dead ants the morning after they brought me home from the hospital. My first word was “dead.”

At age four, when I stepped out of bed and popped a giant toad like a water balloon, I never again turned any lights off.
For all of my sixth year, I slept sitting up thinking I’d spot the dying coming toward me.

There were times when it felt like my insides were full of broken glass, times when the souls of the animals passing through me felt too big, too much. I’d open my eyes in the morning and peer into the glassy gaze of a mouse on my pillow. Death never became my comfortable companion.

I didn’t have nightmares about monsters; I wasn’t afraid of a thing in my closet. In fact, there were many times when I wished they, the dying, would hide under my bed instead of burrowing into the pile of stuffed animals by my head.

My mother hugged me, told me I was special. I’d like to think my parents weren’t revolted by me. But I’ll never forget the feelings apparent in the glances they exchanged over my head. Worry. Fear. Repulsion. Concern.

My first chore was to clean up the carcasses. My second was to make the bed. I’d don rubber gloves and pick the dead up. My hands grew callused from digging so many graves. We ran out of room in the backyard by my fourteenth birthday. When I was too ill to do it, my dad stepped in and removed them, but it was always with thinly veiled disgust.

I trembled my way through the days, constantly sleep deprived, chronically ill. My stomach always hurt. Low-grade headaches constantly thumped a slow tempo. Doctors labeled me a hypochondriac, or worse—still they never found causes for the symptoms. The pain was real. The cause a mystery. They suggested shrinks. Growing pains. Perhaps I was one of those children who required lots of attention. I’d catch my mom staring at me—she often started conversations, only to break off and leave the room.

With each moon phase, the animals got bigger. Soon, they came during the day as well. At school, kids whispered my nicknames: Reaper, Grave Digger, Witch. Others, I pretended not to hear. Adults ostracized me, too. It hurt.
As I got older and stopped trying to bond, I came to the same conclusion as everyone else. I was weird. A freak. A sideshow act.

When my brother Sam was born, I kept a vigil in his room. Intent on cleaning up the dead things before he woke. I focused on making him feel that he wasn’t alone, that I understood how scary this world could be. I wouldn’t let him suffer my fears; he’d be normal in my eyes. By the time he was a month-old and the only dead came near him because of me, I retreated.

My parents pretended it didn’t matter. That nothing ever died around me. That our backyard wasn’t a graveyard. If anything, they acted like I had a talent. A gift.

If we had an extended family, I didn’t know them. The only exception was my namesake, a great-Aunt who sent me birthday quilts once a year. My world was, and is, me and death. It’s a lonely place to live, but I thought things were getting better. My name is Meridian Sozu, and I was wrong.

*****

You can read the first couple of chapters here.
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Reading Progress

06/14/2010 page 111
36.0% "Fantastic start. Great premise and wonderfully dark. Really liking it so far." 9 comments
06/15/2010 page 136
45.0% ""what I'd give for him to regard me with the warmth and love he showed Custos"...Custos is the dog-she wants him to love her like a pet dog?" 3 comments
06/15/2010 page 183
60.0% "Damn there is some severe evangelism in this book. So much so it's uncomfortable due to it's crazy fanaticism."
06/15/2010 page 194
64.0% "Would he be as gentle with me as he was with Custos? WTF? starting to wonder what she thinks is goin on between him and the dog. So odd." 5 comments
06/16/2010 page 247
81.0% "50 pages to go! Wanna stay up but it's already 2 hours apst my bed time if I wanna be on time to work. Booo I wanna finish it!" 3 comments
06/16/2010 page 305
100.0% "Really enjoyed it! Review to come. :)" 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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The Holy Terror I'll keep an eye out to see what you think of this. I abandoned it so I have no idea how good or bad it really is.


message 2: by Bry (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry I've requested this one from the library since it's another that seems split down the middle on reviews. Here's hoping!


message 3: by LethalLovely~This City's Made Us Crazy & We Must Get Out (last edited Jun 16, 2010 07:42PM) (new)

LethalLovely~This City's Made Us Crazy & We Must Get Out Great review, Bry! I'm so happy you found a YA novel you liked after your recent funk. I think I had this novel on my TBR shelf at another site ages ago & forgot all about it. Definitely will be adding it to my TBR shelf on here since me & you seem to have pretty similiar tastes when it comes to YA novel.

On a side note, how present is the religious aspect? I tend to shy away from novels with alot of religion in them. I know that the villain is a preacher but does he pop up every chapter with "I will rebuke in the name of Jesus! Satan get behind me!"?


message 4: by Bry (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry Not every chapter...mainly just at the middle and end. His speeches did get really old really fast.


Greta is Erikasbuddy Oh snap!! must read!!!


message 7: by Bry (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry Yes, you must! :D


Greta is Erikasbuddy sweetness!! Once I get my hold list at the library down a bit I'll get it ;)


message 9: by Bry (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry I have to do the same thing! I will get excited about a book, add it to my hold list, then all of a sudden 8 books will be available all at once and I am overwhelmed! LOL!


message 10: by Mahyar (new)

Mahyar Amazing review, Bry. I already added this to my TBR after reading your updates. Did he finally treat her like his dog or not? LOL.


message 11: by Bry (last edited Jun 17, 2010 02:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry Better than actually! LOL! :D

Hope you enjoy it!


Greta is Erikasbuddy lolz Bry!! I also get overwelmed when that many books show up for me. I seriously thought I was the only one with that problem ;)


message 13: by Bry (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bry It's like oh crap!! Gotta read so I can return them on time and not get fined. Since most the stuff I request is on a waiting list for others and I can't renew them!


Greta is Erikasbuddy hahha!! Hates that!!


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