Celine's Reviews > The Vespertine

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
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Mar 16, 11

bookshelves: young-adult, paranormal, victorian, romance
Read from March 12 to 13, 2011

Dark, gripping, excitingly Victorian with a twist! I absolutely loved it.

This book combines two genres, taking the best of both. It has the ambience of a great historical novel set in the late 19th century and the gripping excitement of a paranormal book. Then, throw in a vibrant romance and mischievous friends and you have the wonderful book The Vespertine.

Amelia van den Broek (Dutch last name! I'm allowed some patriotism at times) is sent to Baltimore to have her first and last season, where she hopes to find a suitable groom. In the middle of the excitement her visit there brings (attending dances, calling upon friends) she finds out she has a special gift. She can see the future in the final sun rays at sunset.

It's hard to decide what I loved most about this novel. I think I will go with the characters. Amelia makes a great protagonist. She has her own opinion and takes no reserves in making this clear. It was great to see a female character in a young-adult novel that actually stands up for herself, and can take care of herself. Overall Amelia was easy to relate to. For living in a completely different time (where holding hands in the park is scandalous) her motives are easy to understand.

Then we meet her one weak spot. Nathaniel Witherspoon. Is it a coincidence that his name rhymes with "swoon"? Because there is some definite swooning going on in the book, and the worst part is that you can't help but swoon with her. I think it's an incredible accomplishment if you can create a scorching tension between two characters in a setting where a slight touch on the wrist is like a kiss.

Then we have the beautiful writing. I was enthralled by it within a few pages, and it didn't release its steel grip on me until I had finished the book. I did have an issue with the writing though; Ms. Mitchell has the habit to only talk about the events that truly matter. How is that a bad thing, you ask? It means that if the event she wants to describe is over, we jump forward into the story an hour, or a day. It means that in the middle of a deeply romantic moment between Amelia & Nathaniel, the story is broken off, and we're at home again. Talk about an anti-climax.

The paranormal elements are subtle, yet different of what we are used to. We don't get a lot of explanation on how the powers work, but then again, we only know what Amelia knows. What I though was brilliant is that Amelia doesn't try to hide her powers. She actually uses them. If this is the smartest thing to do is another story, but I thought she handled her precognitive powers in a realistic way.

The plot is a swirling mixture of both cheerful events and absolutely dreadful moments. Ms. Mitchell isn't scared to throw some pretty horrifying things at us. There are definitely some "Oh No!" parts in this book that make you have to keep on reading. I devoured The Vespertine from beginning to end.

You can find this review and more over at Nyx Book Reviews
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Reading Progress

03/12/2011 page 41
14.0% ""And forever I'd swear it - he spoke, and I heard. But his lips moved not at all.""
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message 1: by AH (new) - added it

AH Glad to hear that you liked this book.


Celine Thanks AH! (:


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