Angela's Reviews > Nevermore

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
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Sep 05, 2010

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bookshelves: demons, young-adult, arc, 3-5-stars, read-in-2010, pn-romance

Original and dark paranormal romance, 3.5 stars

In Kelly Creagh's debut, NEVERMORE, the reader first meets Isobel: a blonde cheerleader with the quarterback boyfriend. Varen Nethers, on the other hand, is everything Isobel isn't: long black hair, kohl around the eyes, and a dismissive attitude. When the two are paired together for an English project, each is irritated, but they soon learn there's more to one another than the stereotype. As Isobel spends more and more time with Varen, she's drawn into the frightening world he's created in the pages of his notebook. Varen's ideas don't just stay on the page, and Isobel must try to save them both from the dream world that threatens them.

NEVERMORE brings a fresh and dark take to the young adult paranormal romance genre. Its original mythology centers on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, and the story is scarier than most, almost bordering on horror. Because of this, the book should appeal to dark fantasy fans. The novel's greatest strength, however, lies in the relationship between Isobel and Varen and its development. Instead of the instant, unexplained attraction seen in other books, their relationship grows over time and for realistic reasons. Character development for Varen is strong; he's more than just an angry goth boy and he becomes an appealing and desirable lead. Isobel was also likeable. Even though a cheerleader, she's depicted as quick, loyal, and not vapid: someone outside of the stereotype. The novel also had consistent pacing that had me turning pages to see what happened next, even with its long length.

Despite these strengths, there were some aspects that could be improved. While the first two-thirds of the book focused on the characters' relationship with only a hint of the paranormal, the last third became solely about the supernatural. There was little transition for this shift, and I wished the two parts had been merged more seamlessly. Parts of the mythology also became confusing in this portion. Secondary characters like Gwen felt too convenient. The writing also sometimes became cumbersome with drawn-out narrative or action sequences. This made the story feel a little long, not because of actual length, but because it could have been told in fewer words with the same effect. The ending, while left at a definitive point, was a cliffhanger that will require reading the sequel to see what happens next.

In all, NEVERMORE was a unique and darkly enjoyable contribution to this genre, with lots of good relationship building and a new and frightening mythology. I hope that Creagh devotes more time to clarifying her dream world in the sequel and that secondary characters are given more depth and purpose as well.

Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Tabitha Olson I've been hearing about this book, and my interest was piqued by the cheerleader/goth thing. I'm very glad to hear that the romance was on the more realistic side.

Hmm, I think I'm even more interested now that I've read your review (which was fabulous, as always). I think I'll have to go check it out. :)

message 2: by Angela (last edited Sep 07, 2010 03:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Angela Thanks for the compliments, as always! This book was the first I've received as part of an ARC tour, and I was delighted to get it only a few days after its release. Based on what I saw on Amazon when I posted the review there, most other people think pretty highly of it too. (Ha, isn't it funny that I refer to my 3.5 star review as thinking of it pretty highly, though others would think I'm slamming it? I know you understand, though. :)) If you do pick it up, I'll be interested to know what you think.

I'm still eagerly awaiting when we can discuss our thoughts on NIGHTSHADE. I'm going to try to type up that review this week, but I'm sorely lacking on time after actually having enjoyed my Labor Day weekend, instead of doing schoolwork. Opps.

Tabitha Olson I perfectly understand. :) We critical readers have our own way of thinking. :)

I still have Nightshade on my bedside table, next to a huge mound of books from the library with upcoming due dates. So, as soon as I make my way through that pile, I'll be picking up Nightshade. I'm really curious about it.

Gads!! There are too many books to read and not enough time!!!!

Angela >>Gads!! There are too many books to read and not enough time!!!! <<

No freakin' kidding! I'm overwhelmed with reading for my classes right now, but I picked up PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White on the way home from class today anyway. After reading some great blog entires by the author about healthy relationships and how she thinks they should be depicted in YA, I couldn't stop myself from buying it and supporting her. But now, when I am going to find the time to read it? ;)

No rush on NIGHTSHADE; I'm just curious. Oddly, Amazon has already opened up reviews for it online, though it's still about five weeks until it comes out. I'm going to try to do my review for it sometime this week so I can get it in there with the few already up.

Happy reading!

Tabitha Olson I keep hearing fabulous things about Paranormalcy, so I'm going to need to get my hands on a copy, too. :) When I find time to read it, though, is beyond me. :)

Angela I'll let you know what I think of Paranormalcy once I get around to reading it. If it's good enough to keep (as opposed to donating to the library's collection), I can loan it to you too. :)

Tabitha Olson That would be awesome!!! Thanks!! :)

Angela You're welcome, though no promises yet on whether it stays in my possession or goes off to the library. You'll be the first to know, though! :)

I am Bastet I'm glad the relationship isn't the weak point in this book. I love Poe, so I'll bump this one up on my list :)

message 10: by Angela (last edited Sep 12, 2010 02:48PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Angela @Isis: Though I did wonder a bit at the end of the book about how the characters' relationship had become so loyal and lovey-wuvey, I was utterly delighted that they grew together because of shared experiences and that they did so over time (or, at least over time, in the world of YA lit). I found it much more compelling and realistic than what I normally read.

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