Thursday, November 17, 2011
Review: "Paranormalcy" by Kiersten White
Not what I was expecting...but in a good way!!
I admit it. I judged this book by its cover, and I thought I might not enjoy it. The cover is admittedly gorgeous, but it made me think the storyline would be dark, brooding, and melodramatic. I was delighted and surprised to find that Kiersten White's debut novel was witty, charming, and fun. She's created a protagonist with a funny, irreverent, and believable voice that I found engaging and enjoyable. Finally, a first person female teen narrator I didn't want to smack upside the head!
The basic plot: Evie is a sixteen year old who works for and lives with an international organization that tracks and captures/monitors paranormals who they deem to be a danger to society. When something starts killing paranormals, Evie finds herself in danger and on the run. At least she has a cute boy (well...kind of. Boy isn't exactly the right word!) with her.
There are several interesting mysteries at play in the book. Who (or what) is Evie and where did she come from? What is killing the paranormals and why? Just as interesting for me were the questions the book raised about choice, consequence, morality, love and loneliness. Evie's life has been defined by a feeling of being alone and cold, and her search for acceptance and belonging makes her a poignant character despite her spunky and easy going personality. She shows growth in the book, and even begins to question whether or not the IPCA (the group she worked for and lived with) is truly on the side of right and good after all. There aren't any overly neat answers to her complicated questions, and I liked that.
As for the "love triangle" so many readers liked...I didn't really see it as a triangle. The two "guys," for lack of a better term (one's half water sprite, the other is a faerie) aren't exactly competing for Evie's love. Lend (Water Boy, as Evie sometimes calls him, which I found pretty funny) loves and accepts her. Reth (semi-evil faerie) has some complex motivations we're never really sure about. Which leads to a nice set up for the sequel. I'm going to read it as soon as I can, and I dearly hope we don't have the "second book break-up" so common in YA series.
I feel like I have to mention that I thought the "bad guy" needed a little more build-up to be scarier, but I liked how we were never really sure how to feel about it. Like most of the characters, the being who turned out to be responsible for the killings was a complex entity. One thing that did bother me enough to keep me from giving five stars was the deliberate ambiguity Evie encounters when dealing with a couple of characters as she tries to get answers to pertinent questions. I don't like it when a character is maddeningly vague and it feels like the author is just doing it to spin the suspense out and keep the questions open longer. I wanted to tell Evie, "Make him tell you what that means before he leaves, for crying out loud!" But I can deal with that, because I found the book as a whole so refreshing and fun. Plus, Evie is honest with Lend, and I'm so glad we didn't have one of those, "I love him, so I can't tell him my secrets because then he won't love me!" scenarios.
Another plus for me was the humor in the book. I don't find myself chuckling at YA paranormal romances very often, but with this one I did several times.
Overall: This was a good book and it promises to be the start of an enjoyable series!
*I wrote this review a long time ago. Since then, I've read and reviewed Supernaturally and liked it, but maybe not as much as Paranormalcy. That said, I'm still planning to read the last book, Endlessly.
Speaking of which, let me take a fangirly moment to swoon over the gorgeousness of the Endlessly cover:
People, I love this cover. I've been complaining about the recent "girls in fancy dresses" cover trend in YA, and saying I was ready for something new. I'll make an exception for this book. I don't even care if a purple dress has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot. I'm just a sucker for chiffon, I guess. Also, I want that lipstick Evie is wearing. And her hair, but that goes without saying.
Posted by Sarah at 8:05 AM