Friday, 30 March 2012

Book Review 14 - Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White

Well, the title gives you an idea, doesn't it? This book is the epitome of YA paranormal romance. There are vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters and faeries. There are haunting dreams and mysterious prophecies. There is the threat of looming destruction. The main character, Evie, is torn between two guys, and of course, intrigued about what's going to happen in the next episode of  Eastern Heights, her favourite soap opera.

As the summary says; Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal. Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the centre of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures. So much for normal.

Kiersten White writes with a perfect mix of realistic description and rapier wit. Evie's voice is one of the strongest I have heard in any book in quite a while. The book is a pleasure to read; the pages might as well be turning themselves. As a reader I admire how everything comes together while still leaving enough to keep you ninterested and hungry for more; as a writer I admire how well it's written and wondering how on earth she could come up with so many good lines and keep them all life like. I lvoe how the tone and images just jump off the page. It has a very American style, which can sometimes agitate a reader if it\s too pronounced or has a strange effect on an otherwise good story, but in this case I can't imagine it being told any other way.

As for the characters...well, Evie aside. Lend was completely different from what I was expecting. Kind, sweet, yet protective when the situation called for it. He was the perfect yang to Evie's yin. He's the type of noble guy that you can always count on. His relationship with Evie is not instant either, it progresses at a great pace where you can see and feel their attraction grow. I was also delighted with the lack of a love triangle - well, there is Evie's dangerous ex-boyfriend, Reth. I didn’t expect it to happen, but he became one of my favorite characters. His scenes were absolutely delicious!

Fom the very first page you're placed straight into the action, and as the plot unfolds there are layers that you didn't expect to be there and enjoy figuring out. The storylines are laid out and then mixed up again - it's the kind of story that definitely keeps you on your toes. It's fast paced and addictive and there's no room for waiting around, because there always seems to be something happening, but it never seems rushed or lacking in detail. There are little dashes of normality among this paranormal world, and there are laugh out loud moments. It's very skillfully put together, and a sure sign of an author with a lot more to give. 
The characters are vivid and easy to imagine - though some of them you'll either love or loathe, the guys will try to steal you heart. It took me a while to warm to some of the girls, and I have to say that I didn't like Evie at times simply through personal preference, but she is feisty and funny and not weak in any way, shape or form. She stood out in my mind, and once I'd started reading her voice wouldn't leave - it's that distinct.

Admittedly, parts of this book seem stereotypical, or like you've seen it all before. Sometimes, yes, I did feel like it was just another YA paranormal romance; but I tried to keep an open mind as I got further and further in. It's a book that will always draw you back, even if you've read a part you might not like or you feel that you can no longer swim here in the deep end where you've been thrown in (occasionally I did feel like I was reading a sequel to a book I hadn't read yet) but it's hard to keep thoughts of how refreshing some elements of it are out of your mind. It may not suit everyone simply because of the fact that it fels too broad and light hearted - as if in the process of trying to puut in something for everyone, I felt sort of like the author was just vying for fans by putting in certain aspects of the book rather than concentrating on the parts she was passionate about herself.

However, I couldn't deny that it is a fantastic and enjoyable novel, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a roller-coaster ride of a story to keep them occupied. I am looking forward to the second book in the series!

Re-readability: 3.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5
Impact: 3/4
Overall: 4/5
In five words: fast-paced, action-packed, enjoyable, paranormal, funny.


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