Friday, March 16, 2012
Balzer + Bray, 2012
I had instant cover lust with this book-I would love to have a similar red dress (do I have any place to wear such a creation? No, but that hardly matters). Still I did not immediately pick up this book because I have frequently found myself disappointed with pretty dress cover books as I am just not an intense lover of YA paranormals. But after reading many positive reviews and being assured that there was not a love triangle (which was a very important deciding factor for me), I took the plunge.
I found the writing style very easy to read and I was swept away after some momentary confusion at the beginning (the italicized part as well as the prologue). What was going on? What had main character Nikki gotten herself into? I mean, I could make some guesses as to how Nikki found herself seeking oblivion from the pain of life in the arms of mysterious rocker bad boy Cole. And it was obvious that he was some kind of paranormal creation with ambiguous intentions. But what were all the rules governing this world underneath?
For the most part, Nikki is as in the dark as we are BUT she expends considerable energy in figuring things out. Additionally she wants to make things up to her father, brother, best friend, and ex-boyfriend after her disappearance six months. Complicating matters is the fact that she will have to leave again forever in another six months unless she decides to join Cole, whereby she will leave even earlier. I'm worried that I may have needlessly overcomplicated the plot for you but if you read the book, it should make sense.
What I was most drawn to in this book was the love story. Although Nikki sought solace with Cole after thinking that her boyfriend had cheated on her, she never forgot him. And he never forgot her, forming an intense connection. While the idea of finding "true love" in high school still seems outrageous to me in most of the YA books I read, I fell hard for this romance. Maybe it was my mood after reading a couple of books with little romance or inadequate love stories. Maybe Nikki and Jack just seemed to complete each other (I know: gag). I can't describe it but once they started working together to fight her fate, I was hooked and I soared through the final pages.
With that strong romantic element, I was able to root for Nikki to remain strong even as Cole did his best to win her over. He tried everything including his substantial powers of emotional manipulation to get her to give up her human life and return with him willingly to the Everneath. But she did not want oblivion anymore and she didn't want to rely on the pain of others for that relief. Instead she was willing to accept the pain but also the joy that comes from being a human.
Overall: I really did love this book. I thought Nikki was fairly strong for her situation and for a YA paranormal heroine and the romance really worked for me (if only Jack had been named Will and then he could have entered my list of wonderful YA boys named Will ;)