Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

I wanted to love this book. It had all the right ingredients: a sassy heroine, inventive world building, an appealing love interest who was more than just eye candy, and just the right balance of humor and drama. So why didn’t I love it? The answer is simple. The writing was too young for my taste. This isn’t a flaw; it’s simply a personal preference. I read YA all the time, but not all YA is to my liking. To write a YA fantasy that is appealing to both preteens and adults is quite a feat and I don’t expect all authors to succeed. I do however expect a certain level of maturity in the writing and a protagonist who has strength of character and is able to learn from his/her mistakes and grow as an individual. I believe that Paranormalcy succeeds in this respect.

Evie is a character that many can identify with. She is vibrant, clever and feisty, and is just as determined to make friends as she is to create enemies. However, Evie is more than just a spunky heroine. She is also a young girl who has spent most of her life without a family to call her own. She is constantly surrounded by others, both human and paranormal, but it is hard not to be lonely when the woman she would call mother keeps her at a distance and her best friend is a mermaid who lives behind a wall of glass, unable to provide touch or comfort.

Evie spends most of her days hunting down and tagging unregistered paranormals because of her ability to see through glamour. While she is suited and well adjusted to this lifestyle, she yearns for a simpler life, where getting your driver’s license and choosing a prom dress is more important than catching a hag or luring a vampire out into the open with a boat-neck t-shirt. It isn’t until she captures Lend, a boy with the ability to change his face that she begins to question authority and her place in the world. Something or someone is destroying paranormals and Lend claims he is searching for answers on how to stop it. The IPC (International Paranormal Containment Agency) is reluctant to believe him, especially since they can’t identify what he is. Together, Evie and Lend embark on a journey to find answers and stop whatever evil is destroying the paranormals.

The issues I had with this story are few, but bothered me all the same. I thought that Evie was too trusting of Lend in the beginning. For someone who she knows next to nothing about, she sure was eager to spend most of her free time getting to know him in his cell. I get that there aren’t a lot of people her age at the IPC, and that growing up with only a mermaid to talk to can be quite lonely, but use some common sense! Just because there is a cute boy in the vicinity doesn’t mean that all rationale needs to be tossed out the window! As far as love interests go, however, Lend was definitely one of the more appealing choices with his easy going nature and dry sense of humor. The other issue I had with the story was the pacing. Too much time seemed to be spent on things that didn’t push the plot forward. I think it’s great that the TV show Easton Heights gives Evie some sense of normalcy, but did so much time need to be spent discussing it with everyone? Overall, this was an entertaining read with likable characters and a unique take on how humans deal with paranormals.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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