Monday, September 27, 2010

Review — Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Summary (via Goodreads): 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 center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

Review:  There's been a lot of buzz about Paranormalcy around the YA blogosphere so I was pretty excited to get my hands on this one.  I didn't know quite what to expect; this premise could be either super cheesy or fantastic.  Will this book change paranormal YA forever?  No.  But it is an incredibly enjoyable read with a clever premise and Evie is a likable character who I'm looking forward to seeing more of.

My initial thought when I started reading was "this is like Hellboy if Hellboy was a teenage girl," and really, who doesn't want to see what Hellboy would be if he was a teenage girl (minus the sawed off horns and cigars).  I loved the entire concept of the IPCA and learning about their inner workings.  From gremlins to hags, White uses a lot of old myths and legends to populate her world.  The folklore geek in me was in heaven.  I can't help compare it with Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series a little.  I think White's world sometimes lacked a little grittiness and realism that I loved in Strange Angels, but with things like fairies and unicorns (I hope we get a peek at those in future books) it's much more rooted in magic and it has a much lighter tone overall so it works.

I also appreciated how you really saw how sheltered Evie was, growing up in the IPCA, especially next to lend.  Her exuberance sometimes bordered on over-the-top, but it was all well in character.  She was bubbly and snarky without being annoying or bratty.  Her relationship with Lend develops naturally and they quickly become too adorable for words.

I've never been a huge fan of fairies so when I saw that one of the main characters was fey I kind of wrinkled my nose.  I read Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and wasn't overly impressed, but I think I'm just not into that avenue of paranormal YA.  However, there was something about Reth and White's description of fairies that finally made me realize how compelling they are.  Though I found myself kind of developing a crush on Reth, his abilities to control humans and the threat of being lost in his world forever totally freaked me out (and I tend to love amoral characters).  So thanks, to Kiersten for finally hitting home how frightening fairies are.  I can't wait to see more of Reth.

I do wish we got more time with the IPCA.  I found that world so interesting and compelling, I was a little disappointed they seem to be going in a different direction in future books.  I love the idea of this supernatural agency working behind the scenes of our world and wanted to see more.  Even still, I'll definitely be picking up book two in this fun, addictive series.

Lit Snit Verdict: B+

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