Mini-Reviews: Paranormalcy, Everneath, If I Stay, The Wise Man’s Fear

Ever since I got my shiny Kindle, I’ve been reading books more regularly because of the convenience. For those with little time, I highly recommend some kind of e-reader. Even if your funds are severely limited, often you can check out many e-titles from your library.

Okay, let’s get down to the books. I have mostly positive things to say about all of these titles. Sometimes when I do book blitzes that isn’t the case. It’s always a relief to read a slew of good books.

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

I love a good title and the more I read Paranormalcy the more I realized how perfectly fitting this title was for the story. We start with a girl named Evie who’s somehow able to see paranormal creatures, no matter what disguise they don, be they vampires, werewolves, or whatever. She’s lived her whole life working for this secret agency, presumably an orphan and her only real friend, a mermaid. The thing Evie wants most of all? Just to live as a normal teenager.

Then she meets Lend, a teenage boy who’s anything but normal, except that he has the ‘normal’ teenage life she’s always dreamed of.

The story is told in first person via Evie’s POV. On the first pages we get an immediate sense of voice and I definitely felt like this was a teen’s head we were inside. White does a good job of balancing typical teenage girl mashed with ‘secret agent’ girl. There are plenty of twists to be found, the romance between Lend and Evie was both believable and sweet, and villains are well done. All in all a very enjoyable read.

Note: It’s definitely a ‘for teens’ kind of book and probably moreso for ‘teen girls’ but the pacing never slows down and you really want Evie to succeed.

My grade: A+

EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

Everneath is a unique “kind of” retelling of the Greek myth of Persephone. I don’t want to spoil too much, but let’s just say it’s heavily tied to that myth. We start with Nikki, and right away we’re thrown into the action. Something strange has happened to her and before we can learn too much more about it, she’s thrown back into the real world where she’s been missing for 6 months and she has 6 months before she’s essentially cast into Hell. She came to say her goodbyes, but learns maybe she can avoid Hell afterall.

Ashton does a back and forth telling of what happened six months ago vs. what’s happening now. From the outside, you’d think she’d be breaking a lot of rules, going into backstory like she does. But Ashton does it right, crafting tension for the present with the past and vice versa. Nikki’s character makes a great arc from hopeless to hopeful, and there’s great tension between characters all around.

The only major issue I take with this book was Ashton’s overuse of the word could. I think I could vomit when I could see how much I could do without how much I could read the word could. If anyone knows Brodi, tell her for the love of grape popsicles to cut back on her could usage!

My grade, because of could: A-

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Mia had the perfect life, until the car accident. Now she’s trying to decide, do she stay here and face the aftermath of the accident that nearly took her life or go on to the next life? Similar to Everneath in it’s construct If I Stay is also a past-present shifting sort of novel. We follow Mia around in the hospital while she tries to figure out both why she’s still there and whether or not she should stay, and then shift back to the past before the accident. Again, it seems like Forman is breaking the rules with flashbacks, but it really works (so those of you wanting to do something similar, study her technique).

Forman does a great job of pulling us back and forth so we’re never quite certain what choice Mia will make. (Sorry folks, you’ll have to read the book to find out). And believe me when I say there is heaps of reasons for her not to stay. Mia’s voice is strong and the tension is high, this was a book well worth reading.

I should note, I’m not one for strong language and there are a few choice words in here. I don’t feel like they were written in gratuitously, however, but this may not be a book your pre-teens are quite ready for. But I’m more sensitive to those sorts of things, so use your own best judgement.

My grade: A

THE WISE MAN’S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss

This is Book 2 in the Kingkiller Chronicle, continuing the story of Kvothe’s life. The Wise Man’s Fear reads much better in the beginning than Book 1 (The Name of the Wind) did, because we don’t spend so much time in the beginning wondering who the bleep the protagonist is. Rothfuss has a gift for description and you can picture the world easily.

I know fantasy tends to be longish, but good gracious, WMF is like a Peter Jackson movie gone wrong kind of long. There were a lot of things that were interesting, but unnecessary to the story. I think in fantasy, because they are otherworldly sorts of stories, the author feels like they need to show us tons of the world, but there were more than a few times I skimmed for several pages to get back to the story. Rothfuss could learn to kill a few more darlings. The odd thing was, there were a few events that would have been interesting to witness, but we’re stuck hearing about whatnot and whathaveyou in the library instead. (A specific example I’m thinking of is his travel by boat when the ship is ransacked by pirates, which he briefly mentions as he’s walking into town. Oh, I see how it is…)

That being said, if you’re a fantasy lover, this is still a book you should pick up. Even you not-my-thing types may learn a few tricks when it comes to setting the scene. That is certainly Rothfuss’ strength. And Book 2 leaves you hungry for Book 3 and there’s a lot more treachery to be found in the lands. I’ll be interested to see where he takes the story in Book 3.

Oh, one more thing. A note to parents or those sensitive to certain scenes. This book gets quite steamy—enough that I skipped ahead. Of course, I was warned, but it’s pretty obvious when steamy time comes. 😉

My grade: B+

*****

More mini-reviews to come in the future. Thanks to my Kindle, I’m plowing through these. For those who say they don’t have time to read, I say baloney, at least if you intend to be a writer—MAKE TIME to read. It helps with your writing extensively!

Have you read any of these books? Anything you would add? Did you find other things the authors did that drove you crazy?

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8 thoughts on “Mini-Reviews: Paranormalcy, Everneath, If I Stay, The Wise Man’s Fear

  1. I’ve read Everneath – through the library app on my tablet, and enjoyed it. My only criticism is I feel the main character spends a while waiting, not doing as much as she could. Still, it’s a good book. I’m curious about the upcoming sequel.

  2. I love my e-reader! It allows me to carry my entire library around with me.

    I think “Paranormalcy” is a very clever title, but the word “normalcy” makes me shudder. There are very few words I dislike (why fight the evolution of language?), but “normalcy” is one of them (thank you very much, President Harding!). I prefer “normality,” but it’s a losing battle.

    • Lol. I’m sure blogging has exposed you to all kinds of crazy ‘new’ words our English-speaking ancestors would shudder at. *shrug* It is what it is.

  3. Oh, I’m so glad you liked “Paranormalcy,” too! Definitely a fun, fast read. I haven’t read any of the others, although I keep hearing about “If I Stay” and how good it is. Usually I avoid potentially heart-wrenching stories, but lately I’ve been trying to stop being such a reading wuss, so I might give it a try.

    One of our CPs noticed that we used the word “slightly” a lot in an earlier draft of Mystic Cooking – I think she counted 19 times in two chapters, or something ridiculous like that. Anyhow, we cut most of those out, and now I’m hyper aware of that word whenever I read it – you’d be surprised how many slightly’s there are in Harry Potter, for instance. 😉

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