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Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Supernaturally' Paranormalcy #2 by Kiersten White

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.

Once upon a time Evie dreamed about a life of normalcy – school, homework, lockers, cafeteria gossip and cute boys. In reality, Evie worked for the International Paranormal Containment Agency where she helped bag and tag renegade supernaturals – from vampires to werewolves, trolls and faeries. Her ex-boyfriend was a controlling and beautiful fae maniac, and her best friend was a mermaid.

But that was months ago. Before Evie found out she was soulless, possible part-fae and unfairly mortal. Before Evie met Lend, the handsome shape-changing boy who stole her heart and broke her out of IPCA.

Now Evie is living that life of normalcy, and it’s decidedly . . . dull. Life is nothing like her favourite teen drama, ‘Easton Heights’ – gym is torture, homework hell and Evie doesn’t fit in anywhere, for Bleep’s sake.

So when her crazy fae ex, Reth, turns up talking about the fae realms and looking out for Evie’s best interests, she’s wary but also a little relieved. And when her old boss, Racquel, pulls Evie back into the IPCA department she finds herself once more with purpose (not to mention a company credit card!).

‘Supernaturally’ is the second book in Kiersten White’s YA ‘Paranormalcy’ series.

I read ‘Paranormalcy’ late last year and was blown away. White’s book was a mix of ‘Hellboy’ and ‘Heroes’, with witty writing to rival Joss Whedon – it quickly earned a place on my ‘favourites’ list.

So it was with great expectation that I started reading ‘Supernaturally’ . . . but by book’s end I was slightly deflated.

When the book begins Evie is living normal. After spending most of her young life at the IPCA, she is now attending high school, rooming with a vampire and working minimum wage at the local diner. Her boyfriend, the Döppelganger Lend, has gone off to college in Georgetown and they only spend weekends together. Evie is struggling with her grades and trying to cope with a gym-teacher’s unjustified hatred. All in all, normal adolescent behaviour is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Evie misses feeling useful and hates how out of depth she is now. So when her ex-boyfriend, the fae Reth, reappears in her life she’s scared and even a teensy-weensy bit curious. And when IPCA comes knocking, she readily agrees to lend her services – even if it means keeping it a secret from her boyfriend.

I think White spends a long time establishing Evie’s ‘fish out of water’ hopelessness. The first half of the book is dedicated to illustrating just how miserable she is, but determined to put on a brave (normal) face. It’s interesting to read Evie’s growing friendship with vampire-roomier, Arianna, and how she juggles living normal in a supernatural world. But a big hindrance to these scenes is the lack of Lend. I thought Evie and Lend’s unconventional but cosmic romance was a big selling-point of ‘Paranormalcy’ – Lend is a boy who can change his appearance to look like anyone, and Evie is the only girl in the world who can see through the facade to his true self. I thought they were a brilliant couple, so I was a little disheartened to discover that Lend is absent for most of ‘Supernaturally’. Granted, his absence is a part of the plot, but I still would have liked more of what hooked me in ‘Paranormalcy’.

I also felt a little led-on by the blurb for ‘Supernaturally’. Reth is mentioned, and I thought that hinted that he would have a bigger role in this second novel . . . especially since his character was trotted out in ‘Paranormalcy’ to tease and intrigue readers. And Reth is a brilliant, complex and shadowed character with much potential. I had my fingers-crossed to read more of him in this book, but sadly his page-time is minimal at best. There is a possibility that he could have a meatier role in the third book . . . but I won’t hold my breath.

I was chugging along in this book, a little disheartened by my lack of enthusiasm for, what I thought was, a really promising new series. And then Kiersten White put the pedal to the metal and really kick-started the plot to run full throttle to the finish line. The last five or so chapters are twisted, and heart-palpitating – the action is frenzied and harrowing and all the characters clash together in a brilliant final crescendo.

Uver-vamp frowned. “Beg Pardon?”
“Don’t make me do this. You remember in the alley? You knew then. I saw it – your instincts kicking in, telling you to be afraid of me.” I leaned forward, my hands balled into fists and trembling at my sides. “You should listen to your instincts.”
He smiled, licking his sharp teeth. “I’m afraid I’m rather more curious than frightened. I want to taste you, find out what kind of monster you are.”

The last few chapters have Evie confronting uncomfortable truths and unearthing lies. It’s an intense dash to the finish – but the finale bumped this book up in my esteem and has me salivating for third instalment, ‘Endlessly’, scheduled for 2012.

3.5/5

2 comments:

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing the awesome review! I just found this blog, and I'll definitely be following it from now on!

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  2. Great review Dani! This does look like an awesome series! me and my YA issue =/ I need to open up and try out some of these YA series out there, this one, for sure!

    Thanks for an awesome review!

    btw, I LOVED Alex Mack too!!! totally forgot about it! =P

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