Monday, March 12, 2012

Marianne Review: Paranormalcy

Today I read Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.
As in, I bought the book this weekend at the absolutely gorgeous bookstore R.J. Julia's in Madison, CT, read the first chapter on Sunday, then cracked it open today after lunch and finished it in a few hours.

Another binge read complete. If I had another book handy, I wouldn't even be blogging right now. Sick.

Anyway, how'd I like the book? I liked it! I liked it more than I expected.

Here are the things I liked:

1. General World Concept: government agency contains paranormal creatures who exist secretly in the regular world. It's like that episode of BTVS with Riley. I liked it. It was nice to have a protagonist on the inside who was also outside in a lot of ways.

2. Focus of the story is on the protagonist Evie's journey to learning more about herself, her past, and the world around her NOT on the romance, which is sweet and natural and definitely not the axis on which everything revolves

3. Ash-like Love Triangle: Much like Malinda Lo's novel Ash, there is a faerie who creates a certain love triangle dynamic but the faerie relationship is complicated and not necessarily romantic.

4. Girl Friendships: Granted, Evie's friendship with mermaid Lish was entirely one-sided, but still it was there. And two other friendships are introduced before the end of the story. Girl Power!

5. Story Scale: The scale was small enough to be contained in one book, and satisfying enough that I don't have to read the continuing books in the series if I don't want to, but the scale was also just large enough (with hints at it being even larger) to make me feel like this story was Important.

6. Parents and Parental Figures: They do exist! And sometimes they help and sometimes they don't.

Here are the things I didn't like so much:

1. Old fashioned cursing: White does invent a cute way to introduce "What the bleep" into the novel, but used it more than I would have liked. Unfortunately she also had Evie say things like "Oh Heavens!" which I find patently ridiculous. This girl spends her days surrounded by government personnel. You really expect me to believe that they didn't teach her any interesting swear words?? I don't have a problem with an author not wanting to put swear words in his/her writing, but don't shove outdated, anachronistic phrases in the protagonist's mouth instead. It's jarring and silly.

2. Pink: Evie loves pink but guess what? She's also a capable young woman. She is girly and capable. How refreshing you guys! She's like EVERY OTHER GIRL POWER HEROINE EVER. I was totally on board with Evie's soap opera obsession (totally legit for any teen, and her in particular) as well as her excitement over prom dresses. But the pink overload felt really forced to me and induced more than a few eye rolls on my part.

3. I didn't find all the "wit" to be that witty. Am I just being super picky in that regard?

Anyone else out there read the book? I wouldn't say I'm compelled to keep reading about Evie, though I think I'd be more into it if I knew that Vivian was going to appear again, in a more complex, nuanced way. I would totally recommend this to YA Fantasy fans and anyone who liked Buffy.

Also, if you liked Paranormalcy, you should TOTALLY read Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series. Evie and the Fever series heroine Mac have a lot in common. They are both blonde and bubbly, love pink, love weapons when they are pink and sparkly, are determined to remain cheerful despite discouraging circumstances, and also they both love pink.

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