Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title:  Paranormalcy
Author:  Kiersten White
Publisher:  HarperTEEN 
Genre: YA/paranormal
Hardcover: 352 pages
ISBN: 0061985848
Summary from 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.

  • Overall rating: 9/10
To buy this book: IndieBound | The Book Depository | Powell's | Amazon
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Kiersten White's Paranormalcy is a fast-paced fantasy with a sweet and charming heroine, an entertaining assortment of paranormal characters, and a suspenseful mystery.  Evie's work for the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) has made her day to day life anything but normal, and she longs for a typical teenage life with all its novelties - like high school lockers and prom.  Then she meets Lend, a teenage shapeshifter who catches her eye, and some of that normalcy suddenly feels like it might actually be within her reach.  But there is a mysterious threat brewing.  Someone is murdering paranormal creatures and if the IPCA can't figure out who is behind these crimes, it may not be long before there aren't any paranormals left to police.  Evie must figure out who to trust and uncover details from her own past in order to stop the killer before they strike again.  I thoroughly enjoyed Paranormalcy and look forward to reading the second book in this trilogy, Supernaturally, next autumn.

What I Liked:
-     The humor!  Evie is very amusing.  She is a fashion savvy girly-girl who loves makeup, shopping, and watching her favorite teen television drama.  Of course, she also spends her days taking down vamps, hags, and werewolves with Tasey, her handy rhinestone-encrusted Taser, so she isn't exactly your typical girl next door.  Think Legally Blonde meets Men in Black.  
-     Lend is a likable guy who doesn't have an ounce of 'bad boy' attitude, which is refreshing in a paranormal romance.  He has a unique shape-shifting ability that gives him an interesting edge, and I'm really curious to see what the next two books have in store for him.
-     The romantic elements in this book are light and flirty rather than dark and angsty or smoldering and racy.  Evie and Lend are both outsiders who have grown up surrounded by paranormals and humans but have never fully fit in with either group.  They are instantly intrigued by each other, and it is quite sweet that they are able to see and accept each other for who they truly are.  Their chemistry is of the blushing and inexperienced variety, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to younger YA readers or even MG readers.
-     I was drawn in my the mystery in this book right away, and it kept me guessing chapter after chapter.  There is still plenty to be explored in the second book, but I was happy to find that Paranormalcy doesn't end with a frustratingly suspenseful cliff-hanger.
-     Evie was brought in to work with IPCA at a very young age, so her supervisor Raquel and best friend Lish are the closest things she has to a family, and I liked seeing that aspect of the story explored.  Lend also has an unusual family situation, and I loved the way his family was involved in the story.  Kind, supportive parents are fairly rare in YA novels, so it is really nice to see a parent like that pop up occasionally.
-     The IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) reminded me a little of Men In Black.  They are a top secret agency responsible for monitoring and containing paranormal individuals around the world, and they employ several paranormals to help them get that job done.  I liked their high tech, sterile command center and Lish's nifty control room, and I especially liked that they weren't necessarily beyond reproach.  I enjoy seeing the gray area between the good guys and the bad guys, and this book touched on that concept a little.  I hope we will see that gray area explored even more in the second and third books of the trilogy.
-     I liked that Reth, who used to be one of Evie's closest companions, provided tension within Evie's relationship with Lend without ever actually seeming like a rival for her affections.  There is not a love triangle in this book, but Reth does have something to offer Evie that only he has ever made her feel.
-     I loved reading Lish's monotone computer voice aloud because it made her dialogue so charming and funny.  I also loved Raquel's expressive sighs and all of their very specific meanings.

What I Wished:
-     The one element that wore a bit thin for me was the way Reth repeatedly popped up and disappeared at key moments throughout the story.  After a few of those instances, the lack of answers from him and the way the other characters seemed able to put him out of their minds to focus on other mundane things (like homework, prom, and tv shows) started to grate on my nerves and to feel like a slightly-too-convenient plot device to drag out the mystery.
-     There were a couple of moments in which Evie seemed to swing from bursting into tears to feeling giddy with happiness a little too quickly, particularly in the days following one very sad incident.  I felt like I was more depressed than Evie regarding that incident, which was a little odd.

If you like humorous YA fantasies like Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall or sweet, innocent YA romances like Aprilynne Pike's Wings, you will want to pick up Paranormalcy.  If you like mysterious urban fantasies with a variety of paranormal creatures and a heroine who has been kept in the dark about her origins like The Mortal Instruments, then you may want to pick up Paranormalcy.  This second book in this trilogy, Supernaturally, is set for publication next September, and I will definitely be picking up a copy.  If you want to learn more about Paranormalcy or Kiersten White's upcoming books, please visit her website, blog, facebook, or twitter.

Read the first 70 pages of Paranormalcy here using HarperTEEN's BrowseInside feature!


Kathy Martin said...

Great review! I liked the way you were specific about what aspects of the book you enjoyed and which you did not. I read and reviewed this book too. I liked it very much for its humor also.

chrissie_goldsmith said...

Great review! I've got this book on my TBR list and I can't wait to get my hands on it!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

BookQuoter said...

I am tempted to read this even though it's not a book I would usually read.

Sarah said...

Great review Violet! I think this is one I'd really enjoy. I loved the way you've written a list of things you liked / disliked about the book - good to see that the liked list is the longest one LOL.

Candace said...

Wow! Your review is amazing! I love the Legally Blonde meets Men and Black, perfect description! I loved this book too and I agree the Reth situation was a little annoying. Overall though it was AMAZING!

BookQuoter said...

I am back to tell you my favorite musical is Les Miserables, although I do like them all. The last one I saw was Little Night Music which was awesome.

You am so excited to know you play those games too. And I am jealous that your husband plays with you, because mine does not. I have to wait for my daughter to come home to play with her so I have resorted to playing Ticket to Ride and Dominion on line! Dominion is so addicting on line because it really goes super fast. If I don't stop myself, I can play up to 10 consecutive games with one single person!!!

brandileigh2003 said...

I am really looking forward to reading this one, and your great review just made me want it even more. :D

Cleverly Inked said...

Loved this review. I need this

Cleverly Inked said...

Loved this review. I need this

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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