Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paranormalcy

Evie is a teenager who works for a group called IPCA, who police paranormal activity and neutralize any paranormals who are behaving in ways that are dangerous to those around them.  Such paranormals include (but are not limited to) werewolves, vampires, and faeries.  Evie is an orphan who was discovered as a child by IPCA operatives, who quickly realized she possessed the unique ability to see through glamours.  After a difficult life in foster care, Evie was only too happy to live at IPCA headquarters, where she was educated and groomed to be a very successful operative.

She works for IPCA, and she lives there, and while she adores her best friend (a mermaid - but not at all the stereotypical kind), and many of her co-workers, Evie wishes she could live the life of the teenagers she sees on television.  She thinks it must be amazing to go to an actual school, have friends and go through the kinds of dramatic situations she sees on her favorite TV shows, maybe even have a boyfriend of her own.

Then a situation arises in which IPCA security is breached - and Evie is the one who catches the culprit.  She's probably the only one who could have, because the creature is able to take on the shape of anyone, male or female, but of course Evie can see through his disguise.  Her curiosity about him leads to clandestine visits to the cell where he is being held.  A friendship between them develops, and as Evie gets to know the young man (Lend - who turns out to be a teenager, too), he shares information that makes Evie suddenly question her status at IPCA.  Is she a valued employee?  Or a prisoner?  Suddenly matters spin out of control as IPCA - and other paranormals - are attacked by a mysterious being that leaves scores of paranormals dead in its wake.  The faeries seem to know more than they are letting on, but no one seems to take Evie's worries and warnings about them very seriously.  And when she comes face to face with the mysterious, deadly being, everything changes.

I enjoyed this one - which turns out to be the first in a series - immensely.  Evie is a thoroughly sympathetic and believable character.  She is strong and confident as far as her abilities to bag and tag paranormals are concerned, but she has a lot to learn about the regular, teenage parts of life.  She is brave and resourceful, but she does make mistakes.  Lend is an interesting and likable character as well, and their developing relationship is handled very nicely. 

Potential spoiler alert: 
 The one thing that didn't work so well for me in this book was the faerie element.  The premise is that, if you know a faerie's name, that faerie must do your bidding - but he or she will of course try to work around the wording as much as possible in order to follow personal agendas.  Evie is having issues with a faerie, whose name she knows.  He is withholding important information from her, and he downright terrifies her - so why doesn't she command him to freeze?  To tell her all he knows re. a particular topic?  To stop behaving in a certain way?  She is so strong and combative that - despite her past with this particular person - it didn't make sense to me that she wouldn't try harder, or come up with a more successful way of dealing with him.  The fact that she does not is serviceable to the plot, but not to her character.  This is a minor quibble, but it did bug me.
End potential spoiler.

I also need to mention how very funny this book is - Evie has such a great attitude and sense of humor, and while much of the book is dark and violent, this spark of humor lightens things a bit and makes the book that much more enjoyable.  The paranormals are not only the typical ones readers might expect to see in this sort of novel - there are many kinds, and several of them are particularly surprising.  The book comes to a satisfying conclusion, but there is much left to be explored in Evie's world, so I am very much looking forward to the sequel, Supernaturally, which is due to be published next year.  I highly recommend this one - I'm sure it will be among my favorite YA reads this year. 

Books in the Paranormalcy series:
1. Paranormalcy
2. Supernaturally (January 2012) 

Paranormalcy (#1 in the Paranormalcy series) by Kiersten White (HarperCollins, 2010)

Also reviewed at:
Beyond Books"The book made me laugh, gasp and even shocked me with sadness which I wasn’t expecting. Everything about the book felt real emotion-wise."
Coffee Stained Pages: "I found Evie to be a very likable heroine, she’s honourable, witty and brave while still being very believable as a lonely sixteen-year-old girl unsure of her place."
Steph Sue Reads:  "...not your typical YA paranormal read: indeed, it has more in common with an elaborately written adult urban fantasy series."

4 comments:

  1. I am curious. I want to read this now!

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  2. I thought Supernaturally came out THIS year!! AHHHH! NOOOO!!! Drat.

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  3. My library needs to get this in. I want to read it so bad!

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  4. Kailana - I think you'll enjoy this one!

    Cat - Yeah, it's going to be a long wait. Luckily I have about a million things (thanks so much) on my list to read in the meantime. :p

    Ladytink - I hope your library gets this one soon!

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