The characterization in this novel is riveting. Readers will love Clare from page one, when she elbows an obnoxious bully soundly in the gut and starts the novel off with a bang. The poor girl doesn't have it easy in her small town, where being psychic makes her a "freak," but she doesn't take the abuse lying down. It is refreshing to see a teenage heroine who isn't afraid to fight back against the bullies, rather than crying in a bathroom stall. Readers will sympathize with spunky Clare all the more strongly because she doesn't wallow in the stereotypical angst and self-pity.
Despite her pariah status, Clare has a bit of a love triangle (or square?) to contend with, and Kim Harrington manages to make the reader invest in each romance. The various potential heroes have a unique spark that turns them into more than just a one-dimensional plot device. Gabriel is the bad boy who will immediately pique readers' interest, while a secret tragedy in his past gives shade to his character. Justin is the good guy who made an irreparable mistake (and I applaud Clare for refusing to overlook it). Then there's Nate, the best-friend-but-maybe-more, and Stephen, the former-enemy-but-maybe-more. Despite the ubiquity of love triangles, Harrington brings a realism to Clare's relationships that prevents them from feeling forced or cliche. Clarity evokes the spectrum of human bonds with subtle power, ranging from the various beaux, to the endearing brother/sister relationship between Clare and Perry, and the dysfunctional parent relationship with their flaky mother.
On top of a stellar cast of characters, Harrington blends mystery and mysticism to create a captivating crime novel. The unique take on psychic ability lends nicely to the murder mystery element. Clare can relive the memories and emotions imprinted on an object just by touching it, while Perry can see the dead and their mother can read minds. I especially enjoyed Clare's fascinating ability, and loved the way it raised almost as many questions as it answered while she desperately tried to find the killer before they struck again.
Though this is a murder mystery, it was not excessively gruesome. Readers will be able to enjoy the tension and the thrill of the chase, while still being caught up in the lively and playful tone of the narrator. Clare's voice blows through like a breath of fresh air, full of snark and vivacity. She is an utterly loveable heroine, with complex layers that hide a sweet vulnerability beneath her bravado. Clare's appeal will draw readers into this supernatural saga, and the suspense will keep them on the edge of their seats, racking their brains to solve the crime before the final heart-pounding reveal.
Click here to purchase Clarity by Kim Harrington.
Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this novel. This did not affect my review in any way.
Come back tomorrow for my interview with author Kim Harrington!
Thanks to Chelsy and Big Honcho Media TWO lucky winners will receive a copy of Clarity!
- Leave a comment on this post (with your email address) answering the question:
If you could have any psychic ability, what would it be?
- +1 extra entry for coming back tomorrow and leaving a thoughtful comment on my interview with Kim Harrington
- U.S. Only
- Ends 3/13/11 at 11:59 pm EST
- Winners will be chosen via Random.org