Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie has lived and worked at the International Paranormal Containment Agency since the day she was found screaming in a cemetery as a small child. As far as the Agency knows, she's the only person in the world who can see through paranormals' glamours (like the vampire's she was screaming at that day long ago), which makes her invaluable to a group determined to bag and tag every paranormal pest lurking in the human world. All Evie wants is to be normal, but with a dangerous faery for an ex-boyfriend, an invisible shape-shifter for a crush, a mermaid for a best friend and a mysterious past coming back to haunt her -- she's about as far from normal as she can get.

In Paranormalcy, Kiersten White weaves a tale that feels utterly realistic, yet fairy-tale fantastic all at the same time. Her heroine, Evie, has the most authentic teen voice I've read, and is completely lovable with her sweetness and sass. Her importance to the Agency is oddly empowering and debilitating at the same time. Evie knows how to take care of herself (courtesy of her pink taser, Tasey), but she is under the strict control and monitoring of the Agency, her home and her job -- which is frustrating for both Evie and readers, who will cheer her on as she struggles for independence. She is surprisingly street smart, though she can be a little dense when it comes to faery commands. Yet, despite proving herself time and time again, even her mother figure, Raquel, works hard to keep her in the dark.

This is only the beginning of the Agency's questionable practices. Paranormalcy is surprisingly rife with questions about just what makes humans special in a world populated by the supernatural, and what right we have to treat paranormals like animals. Evie herself begins to feel some righteous indignation about the place she's always called home, which makes her character beautifully complex. Evie is wonderfully vibrant and alive, the kind of girl everyone will want to befriend.

The banter between Lend and Evie is sweet and flirty -- full of the uncertainty that comes with the first stages of a crush. White allows readers to see the bond between the two teens grow, and to enjoy the lightness and thrill of infatuation. The relationship isn't rushed, and watching them have fun together rather than launching into the burning passion of love is a nice change of pace which works perfectly with this bright and sparkling novel. Lend is unbelievably cute and absolutely perfect for Evie -- but not in a cheesy or annoying way. Readers will fall in love almost from the first moment they meet this unusual, vulnerable boy.

White builds a world of intricate hierarchies and complex philosophical questions of prejudice and discrimination, a serious streak that counterbalances the quips and quirks of her dazzling heroine. The descriptions are imaginative and unique, painting a vivid picture in the reader's mind of creatures both familiar and foreign. This world is populated by not only the ubiquitous vampires and werewolves, but also an incredible, original mythology of creatures who have no name. White's eclectic mythical menagerie and stunning imagination will leave readers in awe.


Click here to purchase Paranormalcy by Kiersten White.

Part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge.


Tiffany said...

I haven't gotten around to reading this one yet. But I'll have to get to it soon. Great review!

Khadija said...

Really great review! I read this one last year and really loved it and about a month ago I read my ARC of Supernaturally which was even better ^-^

Jan von Harz said...

I thoroughly enjoyed Paranormalcy and am excited about revisiting these characters in the sequel. I also read loved your review, which is spot on.

Lauren M said...

Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed Paranormalcy. I thought it was one of the best paranormal reads of last year. Evie's voice, like you said, is incredibly authentic.
I can't wait for Supernaturally!

Bookish Brunette said...

I seriously can't wait to read this book! I just haven't gotten around to it yet!!
The Bookish Brunette

danya said...

I thought you would like this one! I really enjoyed it, although in a strange way I preferred Reth to Lend...he was such a complex and ambiguous character. Just generally I loved the way the faeries were portrayed. And the cast of characters really is fantastic! Definitely looking forward to Supernaturally :)

Lori said...

I loved this so much! I'm going to read Supernaturally soon and I so excited!

Small Review said...

Gosh I love your reviews. You write so beautifully. If I were looking for blubs to put on a book, I'd seriously have a hard time choosing just one line from your reviews.

on a more squee-note, Yay! I'm so happy you liked it! Evie is one of my favorite characters ever and her voice is so real. I like how she's light and bubbly, but underneath she's also complex and unsure. I can't wait to hear what you think of Supernaturally. I just reviewed it and I loved it!

BookGeek said...

I. need. to. read. this. book.

Also, your reviews really are super awesome.

Happy fourth!

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Wow -- thank you guys so much for your kind comments! They really made my day =D I can't wait for Supernaturally either!!

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