Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nevermore (Nevermore #1) by Kelly Creagh: review

I told you in my first post EVER that I was going to start the book reviews with Passion, the newest Lauren Kate novel in the Fallen series. But I realized that I am in fact still reading it and that I'm sure you don't feel like waiting for what could be a whole week before I distribute a review. So here's an oldy, but a goody.

Goodreads rating: 4.11
Hardcover, 543 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Atheneum

1442402008 (ISBN13: 9781442402003)

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

Well talk about unique!! Sometimes unique isn't always good and authors find a way to screw it up, but Creagh is not one of those authors... About halfway through I was thinking this is a 4-star book, because it was good but it was getting to be a little monotonous. But the ending did not disappoint and hence bumped it up to 5-stars. These kind of books should seriously come with a sign that says: "Warning: Major cliffhanger that will make you want to kill for the sequel!"

I love Poe. Ever since I read one of his short stories in my freshmen English class (which I believe was The Tell-Tale Heart; sigh amazing), I've been totally hooked. I even have his complete works - bargain book at B&N - though mine's not leather bound like Varen's nor does it have magical powers. His stories and his life have always intrigued me. When I picked up Nevermore and read the inner flap, I wasn't sure what to expect. The title alone is provocative , and the synopsis is mouthwatering,. But... a young adult book, about Poe? I just couldn't see it. Luckily I threw my worries out the window and just plunged right in. And boy am I glad I did.

Kelly Creagh is an amazing and talented new author is YA. She makes everything so easily visible while still retaining so much mystery that it frustrates me. It's a happy-great-writing frustration though. And somehow she's able to make it a romance without Varen and Isobel barely ever touching. I'm getting shivers right now just thinking about it. I cannot wait for the second book in this series, and frankly anything from Creagh. I highly recommend this book, even if you've never heard of or read anything from the great Master of Death.

I feel like this book could have easily be split into at least two different parts only because of how different everything is at the end compared to the beginning. So, naturally, I'm going to start with Isobel who changed the most.

Old Isobel: Excuse my language, but what a beotch! She's the cliche cheerleader who has the perfect football boyfriend and gets perfect grades and does perfect handsprings and literally has no worries except if her makeup is smudging or if the cheer team is going to win Nationals. I hated the old Isabel. Then she's paired with Varen... and everything changes. And I mean everything. First, Brad (football boyfriend) decides Varen needs a talking-to just because he wrote his number on Isobel for their project. Isobel gets mad because her best friend Nikki basically told on her - some friend - and her and Brad fight and her friends ostracize her... The beginning of the end.

New Isobel: A cheerleader that actually cares? Unheard of! But I actually grew to love Isobel. She has a good heart, it was just covered up by the cheerleader uniform. She really starts to care for Varen and realizes that the stunts her so-called boyfriend and friends pull are cruel and that Varen has done nothing to deserve it. She can no longer sit idly by and just worry about herself and hope that everything will just return back to normal. She's sucked into the Varen vortex. And, somehow, she's a better person for it.

Backtracking here, let me just say that my feelings for Brad are bittersweet. Another example of this being a two-part deal. At first, Brad is way overprotective over Isobel and goes overboard with defacing Varen's car and beating him up. And the ice cream shop incident, I was seething. How could he just not care? Did he even like Isobel anymore? And then I kind of forget about him for a little while because of all the other stuff going on. Then, at the football game, my view of him starts to change. At first I was like he deserves to be having a bad game. But when it turns out it's the Nocs that are making him play bad - we'll get to them later - I actually worry for him as much as Isobel did. Then, when they're in Poe's world, he's turned into the Red Death and fights Reynolds - again, later - I feel like I misjudged him completely. I'm just glad Isobel ends up saving him by severing the tie between the worlds. More on that later.

Mmm okay Varen is unarguably next. I've kept him for the middle of the review to keep the suspense. Varen... is a weird one to say the least. Going off the guy from the cover, I'm immediately turned off. I'm not really into goths; most girls aren't. I think that's the whole thing with their image or whatever. But getting into the story, I slowly became more and more attracted to him. I lost track of what he looked like outside, kind of like Isobel did. She started to see who he was behind the mask, and I fell in love with him too. The one thing I couldn't get over was how crappy his home life was. It makes sense now (besides the Poe-esque writing) why he would go from blonde beauty to goth recluse. You'd rebel too and you know it. But it wasn't just about that. Varen made some kind of deal with this Lilith person, and I guess he loved her and had already decided to become part of her world. But Isobel sort of put a dent in that when he started dreaming about Isobel instead of Lilith and then fell in love with Isobel. Lilith didn't like that. The only other thing I can say is I hope - I know! - that Varen and Isobel will be reunited. There's still so many things we don't know about him and I honestly can't wait to find out.

Let's transition into Varen and Isobel. I can't call them cute, because there wasn't much of them. But the few moments they had... I have no words for them. Creagh wrote their story arc so well that I can't explain how every touch made me feel. Forget Isobel, I want that. And it wasn't just a brush of his knuckles or that glorious long-anticipated kiss at the Grim Facade. It was what he wrote too, especially that last letter that she found in his jacket pocket. I will see you again. He better! I want everything to work out in the end for them, but I'm not sure how they're going to get to the point where they can just be together without having to worry about anything paranormal or Poe-related. And more kissing. Much more kissing.

I'm going to squeeze in Nikki and Gwen here before we get too serious. If I had to choose, I'm actually not sure. Yeah, Nikki wasn't exactly being the best friend, but Gwen would get pretty old real fast. Busybody's annoy me and that's exactly what she was. I kind of hope Isobel and Nikki sort of patched it up and that they can all kind of be friends. I'm not knocking Gwen; she's the only person that was there for Isobel when everything was going down and I'm sure Isobel is eternally grateful. And she's hilarious! I actually can't wait to see more of her in the next book.

Annoying wouldn't even begin to describe the Nocs. They're like oversized gnats swarming to strike. They were the reason I began to feel bad for Brad. As much of a buttface as he was, he didn't deserve to be treated that way by them. It was strange that they were a creation of Varen's mind, something I'm still having trouble processing. One Noc in particular that annoyed the crap out of me was of course Pinfeathers. But he was also the character that confused me the most. Does he like Isobel, more than just the girl he's supposed to kill, almost kills, then helps? What is he to Varen? He's the one character besides Varen where there's so much I don't know, but want to know more than anything. I get the feeling he's going to have a big part in the next book.

Okay, we're almost done. Phew! Now... Reynolds. Reynolds is actually the most annoying character for me. He has impeccably good/bad timing, and I'm not sure if he's a villain, a hero, or something even more twisted. It disappointed me that he's Isobel's last chance to get back into the world where Varen's trapped. Will he help her? I mean, he has to right? Is he actually that soulless? I'll be interested in knowing his history too. I just want him to cooperate, but I have a feeling he won't be that easy to crack. He's obviously given up hope on bringing Varen back and I don't think he even cares. He has his own demons to deal with, but I hope he has a change of heart.

Last thing, the ending:
Just amazing. And disturbing. So much mystery I can't even fathom and a cliffhanger that me say where the hell is she going with this?? January 19th. Baltimore. Reynolds. Isobel's last chance at getting to Varen. To keep her promise to come back for him. Reynolds holds the link between worlds and Isobel just needs to get to him and convince him to take her. The question is, will he do it? I guess we'll find out... in 2012.

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