All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Paranormalcy – Kiersten White

on November 6, 2010

Paranormalcy had quite the hype around the Internet – blogs, goodreads, twitter, Amazon, etc. I reserved it from my local library while it was on order based on the strength of some of the reviews I’d seen. The cover is nice – attractive girl in a gorgeous dress, swirly dark paranormal type weather behind her. I had high hopes for this book.

Now that I’ve finished it, I can’t actually decide whether or not I liked it. I didn’t dislike it – but I certainly wasn’t turning every page like my life depended on it. The premise is interesting enough – 16yo Evelyn “Evie” has a gift. She can see through any paranormal creature’s glamour to what lies beneath, their true self, be it vampire, werewolf, troll, etc. She works for IPCA, the International Paranormal Containment Agency – bagging and tagging the paranormals so that they don’t harm humans. She’s a powerful asset to IPCA, given that she can immediately see what is lurking beneath the glamour and she appears to be the only person that possesses this gift. Although she wishes that life was a bit more normal for her and that she could do things like go to high school and date, she realises that life working for IPCA is better than being shunted from foster home to foster home like before they found her.

When paranormals start dying at alarming rates (IPCA don’t kill, they merely sort of…neutralise in a way that prevents the paranormal from attacking/maiming/killing humans kind of like the chip put in Spike’s head by the Initiative in Buffy the Vampire Slayer except instead of agonising pain, the ankle trackers will kill the paranormal if they try something)  Evie is drawn into strange dreams and voices and poems. That combined with the shapeshifter who broke into IPCA looking for answers and a threatening faerie who keeps trying to do sinister things to her, Evie starts to wonder if her and her odd abilities have something to do with the rash of paranormal deaths. She has to try and find out firstly just what she is and what she can do about stopping whatever is harming the paranormals.

Like I said, the plot itself was interesting and unique enough for me. I liked the idea of more paranormals being included than just the standard vampire/werewolf/fae as Paranormalcy also includes water nymphs, mermaids, trolls, hags among others. I liked the idea of an international agency that worked to contain the dangers the paranormals represented to humans and also the suggestion that perhaps they weren’t exactly taking the best actions. I think my biggest problem with this novel was character development in that there really wasn’t any. Evie, who narrates in first person, is very flippant, almost too witty. Like no one that is that sheltered, who lives their life in the IPCA compound and has no friends her own age can be that snappy with comebacks and amusing witty repartee. Reth, the fae who is sort of supposed to be Evie’s ex-boyfriend except that they never actually did anything other than dance and him trying to ‘fill her up’ with…something (which is not at all as dirty as it sounds) was sort of sinister but sort of not and I never quite knew whether I was supposed to fear him, or think that he was hot in that stalkery, paranormal love interest YA way or what. I just did not know. He lurks around in the background being all beautiful and enigmatic and also slightly threatening but also not threatening enough. If he’s supposed to be bad, make him badder. If he’s not, tone down the asshole act a bit. I like to know how I’m supposed to feel about characters. Lend, the shapeshifter who sort of inserts himself into IPCA in the search for answers about what’s happening to the paranormals was quite an interesting character but we see him through Evie’s immature eyes and I’d have liked to have learned more about him that wasn’t just about all the hot people he can shapeshift into. Because we only see him this way, he’s a bit bland – a bit too nice and cute and funny.

I also have big problems with the pacing in the latter half of the book. Without really going into anything that will spoil this novel for people that haven’t read it, there’s a section in which Evie is out in the real world, away from IPCA and it just crawls. I think it’s trying to almost show us what living a real life is like for Evie and the whole prom thing is rather cute but still, that section of the book really could’ve benefited from a bit of slash and burn. There’s just pages of nothing and then some more pages of nothing. And the ending is also oddly paced and doesn’t at all bring about the sort of interest and heart-racing that a climax should. It was almost a more huh? sort of ending and a big load of wtf. I’m aware that this is going to be at least a trilogy so I’m sure that there will be some things that will be addressed in the next novel or later novels but the ending didn’t really feel like an ending to me. It felt like there should’ve been another chapter or something that finalised the events a bit better. I felt like I was missing pages at the back of my copy but the ending wasn’t a cliffhanger that would make you want to rush about and immediately acquire the next novel when it’s published so you can find out what happens. It was kind of just a really odd place to end the novel.

Paranormalcy isn’t the worst of the YA paranormal novels out there but I definitely don’t think it’s one of the best either. Was the hype for this novel justified? For me personally, definitely not. It’s entertaining and it’s an interesting idea. Will I read the next novel? I will probably give it a chance, if I can get it from our library when it’s published. But it’s not something that’s gone on my wishlist to be awaited with anticipation.


Book #87 of my 100 Book Challenge

4 responses to “Paranormalcy – Kiersten White

  1. […] recently that I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I assumed I would with all the hype around was Paranormalcy. Although I think all the books I’ve mentioned had fundamental good ideas, the execution was […]

  2. […] Cover of a Book You Read in 2010: Paranormalcy. Didn’t love the book but it’s a lovely […]

  3. marissa says:

    I bleeping loved this book and the rest of the series. I hated to read my whole life then I found this book and couldn’t out it down. I feel in love with the characters evie and lend and there on going relationship and all the up and downs evie endured while on her missions. Jack was an amazing character with so much energy and enthusiasm that was so much fun. this is b far a great book and white was a great writer.

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