Sunday, January 6, 2013

Faerytale Magic Part II: A Book Review on Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Evie has a new job now, fulfilling her lifelong dream of living the normal life of your average high school student. But it's not everything Evie hoped it would be. She's stuck going to high school trying to earn good grades to get into the same college as her boyfriend and stressing over college applications. She's working at a diner for money and she lives in a small apartment with a vampire as a roommate. As much as she thought she wanted the "normal" life, Evie thinks back to her days at the IPCA and wishes for the chance to really matter, which is why she jumps at the opportunity to work for them again when they ask her back. But the missions go from bad to worse and the prophecy Evie thought was over has come back with a whole new force behind it. After learning that there's a war brewing in the Faerie world, Evie finds out that her life is inexplicably tied to the paranormals she truly hates, the Faeries. And unless she manages to figure out her part, Evie's whole world will slip through her fingers for good.

Blast. Blast, blast, BLAST!

Note to the reader: Don't read this review if you haven't finished the first book in the series, Paranormalcy, as this review will discuss plot points from the previous release as they pertain to this story, therefore making this filled with the occasional SPOILER!

For a book that I read and finished over the course of several hours, I honestly thought I'd reach the end and be floored by the sheer awesomeness of another adventure with Evie.

Except that it felt like nothing truly happened in this book until the last 60 pages finally rolled around. Then, wow, there went everything, so many revelations, all this new information is given only for the book to end and leave readers looking towards book three with just a bit of trepidation.

I was left feeling a when I finally finished Supernaturally a few days ago. I was eager to delve into Evie's new life, in which she was finally attending high school like she'd always dreamed of, where she had friends who had her back and a perfect boyfriend who understands everything about her.

But it turns out that it's not enough, after all. Because Evie now feels that she's not important anymore, like the way she was important at the Center, where she worked for the IPCA. When she's offered the chance to go back to work on a contract basis, Evie thinks this is the best chance for her. Evie will work on cases that her talent of seeing through glamours is particularly necessary for and she can say "no" when she wants to and continue living with Arianna, her vampire roommate, in an apartment over the diner where she works. It seems like a win-win situation, even though Lend disapproves because of his time in captivity at the IPCA and the things they've done there to other paranormals.

To get the technical stuff out of the way, White is still a brilliant writer. Her tone is concise, giving Evie the same strong voice we're familiar with, and everything moves at an easy pace. However, this doesn't distract from the fact that Supernaturally felt more like a filler novel, suffering from classic second book in a trilogy syndrome, just like other releases sometimes do.

Reth is still around, attempting to take Evie away to fulfill her part in a prophecy that the faeries are working hard to fulfill. After the events of the last book, Evie discovered that she has the ability to take the souls of paranormals into her body by touching them and opening a channel. The villain from the last book, a young woman named Vivian, went a bit crazy due to the neglect she suffered from her upbringing in a faerie court and went on a rampage, killing paranormals left and right by stealing their souls. Evie managed to stop her but the fact still remains that she has the very same ability as Vivian and the faerie courts are desperate to claim her as their prize, why we're still not sure and Reth isn't telling anyone the truth on the matter as he's apparently not allowed to.

So then Reth comes in, claiming she has a destiny to fulfill and that she must choose to come with him back to the faerie realm because of the prophecy. When Evie flat-out refuses he once again attempts to glamour her into accepting his touch. Thanks to an iron heart necklace gift from Lend, Reth ends up letting go of Evie and Evie has the chance to regain her bearings. She refuses and Reth decides to make a parting jab, irking Evie with the fact that maybe her new existence isn't enough to make her happy.

Cue the eye-rolling.

So Evie has already agreed to go back to the IPCA and Reth comes in to make things worse, making Evie more certain that she makes the right choices and now there's the added character of Jack, the new transport who has to work with Evie. As a human who is able to navigate the faerie paths, the IPCA thinks they have an advantage now that they no longer depend on faeries for help. Then you also have to add the fact that Evie has been receiving visits from Vivian in her dreams. After working through her issues with the creature who is almost nearly considered family, Evie actually welcomes her talks with Vivian. Considering that the faerie courts are very interested in their fates, Evie and Vivian must work through the clues together to understand the prophecy.

I wanted to hate Jack right away. I thought, "No, no way, not now, come on!, why?" Because I honestly thought Jack was added to be some other love interest meant to destroy Evie's world. But that's not the case, thank goodness. Still, the addition of the manic and unstable Jack is still a bit of a brow-scratcher, and his inability to understand cause and effect and consequences makes him an incredible annoyance and a thorn in Evie's side. He takes Evie on several jobs, jobs that end up getting Evie into more trouble than she should have been able to encounter. And each time something goes wrong, Evie is convinced that it's proof that the faeries are coming after her.

And that's the book, folks. Honestly, that's pretty much the entirety of the first 280 pages out of a 336 page book (hardcover, in case you're wondering.) We don't even get to see much of Raquel or David, who I was hoping would have more scenes as parental figures for Evie, as she is 16 and she's dreamed of having a family and they are the logical choice for surrogate parents. But no, we see them but there's not enough of them so that's a bummer.

Then Reth comes back and drops a big bomb on Evie's existence, throwing everything she believed out the window. Add to that the fact that Lend is very nearly not in this book at all, and when he is there, Evie is keeping secrets from him, and there's everything.

The last 60 pages reveals everything needed for the plot to advance, for growth to happen with Evie's existence and her understanding of herself and her place in the world. BUT it's the last few chapters of the book. Yes, I read this book in record time and I was entertained. I did think that Evie came off slightly whiny at some points because she was silly enough to think a high school life trumps being an agent that works with paranormals, because really, come on, high school sucks. And I didn't think the whole "secrets from Lend" conclusion that Evie came to made any sense at all. But when it comes down to it, I got through the book by choice, no one forced me to finish it. I still love the world seen in here, and I'm ready to read the conclusion to this trilogy.

Rating: 6.5 Stars

I liked the book. I'll read the next one, no doubt. Is Supernaturally as good as Paranormalcy was? Well, it's not as good but it's definitely not the worst either. Okay, fingers are crossed, and here comes Endlessly to finish out the trilogy.

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