Monday, December 12, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Books for Young Readers)
Released: July 26, 2011
Author's Blog: http://www.karstenknight.com/
Genre: YA Paranormal
Challenge: YA Debut Authors 2011, Fantasy Reading Challenge
Ashline is just a girl trying to fit in, the only Polynesian girl in an all-white neighborhood. But her older sister, Eve, won't let her fit in, and when Eve uses her strange powers to electrocute a girl in front of Ash, Ash moves across the country to a boarding school. That doesn't protect her from Eve, though, as her older sister keeps on appearing. And to top it off, Ash finds out that she is actually a Polynesian goddess, summoned to Blackwood with five other gods and goddesses - and that's when things start to get really interesting.
Whoa - the action, the non-stop, quick-fire dialogue, the lightning (excuse the pun) pace - this book is really amazing. It's an interesting twist on the reincarnated god theme, especially since the kids spend most of the book being uncomfortable with their new identities and not knowing what to make of themselves. The transition from them seeing themselves as regular teens to fully embracing their god-ness is so natural, so smooth and gradual.
What I think makes this book stand out so much is this: Because it's written by a man, we get a very different perspective than most YA Paranormal novels. I actually don't think I've ever read a paranormal novel before this that wasn't written by a woman. Don't get me wrong - women writers are fantabulous, and they get the voices of both the girl and the guy really well. Otherwise I wouldn't keep going back for more! But with Karsten, the whole tone of the book is slightly different. The guys' thoughts seem more clearly masculine, and the side effect is that the girls are more sarcastic and kick-ass as well. And I like it. There's still ruminations and introspection, but proportionally there's more action - and more unbridled anger.
There's also an element of mystery to the book, an added level of suspense as Ash - and the reader - tries to figure out who's who, who's what, and what's who. That'll make more sense when you read the book - and you should definitely read the book!