Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Publisher: Walker Children's
Length: 368 pages
Original Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2013
Where I got it: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"Eve has a new home, a
new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told
that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous
magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she
knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the
people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or
do—to her to get her to remember.
At night she dreams of a
tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during
the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let
anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her
eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she
blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that
days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve
must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but
the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined."
Main characters: 3/5
When the main character is an amnesiac, it is obviously difficult to get a lot of background. Despite this, I didn't feel a noticeable lack of depth in Eve. She stayed calm through her traumatic situation and her stubbornness about her memories and Zach were endearing. It was difficult to get a clear read on her personality because Eve herself is continuing to search for who she is. I would have liked to see a little more firm development of a personality throughout the story. Somehow Eve is the subject of a lot of male attention, which was a little bit stereotypically "heroine" of her.
Secondary characters: 4/5
Zach was so kooky. I think that's the best word to describe him. Like when he first meets Eve and starts talking about how he wants to kiss her. He also has this thing about never lying. Zach felt very real to me; he was never described as the incredibly handsome love interest. Another quirk was that he was very talkative. Read: he never shut up. But the ordinariness of Zach was refreshing and I love that some of his flaws were so upfront. As for the rest of the secondary characters, I loved seeing some of the history behind Malcolm and Nicki, but Malcolm felt too perfect and I wanted some more imperfections from him. I also wanted more time with our "bad guys" since they only appeared pretty late in the novel.
Writing style: 4/5
More than anything, Durst's writing demonstrated her remarkable and beautiful descriptions. However, her dialogue was also realistic, funny and easy-to-read and the pacing was well done. My one critique on the writing was that the book was just so darn long! We don't learn anything about Eve's past for a great deal of the novel and as interesting as it was, it can only keep my interest for so long. I was also unsure about the third person narration but Durst pulled it off and still allowed me to experience the same disorientation that Eve was going through.
Okay, I'm gonna admit it, I'm a huge sucker for psychological novels where the reader has to dig deep and think. The face that Eve had both short and long term memory loss and can't remember huge chunks of her life is terrifying... and a fascinating mystery for me as a reader. Beyond that, the world-building was subtle but incredibly well constructed and distinct. It was the first time I'd experienced something like this and I also loved the carnival influences running through the novel (although it might give me nightmares).
There were a couple points about this ending that were a little rushed and, if I'm honest with myself, could have just been cut out. Pretty minor stuff, but I was so caught up in the central plot that I just wanted to focus on that resolution. Still, I loved the final playout and that epilogue was gorgeous.
Best scene: Zach and Eve's kisses- all of them
Positives: The whole premise, the worldbuilding, the tension that arrives from Eve's memory loss, Zach, the writing
Negatives: A slow start, lack of development from Eve and secondary characters, slightly rushed ending
Cover: It's not really my style but it's definitely been growing on me. The simplicity is definitely eye-catching.
Verdict: Don't go in expecting a fast paced thriller, but this fantasy/mystery has a unique premise and incredibly strong worldbuilding plus that carnival premise!
Rating: 7.4/10 (4 stars)
Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be
adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!