I’d wanted to read Paranormalcy ever since I started to follow Kiersten White’s blog and fell in love with her witty writing style. The cover is also gorgeous and I am a big fan of the YA paranormal romance genre. Finally I got the book for Christmas and dived straight in with high expectations, as it had been raved about by many of my friends in the blogosphere.
The novel is about a girl called Evie who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, set up to confine and control paranormal beings. She is the only person there who can see through paranormal’s ‘glamours’-their magical appearances-to reveal what they really are underneath, so the agency use her to track down vampires, werewolves and hags and ‘bag and tag’ them. She’s fairly happy with her life until a shape-shifter called Lend shows up and she finds out that someone is killing off the paranormals. She begins having dreams featuring a mysterious faerie prophecy and starts to discover more about her mysterious identity and abilities as she tries to keep herself and those she loves safe. The premise is fairly simple, but the plot is filled with hooks and suspense that kept that me reading to find out if my suspicions about what happened next were true.
The characters are all really unique and interesting. Evie’s best friend Lish is a mermaid who also works for the agency, and her ex-boyfriend Reth is a faerie who seems to be constantly trying to win her back. One of the best things about the characters is they are multi-dimensional and believable. Evie’s boss Raquel makes a lot of bad decisions but is still likeable, Reth is mysterious and it’s unclear whether he can be trusted, the heroine is by no means perfect and even the ‘villain’ of the novel has sympathetic qualities. Evie herself is not your average innocent damsel in distress, fawning over an impossibly perfect love-interest. Instead she is strong, fiery and brave and admits to being selfish and human. The relationship between Evie and Lend is subtle, natural and realistic and didn’t have me reaching for the sick bucket like some paranormal romances.
The novel is written from Evie’s first person perspective, and her voice is funny, dramatic and snarky, just like your average teenager. It’s easy and fun to read, making it accessible to all ages but not particularly challenging for an older reader, and I couldn’t always relate to the pop culture references. At times Evie seemed very immature and shallow, and I tired of her sassy voice. However, some of the imagery is beautiful and very memorable. I found myself repeating the following quote over and over in my head:
“Eyes like streams of melting snow, cold with the things she does not know. Heaven above and Hell beneath, liquid flames to hide her grief. Death, death, death with no release. Death, death, death with no release.”
Unfortunately, the main reason I only gave it three stars is that it is aimed at a much younger readership than other YA books I have read. The swear words are beeped out, there is no violence or anything slightly above PG and it just seems to lack the depth of other YA books I have read. However, I would recommend this to younger teenagers looking for something different from all the vampire/werewolf novels out there, and to parents seeking a fun but safe read for their teenage daughter.