Author: Kelly Creagh
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Nevermore, book one
Star Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars
I bought a copy of this book and reviewed it.
It's no secret that even from the time I was a child, Edgar Allen Poe fascinated me. I read The Raven for the first time at twelve years old, and I thought to myself, "This is supposed to a be a poem? But it's huge!" Putting my protests aside, I began to read. Once I was finished, all the way to the end, I immediately sought out a volume of his tales, and The Raven is but one of my personal favorites.
And so began my love affair (*cough cough* obsession, more like) with Poe. Ever since, I've always been a huge fan of Poe, and people who use his work as inspiration. I bought Nevermore a few years ago, flushed with the two-day shipping that Amazon Prime offers, and tore through it in a good three or four days.
Where do I start with this? This book started out fairly typical. You guys know the trope. Boy and girl meet, girl thinks that boy is a freak until *gasp* she sees the light and they fall in love and it's all happily ever after, right?
When Isobel and Varen are teamed up for an English project, cheerleader Isobel is obviously less than thrilled. (I kept picturing Quinn Fabray in my head, thanks to Glee, but.) For his part, Varen isn't too happy himself. I mean, who would actually want to be paired in English class with Cheerleader Barbie? Forced into a partnership, the two grudgingly begin to talk, and as Isobel gets to know Varen, she realizes that there is so much more under his steely, dark facade, and as his obsession with Poe goes deeper, and he falls more and more under the spell of his own desires, things begin to get out of control, and maybe even their new love may not be enough to overcome the dark forces in their midst.
I'd first like to say that this book, and the author, get some serious points for creativity as well as originality. I've never had a book take me this deep into Poe's work before, and to use it as a platform for a world full of dark, horrible, half-formed beings, well. Let's just say I was sold.
And I love the way Creagh liberally sprinkled Poe's own prose into the novel to help propel the story. The pacing was breakneck, and even though the whole "I fell in love with my high school English partner" thing seemed a bit cliched, I really enjoyed it. And then there's the contrast between Isobel, blonde and angelic and popular, and Varen, the obvious outcast, the boy with his head stuck in a ratty old sketchbook, adorned with silver rings, piercings, and oddly enough, purple handwriting..
I also enjoyed the way that the characters were interspersed throughout the narrative. I don't want to give too much away, as this book is one of those that is best going into for the most part blind. But the gothic feel of this novel, combined with Poe's dark, often morbid, prose, only builds as the book goes on. Initially, I didn't really like Isobel. At first, she seems like the typical high school cheerleader, popular, above it all, and not afraid to turn away when uncomfortable things, but her character development was really worth reading.
And don't even get me started on the twists and riddles. Holy crap. I couldn't even deal with it. If there wasn't a new, often mysterious, character being thrown into the mix, there was a twist about Varen, or Isobel. And then there's Reynolds, the man that claims to be Varen's friend, when in reality he seems to have a lot to hide..
And that ending! That. Ending. Though. It was amazing, and if I didn't have Enshadowed waiting for me on my nightstand right now, teetering on top of my book pile, I would be livid. There's no way I could wait that long! More, dang it, more! I demand it! The bottom line: A highly original and frightening horror debut, Nevermore captured my imagination, and I'm so excited to see what the rest of the series has to offer me! Next on deck: Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh!