I got an ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine program. This was an interesting book and I am still struggling a bit about how I feel about it. Parts of it were great and parts were very deliberate and boring. This is a massive book; over 600 pages and it was an interesting story. It seems to me like the ending is left somewhat open for a sequel; although I wasn’t able to find any information on whether or not there is going to be one.
Ethan Wate has been dreaming about a girl. In the dream he is always trying to hold on to her in a raging storm, but she always manages to slip away. This is the biggest event of his life right now given that he lives in the boring typical southern small town of Gatlin. Then one day a new girl shows up at school, Lena Duchannes. As a new girl she gets a lot of flack from the other kids, on top of that she is the niece of the town recluse who lives in the supposedly haunted estate of Ravenwood, which doesn’t help her popularity with the kids any. When Ethan first sees her he realizes that she is the girl he’s been seeing in his dreams. Ethan finds out that Lena is more different than he could ever have imagined. Lena is part of something big and, as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena will face the biggest challenge of her life. Lena will find out if the dark or light in her soul will prevail and the results will change who Lena is forever.
There were some things I liked about this book. The whole book has a very mysterious and urgent aura that hangs on every word. This book is as much a mystery as anything else. The characters are very well done. You are really pulling for Ethan and Lena throughout the book. The supporting characters are also very well developed; for example Amma and Ravenwood both have intricate and interesting pasts. You can tell a lot of work went into making this book as historically accurate as possible. There are a ton of interesting facts about Gatlin and they are all well-woven into the plot to give the story a lot of believability.
There were also some things that I didn’t like about the book. The first 200 pages were very slow moving; they did build some tension into the plot but I had some trouble getting through them because I thought it got kind of boring. I also thought during this first part of the book that the foreshadowing was just overdone; I understood that Lena and Ethan had a connection very quickly and I was confused as to why this was drawn out so much. Then for the next hundred pages the action was non-stop and the story absolutely griping. Then after that there were another 200 pages of nothing much happening and boredom. Then again the last 100 pages were non-stop action and the plot was developed so quickly that it was hard to stop reading. I personally thought that the book could have been paced a bit better; then I wouldn’t have had to struggle to stay interested for the majority of the book.
I also groaned a little bit when I realized that this book was yet another teen book channeling the whole “Twilight” premise of boy and girl can’t be together because one of them isn’t exactly human, but yet they will struggle to find a way.
Overall this book gets 3.5 stars from me. I liked the writing style, the magic, the detailed history and the mystery. I didn’t like the erratic pacing and the overlying story of yet another pair of star-crossed lovers. By the end of the book, I was mostly glad that it was finished. I wasn’t struck with a yearning to find out more about these characters. To be completely honest if there is another book in this series I probably won’t read it…especially if it take over 600 pages to deliver a 300 page story.