Okay, sorry about not posting for the past couple of days (well, Monday wasn't mine, but there was also a good reason for that). Here's the thing, I knew what book I wanted to review. I finished it Monday night, just perfect for reviewing on Tuesday, but . . . Yes, but. I'm still not sure how I feel about this book. There were parts of it I really liked and parts of it that weren't really my cup of tea. I thought an extra day would help, but I'm still figuring out where I stand on this. I even went so far as to read other reviews to see if anyone captured exactly how I felt, but no dice. Most people were big fans of Kresley Cole and reviewed it from that standpoint which didn't help me at all.
So without further ado, here's my review, and if it's a bit disjointed, I'm sorry, but that sort of reflects my thoughts for the moment.
She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side . . . Quoted from Goodreads
So first thought in my jumbled brain: the cover is beautiful. Seriously, that is what drew me to this book in the first place, well that and Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study. Not that this book is like Poison Study at all, because it's not, but that's what the title made me think of, so beautiful cover + great title association = I was absolutely going to read this book. Plus, the synopsis sounded fun. 22 teens with powers based on tarot cards sounds pretty original; add a post-apocaliptic setting, and I'm sold.
So what's the problem, you ask. Well, first there's the crazy. I am not a big fan of my main characters thinking they're crazy, and that's how Evie spent the first 100 pages of this book. Yes, it shows that Evie has been through a lot with her emerging powers, but after the Flash (that event that turns Evie's hum-drum world of privilege and high school parties into the terrifying--and much more interesting--setting of the rest of the book) is when the book really starts to pick up. Don't get me wrong, I like the contrast between then and now, and the crazy does add tension, but it took me a couple of days to wade through those first 100 pages to the Flash. Then things got taken to the next level, and I couldn't put the book down.
My second issue was Jack. Half the time I love him. He is flawed, moody, strong, and interesting all at the same time. And Cajun, which is just fun. Plus, his background makes his amazing survival skills absolutely believable. But every once in a while he would do or say something that would drive me crazy (and not good-crazy). Then I would rethink my entire love of the character.
Contrasting with these problems, there are moments of brilliance, which is what makes it so hard to write the review. First, the opening chapter. Absolutely creepy in a good way. I love the whole "open in a moment of peril and then see what brings the character to that point" device, and Kresley Cole absolutely nailed that first chapter for me. Then there's her writing. You know the woman can write (I mean, she has like 20 books out), and she is good at sucking you into her world and her characters. Honestly, you can tell this is her first YA book, and just a heads up, it is absolutely for older teens, but I probably never would have picked up her adult books, so this was a nice surprise.
Then there's the amazing ending. I love that Evie finally embraced what she had been fighting the whole book and stopped playing the victim. I really like her character arc, and while she was a bit useless in the beginning, she grew up a lot. I love her little conversations with Death and can't wait to see where that's going. I love the rain. I know it sounds weird, but it's absolutely a game changer. And finally we get to that beautiful, creepy first chapter.
Anyway, I'm giving this book a hesitant 3 1/2 stars. Sometimes I thing it should be more, other times less, but I'm absolutely going to read the sequel. I have great hopes that all the problems in this book will be solved and it will be nothing but pure genius.