Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Revel

There’s an island off the coast of Maine that’s not on any modern map.

Shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef, Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn’t her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? But Delia’s not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night.
Sean Gunn, a handsome young lobsterman, befriends Delia and seems willing to risk his life to protect her. But it’s Jax, the coldly elusive young man she meets at the water’s edge, who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. Delia is going to have to fight to survive. Because there are monsters here. And no one ever leaves Trespass alive. Quoted from Goodreads


I haven't read a whole ton of nautical or mermaid books (and by mermaid, I'm talking sea monster, siren, selkie, etc.  Basically I'm using it as a catch all for paranormal creatures that live in the water) but this is possibly the best one yet.

First, I should probably clarify, there are no actual mermaids or mermen in this book.  There are plenty of creepy sea monsters and slightly less creepy (well, some of them, at least) sea creatures, though.  I actually really enjoyed the whole maritime mythology Mauris sa Guibord created in this book.  It was unique, intriguing , and tangible enough that you totally believe this place could exist.

The first half of the book is really all haunting mystery.  Poor Delia only wants to meet her grandmother and see the place where her mom grew up.  Instead she gets this crazy and rather creepy town that time forgot, full of superstitious villagers and strange events she doesn't understand. First they don't want her there, then they won't let her leave.  I'll admit, it really bugged me that her grandmother kept so many secrets from her, especially about Revel, after it became clear that she was staying.  Still, it's slightly understandable.  No one in the village ever had to explain anything to anyone before because they all grew up with it, so there is a tiny excuse, maybe not the best one, but at least it's there.

Delia is an easy to connect with character. While she doesn't grow a lot in the book, she does discover who she is and find people who care about her.  Sean and Jax were also interesting characters.  It wasn't really a love triangle, though they make you feel like it could be.  With Jax you get the whole mysterious stranger.  Sean, well, he has his own secrets, and while Jax's were pretty easy to guess, Sean's blindsided me.  I mean, you know there's something, but did not see that one coming at all.

Honestly, I finished this book a week and a half ago.  Sometimes, it's in a books favor to me to write the review straight off.  I get so immersed in the world, I have a hard time leaving and the book's rating goes up a star.  Other times, it suffers from a lack of staying power.  I may have really enjoyed it, but I don't think about it much past turning the last page.  Despite the distance, this book is a solid 4 stars for me.  I loved the creepy atmosphere, the textured mythology, and the fact it's a stand-alone (I'm pretty sure).  If you're looking for a good "mermaid" book, this is it. 

On a side note,  I should mention to everyone, there is a Portland, Maine.  I'm not from the east coast, so when I read Portland, I think Oregon. It confused me just a bit at first.  It's not a bit thing, but it would have saved me a bit of confusion those first couple of chapters (though for the record, when I type Portland into google, Oregon comes up first.  Granted, Maine is the second entry, but still . . .).  Anyway, it's a great book, and if you're looking for a great ocean adventure, you should pick it up.

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