This felt like a book I would’ve had to read in an English Literature class in college – and I mean that in a good way. Everything about the writing and the story felt legitimately true to the period, like this was an old, classic book I’d somehow missed all these years.
The writing is phenomenal. It’s not a long book, and the author makes every word count. Her descriptions are perfectly refined to give the reader exactly the amount of detail you need. The plot certainly isn’t action-packed (that wouldn’t fit the genre at all), but the slow build works very well as you focus on the psychological aspects of the story. I was never bored because the tension constantly increases as matters of the heart grow more and more complicated.
This book is, after all, about how these characters are “darkened.” I absolutely loved how I started thinking one character was maybe an okay person, but then they grew to be terrible. And then another character did the same thing to me. And then another. Several times I said to the pages “Oh, no…” because a character would do something so evil to another character (keeping it vague here to avoid spoilers, but I literally gasped several times). But, because the author does such a good job developing these characters, everything they did felt like a natural progression of their true nature. And you STILL cared about them.
So, yeah, I recommend this one. It’s not the kind of book you often see anymore, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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I’m a sucker for any opportunity to read about a new alien world, and the one in this book is pretty good. In a few short pages (most of the book is set on Earth), the author does a great job of describing this alien planet, alien animals, and alien people. You get little glimpses throughout the book at just how different – and more powerful – these more evolved aliens are, and little bits about their history and abilities were interesting to me so that I’d like to see/read more.
Mostly this book is focused on Earth and the impending danger the aliens might bring. Poor Eckta gets dropped here and stuck with us, and he’s a good character – a little bit Superman, but with more of an “alien” foreignness. Other than him, it was a bit difficult to lock down who the main characters were going to be early on because of jumping from one character to the next, and no one was ever safe. But each character along the way is fleshed out just enough to be believable, giving a well-rounded look at how Earthlings might deal with such an alien as Eckta. The government reaction and what they did with him was all-too believable, if a little predictable.
The movement of the plot was rough for me. Everything moves really, really fast and could have been fleshed out better. A lot of the government activity behind the scenes (avoiding spoilers) seemed implausible and forced. A lot of the story just lacked a feel of reality for me – I know this is about aliens, but how the plot moved and what happened with the characters felt unlikely. Another round of edits would probably help too, as there were a few goofs.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the story. It’s quick and full of action, with a likeable character at the center.
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I usually get sick of teen girl stories, but this one was unique enough that it drew me in. You immediately have sympathy for the main character in that she lost her parents in 9-11, and you get to read her thoughts and emotions so that you know her pretty well. The other members of the family were all likeable too, as were most of the townspeople she encounters. There were of course the ‘mean girls’ type, but even they were given dimensions.
The overall mystery of what’s going on in the Hollow was great. I wanted to find out more with every hint I was given, and so that’s what kept me reading. I loved the way the author used the different timelines/storylines to show the history behind the mystery. The characters in these storylines were also complex and interesting, and the author’s ability to add historical flavor was a nice shift from the modern day feel of the main storyline. How everything came together was a surprise that I greatly enjoyed…but I won’t spoil anything.
One thing that bugged me was the constant mention of name brands. I get that this girl likes fashion. I know the author was trying to show that. But it was too much, in my opinion, and often distracted from the events going on. I also wasn’t crazy about the ending. It seemed a little melodramatic, and it made me a bit uncomfortable that…what happened… was portrayed as the best thing to make her happy again.
All in all, this was an enjoyable YA/mystery/ghost kind of story that you can read pretty quickly and keeps you entertained.
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