Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Atheneum Books)
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Type: Paperback, boughtCheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear that he'd rather not have anything to do with her, either. But soon Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her freinds and possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying shories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagned and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Can she save Varen from the madness taking hold of him? Or will they both be consumed by the shadows of his nightmares?
*Disclaimer* I am writing this semi-blind, so if there are an abundance of typos, please inform me, and I shall go over this as soon as I receive glasses. Also, it will be rather short. My apologies.
I so wanted this one to be good. It seemed to have gotten a much more positive response than the majority of YA PNRs in the market today, and it was based off of Poe. I absolutely adore Poe, so that immediately sold it for me.
I was a bit confused when I originally looked at the rating on Goodreads. It was not a bad rating, certainly, but not nearly as high a rating as I'd expected, considering all the top reviews were four or five stars. And then when I finished, I couldn't fathom how people might give this less than a four. But then I realized. While I certainly do not have proof of this, I'd wager a guess that the one or two stars came from those who read the first 100 pages or so and then just gave up. DNF. One or two stars.
I will admit that the first 100 pages or so are a bit of a slog. It would seem that stereotypes and melodrama abound, and there is little-to-no supernatural to be seen. I was a bit put off, but I reminded myself of the glowing reviews and the fact that this book had 443 pages left, and I pushed on.
I am so glad I did.
This book is everything I wish paranormals of today would be. It is dark and haunting and ridiculously creative. It is a book with real characters and real relationships and real emotion. It doesn't just have a plot -- it has a crazy, beautiful, ridiculously complex story spanning over 500 pages without dragging. It is centered largely around the works of a literary god and does him justice. It has a female main character that thinks for herself and doesn't need a guy to prove her self-worth. It is fantastic.
I could ramble to you for pages about the gorgeous descriptions and incredible characters and mind-blowing world, but I'd rather not, because I think you might get a little tired, and my eyes hurt. Suffice it to say this book rocked my (nonexistent) socks. It was not flawless--there were a couple characters, like Alyssa and Mark and Lacy, who did stray into the realm of flat stereotypes, and some aspects of the plot could've picked up a bit sooner. But honestly, that didn't really affect the sheer awesomeness of this book. While this is technically a 4.5, I have no regrets in rounding it to a 5. August had better come soon (or an Enshadowed ARC had better come sooner).
P.S. My friend and I spent about half an hour trying to decipher the words on the cover, despite my sister insisting that the cover maker did not intend them to be deciphered. We were only able to make out a few small words and phrases. If anyone else managed to make out more, I would love to hear about it . . . *hint hint*