Friday, October 15, 2010

Review/Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Friday, October 15, 2010
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,

And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;

And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted - nevermore!

-- from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her 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 stories 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 imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.
(Publisher's Summary from Powell's Books)

If you are a fan of Edgar Allen Poe’s Gothic tales and ghostly poems, paranormal romances, and dark complex tales that twist you into knots then Kelly Creagh’s debut novel Nevermore is a must read. Creagh uses the mysterious circumstances surrounding Poe’s death to build a sinister world underneath the surface of her plot. The result is a macabre mystery that has both the main characters and the reader racing to find answers.

From the start, Creagh pulls the reader into the mystery. I loved how she begins with an account of the last conscious moments of Poe’s death. From there, the story moves to present day and introduces Isobel and Varen, the two must unlikely characters to ever fall in love. Pairing them for an English project was brilliant and while sparks started flying immediately, they were sparks caused by the friction of two totally opposite personalities (cheerleader and Goth guy) having to coexist to accomplish a mutual goal.  As Isobel’s contact with Varen increases, so does her attraction. This subtle building was one of my favorite parts of the story because it was far more realistic than love at first sight.

Creagh also builds suspense like a pro, and once again, I was amazed at how quickly and subtly she accomplished this through her characters and plot. Tension builds as Isobel’s idyllic cheerleading life falls a part. As Isobel tries to make sense of the bizarre unearthly events taking over her life, she sheds the stereotypical cheerleading image and becomes a courageous heroine on a quest to save Varen, who is a wonderfully complex character. He is almost ethereal but still sexy, caught up in a nightmarish world carefully designed and greatly influenced by Creagh’s fascination with Poe’s death. The book has several great scenes that add layers to Isobel and Varen’s unusual relationships. My favorite, however, is the presentation of their English project, which is superbly written and an excellent beginning to the story’s creepy and action packed ending.

While the ending is a real nail biter, I did find it to be confusing at times. I am also disappointed that I will have to wait for the next book to unravel questions left unanswered. I desperately hope that Isobel and Varen’s romance reaches another level and will be anxiously anticipating the sequel.

Nevermore is a brilliant first novel and Creagh’s has more than established her talent as a writer. I look forward to reading more from this author and have no qualms recommending this book to the YA community. 


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wonderful review! You already had me at Poe, as I LOVE his stories and poems. This is a must-read for me. Thanks for this great review! The slow-building romance is another thing that appeals to me. I'm not so keen on love at first sight because that leaves out all the lovely tension and relationship building. This is going on my wishlist - now.:)

Aleksandra said...

Great review :)

Melissa said...

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this, Jan! I thought the originality of this story was brilliant, and I love Creagh's writing style. Excellent review! :)

Book Sake said...

Great review and so glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I've been looking forward to reading this one and love that it's a "macabre mystery".

Staci said...

Your review has me wanting to read this one for sure. I really do like that cover too!

Kylie said...

I love Poe and the idea of a world created around his writing has me intrigued. Will definitely have to track this one down.

Nomes said...

i completely wasn't going to even look at this one (the cover turns me off for some reason). also, is it paranormal? i can't tell (from the review or blurb but the cover looks paranormal).

from the sounds of your review, it sounds like something i'd enjoy to read - i like gothic suspense and you gave it 5 stars! nice job.

Lily Child said...

Wonderful review! I am just itching to get my hands on a copy of this one! :)

thebookfairyhaven said...

I am so glad to hear that you love this book. I absolutely am dying to get my hands on a copy and the fact that you love this book, is simply adding to the need to get hold of a copy as soon as I can. Fantastic review as always.

Lizzy said...

I've been wondering about this one, glad to know it's worthwhile. I always appreciate when authors are able to build suspense and maintain the flow of the story. Great review :)

Shy said...

This is one of the book that I anticipated most for this year. I love it when you mentioned that the plot thickens more during the climax of this book. Seriously cannot wait to get this book and read that part myself!

Darlyn said...

Although the cover is somewhat scary to me but glad you enjoyed it. i want to!

chelleyreads said...

yes! isobel and varen are fantastic characters and that ending... URGHHH!!! like you i can't wait to read the sequel :D

Mad Scientist said...

I am too looking forward to this book. I'm glad you rated it high. That is whatt this lady likes to see when it comes to books on the TBR VERY SOON list :)

Mad Scientist

Manga Maniac said...

I had passed on this one, but after reading your review, I will check it out of the library. Thanks!

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