Author: Amber Kizer (site)
Published: August 11th, 2009 by Delacorte
Price: $9.99 Amazon $13.74 Book Depository
Series: Fenestra #1
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.
Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.
Initial Thoughts: The main reasons that I picked this one up were 1) the gorgeous cover and 2) the amazing synopsis. It seemed so much darker than the usual teen fantasy novel. Things die around her- people die around her. How much creepier does it get?
Review: There was an awful lot going on in this book, and all of it was great. Meridian is a magnet for souls about to leave their bodies. She goes to her aunt's home to learn about herself and encounters an insane church cult (which almost stole the show with the Extra Scary factor added by the fact that it was all so realistic), a boy who is a complete jerk to her, and an aunt who is not long for this world (read: not long enough to teach her everything she needs to know.)
First of all, I LOVED the villain in this book. Using a church cult was genius. It balanced out the fantasy aspect of the book and made it much creepier. It's easy to imagine that kind of church taking hold of A Town Near You. The book would have been great even if it had just been about the struggle between the new religion and the unconverted townsfolk.
My next favorite thing- the guy didn't fall at her feet! He was, actually, a complete jerk for a good portion of the book. I don't mean to advocate a-holes here, but it was very refreshing to encounter a male lead who didn't immediately look upon the main character with soulful, adoring-yet-tortured eyes. I like to see a girl earn affection instead of this instantaneous R+J stuff. It was fine the first five books, but I'm getting tired of all of my YA books having Love At First Sight. On the down-side, once things did start getting somewhere, it felt too fast and a bit out of nowhere.
The story starts out with a bang and keeps to an exciting, fast pace throughout. There are no long chapters filled with nothing but school-day scenes. In fact, we don't get much of a feel for her life Before at all. I was a bit apprehensive about the half-angel thing (it's been done), but it felt very fresh here. She was a bit too whiny and heartbroken about the animals. Maybe it's because I'm not one of those people who enjoys an animal licking my face for five minutes, but I just felt a bit like she should Get Over It. This could be attributed to her angelic heritage, I suppose. The ending was great! I had a general idea of what was behind everything, but the way it all came together was perfect! I can't wait for the next book!
Quick Review: This book was exciting, original, and very creepy. Despite the fantastical premise, it felt very realistic-and very scary. I can't wait to see what is going to happen to Meridian in the next book.