Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Reviews: Everlost

Starting today, I'm introducing a new segment on the blog: book reviews. I will be reviewing a book or series every week on Mondays from now on. These books can be old or new and be from any particular genre, but a lot of the books reviewed will probably be YA or MG. And at the end of the review, I will rate them on a scale of one to five. Without further ado, the Everlost trilogy...

When you’re a big reader, and your college roommate is a big reader, book exchanges are inevitable. And whenever my lovely roommate and I take a trip to the local library, we often end up throwing books into each other’s arms. It usually goes something like this:

“Have you read this?”

I bring this up, because that is how I discovered the Everlost Trilogy, by Neal Shusterman. My roommate shoved the first book into my arms and commanded I read it. And so I did.

The Story:
Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...
...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical, yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he's found a home, but Allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting, and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.
In this imaginative novel, Neal Shusterman explores questions of life, death, and what just might lie in between. (Summary according to Goodreads)

The Characters: 
Oh boy, are there a lot of characters in this trilogy. The plot summary for the first book mentions only Nick, Allie, Mary and the McGill but there a whole host of other dead kids who didn’t make it to the light. This book supports a large cast of diverse characters, all written honestly according to their age. These are kids. They’re emotional, they’re confused, they’re manipulative, they’re smart, they’re prone to anger but they have big hearts. And everyone, even the villains, have a likable edge to them. These books do moral ambiguity very well. And if you don’t like one character, not to worry. There are plenty of others to choose from.

The Good Points: 
The concept is intriguing and, as mentioned earlier, the characters are diverse and fun. You can point to at least one of the kids and say ‘yep, that’s me. That’s me as a kid’. The world is well constructed and I enjoy the interludes from books written by some of the various characters. It adds a lot of flavor and it’s a nice way to dispense world building details. Favorite characters were Mikey, Allie, Jackin' Jill and Jyx.

The Bad Points: 
Some of the romances could be predictable and often rushed. I liked some of the pairings but some were just kind of tossed in there. Not to mention, for all of its diversity, the series was a bit hetero-normative. It was written a little while ago, so its not exactly surprising, but for all the romances, I would like a bit of diversity in that area. I had no least favorite characters.

My Rating System: Since this is my first book review, let me explain my rating system. I rate on a scale of 1-5.
1 star= I loathed this book with a fiery passion from the depths of hell
2 stars= The book was pretty bad, but it didn’t offend me or incite bouts of rage
3 stars= The book left no impression on me, good or bad. It is an acceptable read if it sounds interesting to you.
4 stars= I really enjoyed this book, and it rarely let me down
5 stars= This book hit a strong cord with me and I will defend it as awesome until my dying breath.
Most books will get anywhere from 2-4 stars. Books only merit 1 or 5 star ratings if they illicit a strong emotional reaction from me, good or bad.With that said...

Final Rating: 4/5 stars.

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