Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
543 pages, Hardcover
Published on August 31, 2010

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.
Isobel was one of the best protagonists I've read about for a really, really long time. She was relatable, smart, and her reactions were totally believable. My only real problem with her was the fact that she was dating Brad and hanging out with a bunch of jerks for so long. It seemed like she was smart enough to see how shallow they all were, and unrealistic that she would have stayed so shallow for so long when she was obviously an intelligent girl. Her slowly developing affection was played out beautifully, too. Varen Nethers is pale, skinny, wears all black, and is practically living in his own world. So why would I dump every single one of my fictional boyfriends for this goth boy with an attitude? Probably because he was so mysterious, poetry-obsessed, quiet, and passionate. Craegh created main characters that were diverse and realistic. Brad was a jerk and mean and I basically hated him through the whole book, but I still managed to understand Isobel's actions when it came to him. That was probably the second best part of the novel: how Craegh did a wonderful job of making everything feel real, even when the world was upside-down. Lastly, Gwen was the best friend I've always wanted to have; she was quirky, funny, caring, and awesome in every meaning of the word. Even the characters I hated I loved reading about. The villains (again, I'd give away too much to say who they were) were chilling and left me staring at the dark around me late at night.
The story was gorgeously crafted. I've never really read Edgar Allen Poe before, but after this novel, I'll be going to the library to check him out. The mystery was bone-chilling and kept me up until morning reading them. The story wasn't always fast-paced, but it was always well-paced, never boring or useless. And this was by far the most original young adult paranormal romance I've read ever. Craegh not only created a world that was dark and dangerous, but one that had never before been touched on. To be honest, I've gotten sick and tired of werewolves and vampires and demons and angels. There were a few demons in this story, but other than that, everything was brand new and I loved it. I even loved how the author never fully elaborated on everything, some things remaining a mystery. I truly only had one complaint: the ending was a total and complete cliffhanger and I'm not sure I can live all that much longer without knowing what happens.
Oh, what to say about Craegh's writing. I've been reading a lot of books lately that have had good stories and moderate writing. Not at all the case with Nevermore. The story was fantastic, the characters felt real, and the writing was the best part of this novel. While I was reading quickly to see what was going to happen next, I found myself re-reading paragraphs because of the delicate way Craegh wrote. The descriptions were unbelievably detailed and beautiful. From the way Varen's hair framed his porcelain face to the lace on Isobel's dress, everything was so perfectly recorded, like an actual event taking place. The excerpts of Poe's writing and Varen's notebook entries were expertly inserted and added much to the well-developed story line. I can't tell you how many times I would have to stop and admire the intricate way Craegh portrayed everything. Even the way she described Isobel's emotions was amazing. I'll definitely be picking up every one of Cragh's new novels if she keeps up this work.
Overview: Nevermore is one of the most original, best written, detailed YA books I've read. It was well-paced, realistic, and had lovable (and hatable) characters that were three-dimensional and interesting. The story line was unlike any I've read before and the writing was smart and beautiful. While I was flipping pages, I was also slowing down so that I could absorb the detail of everything. It was the kind of book that gets into your head and makes it near impossible to think about anything else. I've found myself less and less interested in the paranormal romance genre, but Nevermore sucked me in and refused to let go until the last page. And even once I had closed this book it had a grip on me. Surprisingly, it was even thought-provoking, touching on topics about dreams and what is real and what isn't. Isobel's struggle to figure 
out what was real and what was her (or Varen's) imagination run wild. It was creepy at times and breath-takingly romantic at others. It had that kind of romance that makes you weak in the knees while making your heart pound. The only way I could imagine someone not enjoying it would be if they hated all things romance. There was nothing major for me to complain about, other than the fact that I'm literally dying to read the sequel.

Cover Rating: 5 stars
Character Rating: 5 stars
Plot Rating: 5 stars
Writing Style Rating: 5 stars
Overall Rating: 5 stars


Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Great review. I loved this book because of it uniqueness and Varen of course. I only wish the sequel was out now :)

Caroline said...

@ Nic - I'm just dying to get it. Varen really was incredible. :)

Kat said...

Awesome review-- the way you describe Nevermore (and especially Varen) makes me want to run to the bookstore and grab it up! I too have lost a lot of faith in paranormal romance lately, but this one sounds like it could redeem my opinion. Looking forward to reading more of your reviews. :)

Caroline said...

@ Kat - It certainly restored some of my faith in the genre. :)

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