(Twisted Fairy Publishing, ISBN-13 978-0989013123, April 15, 2013)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo. Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her. When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible. Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.
Review: Everyone feels a little different somehow, but no one probably ever felt as different as Ember Brycin. <!–more–>
This was definitely an adventure into the clashing sides of human nature as Ember discovers just why she is so different from anyone else she’s ever known. You’d think the more you know about yourself, the happier you’ll be, or at least the more you’ll understand how to direct your energies in the way you want. Unfortunately for the sassy Miss Ember, this isn’t always the case. She spends much of the book trying to figure out who and what she’s all about, and eventually discovers she’s going to wish she could return to innocence. As she launches into a life she never suspected she’d have, or even existed, you might as well plan on putting your own life on hold for a while.
Ember’s energetic personality and spunky view on life meshes nicely with her 18-year-old persona as she tries valiantly to make it through her senior year of high school without any major calamities. Unfortunately, a jealous cheerleader has become just a little too good at pushing Ember’s buttons. While she can put up with people teasing her, Ember has a real temper when people pick on those she loves. Something strange always happens when Ember’s temper gains control. While Ember is struggling to figure out who she is and unsuccessfully trying not to get kicked out of school, she is discovering a place where she tends to fit in a little more than usual. Unfortunately, she still isn’t able to quite fit in. It’s nice to read such a realistic portrayal of a character who makes more mistakes than triumphs along her journey, especially when the journey takes such an unexpected tangent.
My repressed anger was reaching its crescendo. Tormenting me was one thing, but my friends were off limits. Rage I normally tried to keep on a tight leash started to break free. The darkness living deep inside me that I kept concealed from the world stirred. Trying to find its way out of a cage, it was like a monster I couldn’t control. “Look, I couldn’t care less if you like me or not, but don’t you dare talk about my friends like that,” I threatened.
“Or you’ll what? Hit me with your voodoo magic?” There was amusement but also a touch of fear in her smile. She was scared of me – most of the school was.
A wave of uncontrollable emotion gripped me. I heard a cracking from above; a single spark fell from the ceiling. All I could focus on was my deep-seated fury. “Shut up.” My voice broke through my gritted teeth. “You know nothing about me.”
“I know you’re deluding yourself into thinking people actually like you.” Kallie sneered. “And your friends are as weird and insignificant as you are.”
Blistering anger uncoiled and catapulted from every cell in my body. “Listen, you pathetically trite anorexic bitch …”
The lights above my head started to explode, drowning out the rest of my words. Kallie screamed as sparks and glass rained on us.
As much as I enjoyed the voice of the character and the break from the norms, I would have liked a bit more actual action. Taken as a whole, there wasn’t a great deal of conflict within the novel until very near the end. Until that point, everything that happens to Ember is as much a mystery to the reader as it is to Ember, which can be frustrating, especially when there are several other characters on the scene who seem to know exactly what’s going on. One of these other characters is the super hot love interest, a bad boy with no apologies. As hot as he is, it’s hard to see someone as fierce and independent as Ember falling for his charms given his animosity, direct lies, deceptions and treatment of her. The moment he starts to become likable, he becomes something else entirely.
In spite of its shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. The exploration of dark and light and that space in which they collide was an interesting concept to pursue and I’m eager to read the other books in the series. I’m hoping the character takes a more active role in her development in the next book, now that she has at least some of the answers she needed, and hoping she gains a bit more sophisticated taste in men who can treat her with some respect.
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