Author: Melissa Marr
Released: September 16th 2014
Lenght: 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.
There is nothing even remotely new or original about this book, but that’s not a reasonable expectation within the (paranormal) mystery genre. The important thing is to find a perfect balance between suspense, character development and a well-built mystery, and Marr achieved this to absolute perfection.
Marr is excellent at building tension slowly but steadily. The constant promise of senseless violence combined with Eva’s horrifying visions keeps us wide-eyed and at the edge of our seats, fully convinced that the killer is coming for everyone, Eva included, and that they stand very little chance of actually stopping him. As expected, there were a few red herrings along the way, and they were pretty easy to recognize as such, but the identity of the killer remained a mystery to me until it was casually, brilliantly revealed at just the right time.
Eva approaches the world with refreshing honesty and directness. The willingness to say exactly what’s on her mind at any given time is her most admirable quality by far. With one understandable exception, she expresses her thought and feelings with candor we all wish we could achieve, but aren’t brave enough to actually try. In a town where status is everything, she is the uncrowned princess, daughter of the richest, most powerful family in the tight little Southern community. But Eva, while well-aware and respectful of her position, approaches it with a healthy dose of self-irony and makes it impossible for us not to admire her for it.
The romance also worked well, even though the timing could have been better. I liked the idea of two childhood best friends finally coming together, and I liked Eva’s behavior toward Nate tremendously. For his part, Nate took his time in finally admitting his feelings, but when he did, there was no doubting his honesty and devotion.
In the end, while the well-built mystery certainly helps, for me it all comes down to Eva herself. The story is told from multiple perspectives, but Eva rules this book like she does her small community – gracefully, convincingly and by making smart decisions the entire time.
Brava, Ms. Marr. I am thoroughly impressed.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review puposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.