Synopsis from Amazon:
In Ethan Wate's hometown there lies the darkest of secrets ...There is a girl. Slowly, she pulled the hood from her head. Green eyes, black hair. Lena Duchannes. There is a curse. On the Sixteenth Moon, the Sixteenth Year, the Book will take what it's been promised. And no one can stop it. In the end, there is a grave. Lena and Ethan become bound together by a deep, powerful love. But Lena is cursed and on her sixteenth birthday, her fate will be decided. Ethan never even saw it coming.
Firstly, I have to say I had a slight giggle to myself about the green eyes and black hair (I should really start a list to see how many paranormal protagonists we can find with green eyes and/or black hair).
The first person narrative is written from the perspective of the male protagonist (Ethan) something I did find hard to relate to being a girl and having three girls myself (J has to get in touch with his feminine side in our house or shut the door to watch sport).
There is dramatic tension almost from the first page. The background descriptions of the characters and the setting were fantastic and really fed my technicolor imagination.
The use of the Gothic convention of nesting (a story within a story) was deployed with great efficiency adding significance to the main plot.
There is clever use of the history of the civil war intertwining the story, although I can appreciate the detail and depth it added to the story it is probably easier to relate to if you are American and studied the Civil War. The references to To Kill a Mockingbird were intriguing and have certainly inspired me to read it.
I found the description of Ethan's aunts an ingenious parallel to the mythical fates or even the witches in Macbeth.
The references to religion and voodoo were extraordinary and well written, the cross-over element between religions was enlightening. Although, I found the classification of all paranormal/supernatural beings as Casters was too much of a generalisation for me, I appreciate that all things contain good and bad elements, the yin and yang if you will, but I like my neat little categories Vampire, Witch, Shifter, etc but that is just a personal preference.
The Gothic imagery was fantastic, I especially liked the description of the libraries (I wonder why!). The use of Latin and Welsh (yeah! WELSH) was just fantastic (not that I am biased because I am Welsh).
The action is tightly packed towards the end of the book and the ending is a cliff-hanger.
However, there were some elements that bothered me, I found the relationship between Ethan and Lena to be very intense considering their ages (15 & 16) perhaps it is just he mother coming out in me as I do not think I would be very happy if one of my daughters was in such an intense relationship at that age. I guess the point is that soul mates/reincarnation has no age limits. I also found Amma's changing attitude to Lena to be a bit confusing.
On the whole an enjoyable paranormal romance/thriller with some terrific quotes.
This one made me laugh and I can picture any 6 year old doing it:
This one makes you think:like I was 6 years old and had eaten all the dry jello mix out of the pantry
Lastly and more personal, this is how I feel about my mothers funeral where I had no say in how or where she was buried:Darkness, real darkness, was something more than just a lack of light.
I still can't think about her being there. It doesn't make sense. Why would you stick someone you love down in a lonely old hole in the dirt? Where its cold, and dirty, and full of bugs. That cant be how it ends, after everything, after everything she was.