IS LIFE OFFERING FEWER AND FEWER OPTIONS?THEN JOIN THE DEAD.
When Annelise left for college, it meant good riddance to her abusive father and stepmother—until a bureaucratic screw-up left her without a diploma, flat broke, and facing a future that seemed more elusive than ever. Then she met Ronan—tall, dark, and way too seductive for her own good. He promised Annelise a new life, if she had the courage to chance the unknown. One look at him and she certainly had the desire. Sure enough, accepting rides from strangers does yield surprises.
Whisked away to a mysterious island in the North Sea, Annelise is pitted against other female recruits in tests of skill, smarts, and strength. To win is to become a member of the Watchers, an elite and unique partnership—with vampires—that dispatches its teams on the most dangerous missions imaginable. It’s not exactly what Annelise had in mind for a new beginning but it’s livelier than the alternative. Because on the Isle of Night, to lose the challenge doesn’t just mean dishonor. It means death.
Let the games begin.
I have a self imposed rule with books. I give them fifty pages to win me over. If I’m not intrigued by then, I tend to move on. I’ve never been so glad to have that rule than I am after finishing—and loving—ISLE OF NIGHT by Veronica Wolff because the first fifty pages did not entice me at all. But, and this is a big but, from then on, the rest of the book became one of the most dangerous, romantic, and exciting paranormal YA titles I’ve read all year.
Right out of the gate, ISLE OF NIGHT tripped and fell flat on its face and stayed down for the first fifty pages. Annelise, a brilliant victim of domestic abuse, did not endear me to her initially. She was supposed to be witty and sarcastic, but instead struck me as petulant and desperate. Her home life also came across as trite and insincere despite the sad circumstances. I didn’t feel sorry for her, and I should have. Especially when a handsome stranger sweet talked her first into his car, then onto his plane with promises of a new future.
Once Annalise and her tall, dark, and criminally handsome escort reached the Isle of Night, everything changed. Suddenly Annalise was witty and sarcastic. The references to her past abuse did arouse my sympathy, as did the situation she found herself in: a kill or be killed scenario with a secret academy of gifted girls all competing—whether they wanted to or not—for the chance to become Watchers, the deadly yet beautiful assistants of vampires. The school is seriously scary and girls are killed on a regular basis for breaking rules, failing to pass tests, or the whim of the vampire headmaster.
Mixing elements from Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Mean Girls, ISLE OF NIGHT may have problems at the start, but the rest of the book is about as good as paranormal YA gets. There are vicious girls, mysterious guys, scary and seductive vampires, and a school where prowess with a blade is just as prized as elegance in a ballroom. The complete 180 this book took still has me dizzy, and if it weren’t for those first fifty pages, I’d probably be giving ISLE OF NIGHT a 5/5 bat rating. As it is, I’m buzzing with anticipation for the next book in The Watchers series, VAMPIRE’S KISS, which will be published on March 6, 2011.
About the author
- Review: Towering by Alex FlinnMay 18, 2013