This book started off fairly strong, and I was immediately hooked into the narrative by Kali’s cheeky tone of voice. As far as narrating protagonists go, I thought Kali was down to earth, had an engaging personality, and interacted realistically with her peers. I wouldn’t say she was particularly well-rounded, though. In general, I think the characters Jennifer Lynn Barnes portrayed in this book lacked depth.
The setting presented in Every Other Day was interesting and unique, though I think maybe it lacked a bit of explanation. Similarly to Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, humans and paranormal creatures live side by side under a somewhat uneasy truce with specific government involvement. Beyond that, though, Barnes left more questions unanswered than I would have liked.
But on to the meat of the story, which can be described in a single sentence: Kali has a chupacabra inside her named Zev.
If that isn’t an attention-grabbing (and sketchy) conflict, I don’t know what is.
So, because of Kali’s every-other-day condition, she’s on a bit of a time crunch to get said chupacabra out of her body before it kills her. Together with a some newly-acquired friends from school, Kali goes off to save her own life, encounters quite a few paranormal creatures, and uncovers a group of scientists with suspicious motives.
But then it turns out that Kali and Zev are soulmates, they’re destined to be together, they have a unique connection, yadda yadda. Nine times out of ten, soulmate status is really just code for “BOOM, instalove.” I mean, if two characters have some sort of supernatural bond, who cares about forming a lasting relationship or getting to know each other? Trivial stuff, really. Quite pointless.
Other than the regrettable instalove, I did enjoy the ending. Barnes left Every Other Day open-ended and subject to interpretation. Those are always my favorite kind of final scenes, especially in a standalone that has no sequels planned. That way it’s like I’m merely experiencing a slice of the characters’ lives; I personally think it keeps things interesting.
Though Every Other Day was far from being perfect, I found it to be a fun, fast-paced urban fantasy. Jennifer Lynn Barnes probably could have fixed a lot of the issues I found here, but as is, I think this is still a good book.