It's a very fun, lighthearted read-- a definite YES for supernatural fans!
I couldn't put it down!
One word: LOVE. Her ex-boyfriend is a faery, her best friend is a mermaid, and she’s falling in love with a shapeshifter—what?! Well, this is the case for Evie, a sixteen year old girl working in the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA for short). She can see through paranormals’ glamours, which makes her a prized gem in the eyes of the IPCA. Oddly enough, Evie always considered an IPCA-lifestyle normal because really, that’s as close Evie ever gets to being normal. That is, a huge epidemic is occurring with paranormals suddenly dying. Then there’s the weird dreams she’s been having, learning of untold prophecies and voices. Could she be the link between the paranormals dying? Not everything is as it seems. So much for being normal, right?
I know I enjoyed this book the moment I actually took the time to recommend this to sister, who loved the summary. And I’m not usually one to hand over my book to my little sister, so I thought maybe that little action alone was saying something. It was the summary of the book which had me hooked to begin with, because my fangirlish senses were being overwhelmed by the fact of having so many supernatural and mythology creatures in one place. Yes, yes, YES.
So, Evie is a rather… interesting character. She’s the main lead of Paranormalcy, and it didn’t surprise me much that she was a total bad ass. I mean, she’s able to take down a VAMPIRE. Yes, Evie can be annoying and has a whiney tone that sounds way too annoyingly teenagery to sound authentic (am I the only one who feels like she talks like a stock character high school girl? Just me?) But she’s very fun-loving, an, and the more her past begins to unravel throughout the book the more interest I came to have for this book. Just the entire universe for Paranormalcy is amazing, is a definitely different take on all the paranormal romance fluff.
There’s just so much realism to when it comes to paranormals in this book. Or in this instance, as real as a paranormal book can sound…? What surprised me even more is how true Kiersten White stood to folklore and mythology while offering her own creative flair. That gets a total kudos from me, a total fae freak here.
What was kind of disappointing is the lack of character development some characters were given. Evie and her gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Reth, had so much development in their characterization—moreso than others. The way the two blended together was amazing. Match Evie’s feistiness with Reth’s suave faery attitude and charm and you get… perfection. When it comes to Evie’s romantic interest, for me, not so much. Don’t get me wrong here, her romantic interest is captivating enough with a shrouded past and an unclear future, and it’s nice seeing how doting upon he is on Evie. He is a shapeshifter, after all and blended into the story well, but I just feel as though there’s a bit of hollowness when it comes to his persona. Same with Evie’s best (and only) mermaid pal, Lish; it was hard to see her as Evie’s supposed “best friend” when the only real interaction they had in the novel was essentially in one chapter. Overall, when it comes to the terms of the characters, they’re not very as deep and thought provoking and emotional as a reader could hope for but fun, which really makes Paranormalcy more of a light read. Evie’s sparkly-tasey-pink personality was a little overbearing, but a bit endearing. She’s sassy, and she’s smart, and that’s just how I like my heroines. *snap*
It does end up being a bit darker than what I anticipated it being (which leads me in reference to the gorgeous cover). When I read the front flap of Paranormalcy’s hardcover, it was surprising to me that Kiersten White actually managed to go that in depth to how the faery courts work, and many different mythological characters that aren’t really represented in books. Rarely. And considering how lighthearted this seemed initially, Paranormalcy and faeries playing a major role in it was a big surprise for me (the good kind of surprises, of course.)
So overall? I do recommend it—but only to a select crowd of readers. I’m not saying for only girls to read it, but Evie’s constant perkiness, shrill, and fangirling will probably appeal to the more romantic readers. I can see it being enjoyed by pre-teens and teenager girls who are going through their own little vampire-werewolf supernatural craze, and perhaps adults too if they love supernatural/paranormalish books. The characters were a bit of disappointment and maybe I would’ve enjoyed them more if there was a teeny, well, bit more empathy given towards some of them. Maybe while the characters are letdowns, I can easily say I did enjoy Paranormalcy and what makes up for my own character displeasure is a fun plot to make this book a lighthearted read.
I’m currently convinced that Kiersten White is some kind of YA genius. I mean, YA paranormal romance is “the genre” these days (well it was before dystopians came along)—everyone and their pet turtle is writing something paranormal. And for my little historical fiction loving self, I’ve always been on the fringes of that genre. Well, let’s just say that if I were ever to write a paranormal romance for myself, I’d want it to be almost exactly like Paranormalcy.
For one, Paranormalcy isn’t a very serious book. In comparison to all the doom and gloom paranormal novels out there, this one is suprisingly upbeat and fun. It’s like a paranormal beach read or something. It’s so girly and cute, contrary to the dark and mysterious cover.
The best part about this paranormal is that it has it all. Literally. Vampires, werewolves, mermaids, faeries, trolls, hags, nymphs. It’s like the supernatural family get together. Supes R Us or something. And it totally turns the whole “only one kind of supe per series“ thing right on its head.
And like I said, Paranormalcy is totally girly. There’s kissing and prom and soap operas. Expeditions to the mall and conversations about makeup. It’s just really fluffy and totally not what I was expecting.
Now okay, Evie, the main character is a teensy bit shallow and is most likely a Mary Sue. However, she was really fun. I mean, she carries around a pink rhinestone taser named “Tasey” and has an obsession with clothes—especially pink clothes. I don’t know, she’s just so girly that she’s adorable, and yeah, maybe she’s kind of unrealistic, but hey, she’s got a personality that’s pretty unique for the genre, so I’m not going to complain.
And, of course, there’s the obligatory YA romance. For one, Lend is invisible. For two, he’s pretty sweet. For three, it’s a YA romantic pairing—they’re all pretty much the same and there’s not much to touch on. I definitely didn’t hate the romance, all told.
Anyway. Sign me up for book number 2! (Yeesh, my wallet is getting skinny.)
Verdict: I was totally surprised by Paranormalcy, in the best way. It’s a cute, fast-paced read featuring a funny protagonist and a great collection of supes. What’s not to like?
You know those books that you can’t put down? This was absolutely one of them! I staid up until three in the morning because I couldn’t bring myself to put this thing down.
So the main character Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency (or IPCA for short) because she can see through glamours. She works around a lot of different creatures, and knows how to handle them all. And by a lot of different types, I do mean a lot—vampires, werewolves, fairies, even a mermaid (who happens to be one of my favorite characters ever!)
There’s a lot of different things going on with this plot—from a boy who they can’t figure out what his species it, to a lot of other things happening that I can’t give away without spoiling some pretty big plot events…well let’s just say that they’re all awesomely written. They all play off each other, and are paced beautifully.
Evie is a spectacular character—her back story is nice, her opinion of the IPCA is very logical, and she’s just… fun. She’s the kind of person you’d like to hand out with. And she carries a bedazzled taser—bonus!
I would highly recommend this story to anyone who likes the Paranormal genre, because it’s so well written with so many different types of characters without it feeling cluttered. It’s a wonderful story, no matter how you spin it.
I really loved this book. It was such a change from your typical paranormal romance. I've been finding it hard to sit down and give my full attention to a book lately, but this totally drew me in from the beginning. I found Evie's character to be such a wonderful change of pace. Instead of a mopey teenager, this girl actually had normal teenage girl interests. I mean, how many paranormal girls love pink and zebra print these days?
The love interest wasn't dark and brooding but, instead, had a sense of humor and acted as a teenager normally does when approaching romance. I don't want to delve too far into that and ruin it for anyone though. Let's suffice it to say he's the type of guy we'd all want to date instead of ride around on the back of a motorcycle with.
In short, this book was like a tall glass of ice water in the middle of the desert that is paranormal romance. Don't get me wrong - I love paranormal romance books, but this one set a new standard by blazing its own trail.
Sidenote: Every time the book said "communicator" I couldn't help thinking "Kimmunicator" from Kim Possible
After reading the summary foreshadowing a faerie prophecy about death and destruction, you would think this would be a dark and twisted, serious read. But that is so far from the truth! Paranormalcy had its moments of darkness, but its an overall light and fun read.
At first all of Evie's references to pink and glitter had me inwardly groaning - I was picturing another Zoey Redbird bullpoopie situation. Fortunately Evie's naiveté and obsession with the colour pink makes her endearingly charming. Her love of normal teenager things, like owning a locker and going to prom, adds to her charm and I couldn't help but get caught up in her excitement for what I take for granted.
The plot moves along nicely and we soon learn that there is more to the organization IPCA, for whom Evie has worked for since she was 8, then we originally thought. As Evie starts to realize that her nobel intentions may have been met with not-so-nobel ends, she starts to question both everything she knows about the paranormal and herself.
Evie is a wonderful protagonist. She's insecure enough to be relatable, without being weak. When she begins to question her beliefs and the ethics of how paranormals are treated, I can see her inner struggle, which only adds to my ability to relate to her. She is fun, and opinionated and while she fears the repercussions of telling the truth, she is brave enough to face the consequences. She's not perfect, but the choices she inevitably makes are the choices you want her to make.
Her relationship with Lend is adorable. Unlike most YA romances out there, it was not love-at-first-sight, and we get to watch the relationship grow from one of convenience to one hinting at love. It was refreshing to watch Evie realize her feelings for Lend might be deeper then just friendship, and the following insecurities about whether her feelings were reciprocated. I loved watching them go from the barest of touches, to the innocence of just holding hands, to their first kiss(es). Again, it was adorable and completely believable; it was exactly how I picture a relationship should develop when its both your first real relationship and you're only sixteen.
The only (not-so) negative thing I have to say is that I felt some of the supporting characters were slightly underdeveloped. I didn't feel the motherly bond between Evie and Raquel (that Evie sometimes mentions) and while I know Lish is Evie's best friend (because I am told so), we don't see Lish in the friendship role very often and so it was hard to see her that way. Reth was an interesting character, and I would have liked a little more history on him, but I'm glad that he was presented as an obstacle to overcome versus an object of Evie's affection, thus creating a love triangle. I hope to see more of him in the future, if only to get some questions answered.
Anyone who has met me in real life probably thinks I'm fairly sane. That is until they really get to know me and learn about my obsession with a little show called Buffy The Vampire Slayer. The extent of my love for this show goes far beyond casual viewership and into the "dangerously crazed" category of fandom. So much so that I injured myself on more than one occasion when I was in grade school trying to do kickboxing in my room (i'm not very coordinated). I have spent countless hours lamenting the fact that I will never be The Chosen One and that I don't get cool weapons (or athleticism for that matter). Buffy ended awhile ago but I still tend to compare most paranormal-esque things to it. I picked up Paranormalcy expecting a pretty good read based on the reviews I had read, but I was shocked by the amount of awesome in this book! It was spooky, quirky and funny. So why the Buffy intro to this post? I'll tell you, Evie's witticisms and attitude remind me so much of Buffy! I think that's why I loved this book so much. By page 3 I was thinking "why isn't this a show on the CW yet?!". I am in love with this book! Let me give you an example of why I fell for this read:
“Tasers are a one-size-fits-all paranormal butt-kicking option. Mine’s pink withrhinestones.” - Evie, Paranormalcy
Yes, ladies and gents, that's correct, she has a pink, bedazzled taser. Oh, how I want one. And in case you are wondering, yes, they do in fact exist (naturally I looked this up immediately). There is actually quite a selection of pink tasers. I happen to think the Hello Kitty one is pretty sweet.
Anyway, adorable anti-rape devices aside, this story had lots of things going for it. First of all there is Evie. I've already told you how I love her spunk, but she also has real depth and vulnerability without getting all weepy every time she breaks a nail. She is strong and capable while still being feminine. All of the characters that White creates here are realistic (strangely enough) and their motives are relateable. This includes the bad guys and even the background characters. I also really enjoyed Lend. He is a paranormal who is captured while breaking in to the agency where Evie works. He can change into almost any person and only Evie can see his real face. Of course they grow to love each other but this is not a case of insta-love. They form a friendship first and out of that loyalty and admiration comes love. This is always admirable in YA literature where the model for successful book says that the girl needs to instantly fall in love with the brooding male lead. That's another thing! Lend doesn't brood! He is funny and charming and just a little awkward. Yes! I don't know about you but Lend is just my type. The two of them together are hilarious and entirely believable. The third character I want to get into is the villain. I won't get into too much detail because, for the most part, this character isn't revealed until about half way through the book, but I will tell you that White does an excellent job of making sure that we understand the villain and even feel sympathy for their plight.
Another thing I like about this story was that it wasn't one-sided. I didn't feel like one person or organization was all bad or all good. This is something that Evie comes to realize as well as the book goes on. I think this is an important theme for a YA book. I know that as a teenager it was easy for me to feel like the people who didn't always treat me well, or who didn't agree with me were awful people who were just plain wrong, all the time, about everything. But that's not real life. In reality we all have our moments of good and bad and White illustrates this with not only the monsters in her book, but the humans as well.
As far as negatives go I really wasn't able to think of anything I would have changed about the story. It just worked for me. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for something both spook and heartfelt with a lot of snark. Giles would be proud.
Make sure to check out my blog for more reviews!
Right now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read to this book. I've had it in my "To Read" stack for 6 months and I'm really mad I left it there so long. This book was wonderful. Very rarely do I find a book that can make me (both) laugh and cry; but, this was one of those pieces of work.
Kiersten White is wonderful at making you understand the true emotions that her characters feel. The love that Evie feels for Lish (her best friend who is also a mermaid), the loathing she feels for Reth (a faerie that seems to stalk her), and the confusion that Lend (an unknown paranormal creature who can steal the appearance of others), brings into her life. Plus, I admire any author that can bring a young adult book to life without any cursing. Instead you get Lish's hilarious monotone voice "bleep"ing.
If you're looking for a book to read to in small intervals, this is NOT the book for you. This book sucks you in and leaves you wanting more.
Kiersten White has the wonderful ability to interject true emotion into her characters.
What made me keep turning the page?
Evie’s wit and sense of humor
Discovering all the different paranormals
The mystery that surrounds Evie and what she is
Discovering what the prophecy means
Lend and his wonderfulness
Fans of YA paranormal romance
Paranormalcy was just a fun enjoyable read. I loved Evie and her innocence combined with her quirky sense of humor. There was just enough mystery, action, and romance to make me want to know what was going to happen next. I will definitely be picking up Supernaturally (the 2nd book) sometime soon!
This book really surprised me in a good way. I was a bit unsure when I bought it because I have this phobia when it comes to any fae/fairy related book. But luckily for me faes weren't the primary focus of the book. Rather, it was about Evie and her discovering who and exactly what she is. Though that doesn't mean that the paranormal universe in White's book wasn't fleshed out. No. White did a beautiful job when it came to creating Evie's world. I also loved the love interest in the book. Lend was absolutely dreamy even though we don't know exactly how he looks like.