By: Alyson Noël
Published: May 22nd, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: ARC from publisher
I haven't read anything else by Alyson Noël, although I do own a few books by her. After reading this book, I'm definitely going to start on those other books. This book was a magical journey with an original and creative plot that was different from any other fantasy books.
The protagonist of this book is Daire Santos, who is a teen girl who travels the world for her mom's work (makeup artist for Hollywood movies.) But Daire starts seeing horrible, disgusting visions and is traumatized by these episodes. Finally it gets to be too much for her mother, who sends Daire to live with her estranged grandmother, Paloma, in New Mexico. There she finally discovers her gift and embraces her fate.
This book was a refreshing read from the cookie-cutter books that all run along with the same plot. There were many creative aspects about this book, and having a strong female protagonist was just icing on the cake. The YA genre needs more female protagonists that we, the readers, can look up to and in my opinion Daire is one. There were suitors involved, as there always will be, but Daire never had to be the damsel in distress. Other aspects that were very creative are things like the Native American culture, her nature songs and the layers of Earth (Lower, Middle and Upper.) You need to read the book to learn more about them!
As for the characters, every single one of them had a purpose and were really interesting. I loved Xotichl, Cade, Dace, and Lita. Even if some of them are antagonists, they still were portrayed with care that kept the reader involved.
As for the plot, the book did move slowly. The action only started in the last 100 pages. The climax wasn't massive, but the care to details in this book make up for it. Although I don't see why one chapter included a few paragraphs about applying mascara--it didn't hurt the book.
I recommend this book to everyone who has an interest in fantasy. The mix of cultures, fantasy worlds, and the symbolism of life and death are great appeals of this book.