Thursday, February 2, 2012

Harbinger ~ Sara Wilson Etienne (ARC) review

Harbinger
G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
February 2, 2012
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy on Amazon



After what she thinks is just a visit to "check things out," Faye finds herself at Holbrook Academy, a secluded boarding school slash reform school slash who knows what. With her entire day from sunup to well past sundown beyond regimented, Faye's father and the head of the school are sure this is the place for Faye. They are sure Holbrook will cure sixteen-year-old Faye of her visions and nightmares. Faye isn't so sure.

Except that she feels some sort of a connection to her new school from the very first night, despite the painted shut windows and locked-from-the-outside doors.

Then she and the rest of her Family (the group the school puts her with) being waking up with their hands stained red, lying on the floor of their rooms. No memories of how they got that way.

Kel, the boy she met the first night at Holbrook, the one she's drawn to is willing to help her solve this new mystery . . . but can she really trust him?



There's something really special about a book, told in the first person, that doesn't let the reader in on things before it lets the narrating character in on them. Harbinger does (or doesn't, which might be more applicable) this and it makes for an incredibly enjoyable read. While Faye is lost in what's going on, sometimes the reader is lost and confused, too.

There were times when I wasn't sure I had any definite idea as to just what was happening but I loved it!

As Faye and the other characters, but especially Faye, work to figure out what is happening to them, why and what it means, you as a reader are trying to piece it all together as well. Readers do have the value of being an outsider so there are some things you'll likely guess or figure out before the characters do, but Harbinger is a book where everything doesn't come together until the end.

Sara Wilson Etienne's debut is very original and set in what seems to be a dystopian world, but without being a dystopian story. The characters live in Cooperatives, there has been a big war and there's an underlying theme of the planet dying but the story takes place in a boarding school that is seemingly removed from it all. The setting (both the school and what's happening in the outside world) are great for the story and having the added complexity of the world the characters come from not be what we're accustomed to, really adds to things.


9/10


(arc received from Penguin-thank you)




Other books you might like: Beatuiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (and the subsequent books in the series) and Hourglass by Myra McEntire

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