by Melissa A. Craven4 out of 5
Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple.
You’re born. You live. You die.
She has no cause to believe that equation works differently for her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah.
When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He doesn’t stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.
Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal and rides that high right up to her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.
…only Allie hates to fight.
Allie is used to never settling down, her parents' work constantly uproots them, going to the far side of the world at a moment's notice. What Allie doesn't know, is that her parents are actually running, and she's the reason.
I really liked this book, for the most part. Craven has created an interesting take on an immortal race. I loved how their history wove into ours.
The immortals have a big emphasis on the importance of family, whether it's a blood relation, or the family you choose. There's a strong theme of loyalty and connection.
The immortals all have their own powers, which might fall under a bracket of offensive/defensive/healing etc, but really their all unique to every person. It slightly (enormously) reminded me of Breaking Dawn (Twilight #3), where the new vampire is discovering her abilities; while all the other vampires are training and showing off their unique powers.
The similarity made me pause a little, but it didn't really detract from the story.
The Coalition were a suitable Big Bad. They were the main conflict that scarred every immortal's history, and they hovered threateningly in the shadows until it was time to act. They have their reasons for being the way they are, and after centuries of fighting, their methods have an impatience and a violence about them.
I wasn't keen on the main character, Allie. Growing up, she spent most of her time alone, as her parents kept relocating. Even if they stayed in one place for a few months, the other kids avoided her, or reacted badly to her presence. I think I felt sorry for her for the first couple of chapters, but then they make the big move "home", and it's the same old trope of every guy thinks she gorgeous, every (non-bitchy) girl thinks she's wonderful.
Allie actually came off as pretty selfish and conceited. She wants both Vince (human boyfriend) and Aidan (immortal best friend) and doesn't want to share, or concede that she might be hurting both of them.
The story on a whole felt a little disjointed, it felt like it was building towards some sort of conflict with the Coalition; but then it jumped into many chapters of story-time. Then it switched to YA teen drama. Then it was getting on with immortal life. Then oh, I remember, shady Coalition guys.
I enjoyed each part, I just wish they had been merged a little more smoothly.
All-in-all, a good book. I'm looking forward the the rest of the series.