Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Evermore review

Alyson Noel
St. Martin's Griffin

I was drawn to this book by the cover, which seemed like a take-off on Twilight, featuring a tulip, much like the cover of New Moon. Upon diving in to the story, I saw a lot of similarities. Ever is the sole survivor of a horrific car crash that killed her entire family. The shock of the incident has awakened psychic powers in her which allow her to speak to her bratty younger sister's ghost, and read the thoughts of everyone around her. Overwhelmed by the barrage of thoughts from her classmates, and trying to adjust to her new life with her career-driven aunt Sabine in Southern California, she withdraws into herself, wearing oversized hoodies, and listening to headphones as a way of trying to block everything out. Ever is fascinated with a new guy at her school, Damen Auguste, as she finds that he is one of the only people that she cannot read, and spending time with him brings merciful relief from the normal psychic chatter that she is subject to. I got excited at this point, thinking, "Why, this is just like Twilight! Except the female protagonist has some kind of psychic power, instead of the male vampire." I was hoping that Ever would prove herself to be a powerful, stand-up-for-herself kind of woman once she gets her powers more fully under her command. Sadly, things don't play out that way at all. She's weak-willed and helpless, completely falling under Damen's sway.

I felt certain that it would be revealed that Damen Auguste was a vampire. All the classic clues were there. Wealthy, jet-setting, sophisticated, bored, he doesn't eat much except for a mysterious "red juice" and it seems as if he's much, much older than he's letting on. School is a breeze for him. Surprisingly, the big reveal is that he is an Immortal, an alchemist from the Middle Ages who has discovered a potion which gives eternal youth. In my opinion, Damen is a complete cad. He treats Ever badly, pouring on the charm, and then ignoring her, getting her into dangerous situations and then disappearing, leaving her to deal with the consequences. He showers Ever with tulips, and then turns around and starts flirting with other girls right in front of her. He and Edward are truly two-of-a-kind.

Ever's reaction to this treatment is -- there's no other word for it -- spineless. She's hopelessly devoted to Damen, and with every cruel little barb he throws her way, she finds ways to justify his behavior. Ever also eagerly dumps her only friends, poor-little-rich-girl Haven and gay musical theatre kid Miles as soon as Damen is on the scene. She discovers that she has been reincarnated many times over the centuries, each time meeting and falling in love with Damen, but always meets an early end via Damen's jealous ex-wife, Drina, who is determined to keep her man to herself. Ever's her final showdown with Drina, Damen's hellbent ex-wife seems anti-climatic, when Damen steps in at the last possible moment and rescues her.

What this book does have going for it, is readability. It's a light, undemanding read. Ever's development of her supernatural powers give a brief nod to The Hero's Journey. Even if it bothers feminists, Noel's alternate take on immortality will appeal to teen readers who enjoyed Meyer's books.

I blogged this during the 48-Hour Reading Challenge.
I borrowed this book from my public library.

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