Saturday, July 23, 2011

Vesper review

by Jeff Sampson 
Balzer + Bray 
January 2011

Geeky Emily Webb has no idea what to make of her recent personality changes after the death of one of her classmates, also named Emily. By day, she's her normal, shy, hoody-wearing, sci-fi loving self. But at night, she finds herself transformed into a dangerous, thrill seeking bombshell, raiding her older sister's closet for racy outfits and taking outrageous risks, slipping out of her bedroom window for late-night shenanigans. She makes some futile attempts during the day to control her Jekyll and Hyde type transformation, but finds herself spending longer and longer as "Nighttime Emily" gaining more super-strength and coordination each night.

While most of the book is effectively a flashback, as Emily is being interrogated by a mysterious intelligence organization regarding her involvement in events leading up to the denouement of the book, Sampson handles the tension exceptionally well. Sampson does a great job of getting inside this young lady's head. Ultimately, Emily's dead classmate, and even her risque nighttime changes turn out to be a huge red herring, leading readers down the wrong track until the sudden reveal close to the very end of the book. It is (almost) a spoiler to say that Emily discovers her nighttime self presages her turning into a werewolf. The mythology of the world was well organized, and readers see everything gradually unfolding from the naive main character's point of view.

The ending of the book sets things up nicely for a sequel, as we begin to see that there are several different kinds of paranormal powers suddenly cropping up, shapechanging foremost among them, and there's a mysterious government organization dedicated to stopping them or at least, capturing and controlling them. I have the idea that the second book will be very different in feel to the first, as most of this novel was about unwrapping the mystery of what is happening to Emily, the next book, surely will be about her working with a new team of helpers against the government consipiracy and testing the limits of her newfound powers. This was a highly enjoyable book. I'll recommend it to anyone who likes paranormal fantasy.

I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. LOL! Despite the werewolf stuff I want to read this one now. My sister and I used to pretend I had an alter ego named Sarah who took over at night, dressed racy, had an obsession for crazy shoes, and got into all sorts of trouble. Yeah, we're weird.

  2. That is so funny. Emily's alter ego has a bit of an obsession with shoes as well.



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