I’ve been wanting to read this for a few months now. I read the first couple of chapters after YALC and loved it, so was really excited when Harper Collins let me read it but I have to say I’m kind of disappointed. I liked it but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
It’s about a 16 year old called Amber who ends up on a road trip through the US after nearly being killed. On this journey she meets the stuff of nightmares in the form of serial killers, demons and vampires, to name a few.
I’m torn about Amber as a main character. On one hand I did sort of like her. She had an interesting supernatural heritage and I liked that she was a bit of a fangirl. I did enjoy the few times she was morally ambiguous and started to doubt what was right but they were few and far between. The problem was she just didn’t stand out for me. She was naïve, self-righteous and a bit judgmental at times – generally what I think about most female protagonists- and I could not connect with her at all. I couldn’t really imagine her as a person, physically, which made it annoying when people kept calling her ugly or fat-I think troll was used at one point- because I just couldn’t really imagine her that way. I didn’t have an image of her in human form but when forced to think of it, in my head at least, I just imagined her as having a bit of puppy fat, nothing deserving of those comments. In one part of the story Amber addresses this but it was hard to tell if it really happened or if it was a dream- it wasn’t very clear. The fact that when she turns into a supernatural creature she is considered beautiful it’s a sure way to make anyone have low self-esteem.
I did really like Milo as a character. Landy was really good at showing his character without him talking too much unlike some of the other characters – i.e. Glen. In all fairness Glen wasn’t that bad, I didn’t like him but he stood out, even if it was annoyingly.
The premise of the story was pretty good. I liked the beginning and ending a lot but the bits in the middle got repetitive- driving, mini quest to help in main one then more driving. The mini quests on their own were really good, the horror and gore elements were brilliantly done- the one with the witch was great and if I was watching it I can imagine being really freaked out- it was more that there were too many of them and they were too short.
Speaking of the witch scene, there was a paragraph that was all in italics that I just could not understand. I even wrote a note there saying ‘What the hell is this???’:
“She got up and went home, said goodnight to her parents and went to sleep. In her dreams she was still in the woods ….”
I think it was it was a dream- dream within a dream- while the character was unconscious but it is so out of place and isn’t brought up ever again that I just do not know what to make of it.
All this in mind, however, I did like the book. It reminded me a bit of a season of ‘Supernatural’. There are mini quests that act as episodes of the overarching story line. It was gory and some well written horror elements at times but it maybe could have done with bits either extended or saved for another book since parts were great on their own but make the story repetitive when joined together. I would recommend this to YA lovers who either like ‘Supernatural’ or who like a bit of gore and supernatural horror.