Two sisters, bound by impossible choices, are determined to protect each other - no matter the cost. James's frozen face melts into a smile. "Do you want to know the trick to getting in trouble under the watchful eye of a psychic?" I think of the nailed-shut windows. I think of Clarice. I think of the two, the two, the two who are now zero. Tap tap. "Yes, I absolutely do." "Don't plan it. Don't even think about it. The second you get an inkling of what you could do, do it then. Never plan anything ahead of time. Always go on pure instinct." I smile. "I think I can do that."
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I don't know if this is intended to be a stand alone, but I will be sad- so sad if it is. I originally read this author with Paranormalcy, which was good, though the subsequent books were lackluster. I thought i'd give it a try anyway. Man was I pleased. First, the writing. I think Ms. White is a pretty talented writer. She uses several techniques that allow you to get into the ehad of the characters and really feel their pain, and there is a lot of pain in this book. There's a bit in the sample you can listen to that talks about the boy stopping to pet a puppy, to help the puppy, and how the heroine, Sophia, knows she can't kill him after that, and how it ruins her day. You get her, you like her, you sympathize with her in a matter of minutes, even though she is one of the angriest heroines I've come across. The writing also jumps from storyteller- from Fia to her sister Annie, and from time period to time period. This could be disorienting, but it is done so well, that it isn't. The story line is excellent. There is an epic struggle of good versus evil, and what we will and will not do to fight that evil or simply to survive it. There's guilt and pain and hope wrapped in despair. It's beautifully done. As an aside, if you happen to have read many of my reviews, you will know that "I'm blind, blind the way Annie is- except for the supernatural stuff- and I truly appreciate the way Annie's blindness is described, her willingness to live in her prison because it is a prison she knows and can, to some extent, control, the way she feels out of control and often a burden and wants to be more. Her hope at the treatments iws heartbreaking. I don't know any blind people- who weren't born blind- who wouldn't give almost anything for that hope, so Annie's willful blindness (metaphorically, of course) to her sister's deep unhappiness to hang on to that hope to the special help she gets that promises to make her just a little more independent, a little less reliant on Fia, it resonates in a way most descriptions of blindness don't. I don't know if the author's blind or friends or family to a blind person, but she makes it more than just some inconvenience or pitiable thing we shouldn't discuss for fear of catching it. I get Annie and everything she does. The narration was going to bother me, I thought, but I ended up kind of liking it. I might read this narrator again. This is why we need a different ranking system though. She would only get a 3 and 1/2 from me. Otherwise, she is excellent. If this is the start of a series, which it should be, though I think it stands alone- frustratingly, but sufficiently- I would like to see Eden developed more, and I want the romance handled. I'm old enough that the serious age difference including Fia's age when the thing starts, is a bit creepy.. I get it, don't get me wrong, and Fia isn't young the way most girls her age are, but she is deeply damaged, and if the romance is going to continue, frankly with either of the possible love intests, I'm going to need something to take the ick factor down a couple of notches. Otherwise, I will buy the next one if there is another and devour it. I even want the same narrator.
This is the kind of story that you don't want to out down. It grabs you and does not let you go. The characters are flawed in unusual ways. Its difficult to determine who is good and who is bad as they all seem to have qualities of both. In other words they are very human. It is not a typical story line that the author dusted spider webs off and put a new spin on. It was a nice surprise.
For full disclosure I must admit the production quality is a bit off. Emily Bauer is an excellent narrator. Loved the life as she knew it books she narrated. This production has some weird background noises that are distracting. It sounds a bit like someone is chewing gum in the background. I was listening on a good quality blue tooth and it might be a bit more sensitive than the headphones I usually use.
It did not ruin the story, just distracted from it a bit.