Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Brush with Death

Brush with Death
Brush with Death by E.J. Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Urban Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Book Available: October 23, 2012
Recommended for: Fans of YA fiction, esp. paranormal and urban fantasy, those interested in ghosts and spirits.

Disclosure: I received this book as an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Samhain was scary, but graduation is downright terrifying. Yuki and Emma's recent brush with death has unexpected consequences.

Until last winter Yuki could only smell the dead, but the touch of death's embrace has awakened latent powers. With the help of her friends, Yuki must face her new abilities. Will her psychic powers become the curse they all have feared? Curse or gift, Yuki's new vision begins leading her down an unknown path, but is it a road that only she can follow?

Emma's close encounter of the death kind has her questioning her future as well. Until now she had it all; brains, beauty, conviction, fabulous friends, and a scholarship to Tufts Veterinary School. She knew exactly what she wanted and how to get it. Emma had a plan for everything, but she never bargained for her own traitorous emotions. When graduation comes, will Emma follow her dreams... or follow her heart?

My Thoughts: I have to start right out by saying (and I’m typing this before I even begin to read) that one can follow both one’s dreams and one’s heart – I am very disturbed by the idea that Emma may ditch school for some starry-eyed idea of love. As a person who dropped out of college – twice – to get married, I’m the very last person who should be preaching about something like that, but I am very disturbed by the number of young women I’ve seen lately who are putting their education secondary to getting married, and I think that’s a very unhealthy idea for them to be espousing. It is not impossible to both get one’s education and be married at the same time – it is true that it might make things a bit more difficult, but if one must get married, one can still achieve one’s dreams.

Anyway, that is neither here or there – you want to know what I thought about the book, right? Let’s start with details. Unlike previous books in the series, told only from Yuki’s point of view, this book encompasses multiple points of view, split by chapter. Each chapter is from a different point of view, skipping back and forth between the various characters. This gives us more of a sense of what is happening with each of them, of course, and provides us with more details. Since each chapter is a different character, there is no sense of “head-hopping” and as long as the reader pays attention to which chapter goes with whom, it’s easy to keep up.

There was a problem with the timeline, however; when Yuki is recounting the events from the first book, discussing the Homecoming dance, she mentions that it was after that when Simon started training her and Cal in controlling the wolf, but that isn’t what happened – they had already been working on that and Cal thought he had things under control, which is why they went to the Homecoming dance so close to the full moon to begin with.

This book completes a type of cycle for this series – Yuki has now completed her senior year and is preparing to go out and start her life, as are Emma, Calvin, Gordy, and Katie. Simon has come to grips with his emotions regarding Emma and Emma with Simon, and I can see storm clouds on the horizon for them, but I feel confident they’ll come through okay.

I believe Stevens is planning to continue this series and I’m very interested to see where she goes with these characters as they move beyond high school. In the meantime, readers who enjoy Stevens’ YA series should check out her Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective series for an adult protagonist – the first book is out and a novella is scheduled for release next month. A prolific writer with enjoyable stories to tell – what’s not to love? Check out E.J. Stevens for your next urban fantasy fix.

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