Release Date: 29 Jun 2010
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Witches
Summary: Wyldcliffe Abbey School for Young Ladies, housed in a Gothic mansion on the bleak northern moors, is elite, expensive, and unwelcoming. When Evie Johnson is torn away from her home by the sea to become the newest scholarship student, she is more isolated than she could have dreamed. Strict teachers, snobbish students, and the oppressive atmosphere of Wyldcliffe leave Evie drowning in loneliness.
Evie's only lifeline is Sebastian, a rebellious, mocking, dangerously attractive young man she meets by chance. As Evie's feelings for Sebastian grow with each secret meeting, she starts to fear that he is hiding something about his past. And she is haunted by glimpses of a strange, ghostly girl—a girl who is so eerily like Evie, she could be a sister. Evie is slowly drawn into a tangled web of past and present that she cannot control. And as the extraordinary, elemental forces of Wyldcliffe rise up like the mighty sea, Evie is faced with an astounding truth about Sebastian, and her own incredible fate.
Gillian Shields's electrifying tale will dazzle readers with suspense, mysticism, and romance.
Review: Silly teen drama and angst wear on me very quickly making this book a difficult read. I have no issue with emotional characters but when the heroine of the story is constantly feeling depressed and alone, it really brings me down too which smothers any enjoyment I might have had. This is very much a personal preferences thing though, I have trouble with anything over dramatized (Gossip Girl, for example, drives me batty).
I enjoyed the lighter/fluffier scenes, any mystery scenes (stuff that added to the plot) as well as Anges's diary entries a lot. The book probably would have gotten a 4.5 rating from me if it had only those elements. The other parts of the book were just too much for me to stomach and quickly made reading become tedious instead of a pleasure.
Despite the book being nearly 400 pages long, I didn't feel like we really got to know any of the characters besides Evie. We're given backgrounds to these characters and they pop in and out of the book yet they all feel hollow and seem to be nothing more than props to move things along.
I really liked the pseudo-relationship Evie and Agnes formed. It was a lot of fun reading Agnes's diary and seeing Evie make the same choices then have history and present collide at the end of the book.
Thoughts as I Read:
- "Don't you think all this doing-chores stuff is a bit over the top?" I joked, rattling the cups and saucers carelessly onto my tray. "You know, like Cinderella, only with about two hundred ugly stepsisters. What else do they expect us to do? Sleep in the cellar?" "I wish they did." I don't usually go for boarding school stories, teen drama wears on me quickly. I'm finding this book amusing thus far though.
- "It's about the fact that you aren't welcome. The last person who slept in that bed was my cousin Laura. She died." I don't know what came first but this is a lot like that terrible Nickelodeon show, House of Anubis. I hope they don't have any more similarities or else I will constantly be comparing the two.
- I felt reluctant to leave the lake somehow. It was the only expanse of water I had seen since leaving my home by the sea, and I felt drawn to its green depths. And yet it was a place of terrible tragedy-a girl had drowned. I'd be shocked if the lake didn't have some pivotal role later in the story.
- I was suddenly not looking forward to geography. It had been plump, fussy Miss Dalrymple who had hidden something in her pocket. And I could have sworn that it was a silver dagger. We've got lots of different things going on so far. It's all interesting but a little cluttered. I think I'm still able to keep everything straight, I guess I'll find out soon enough.
- "You terrified me!" "And you enchanted me." He smiled teasingly. "You looked like a water nymph saying her prayers." Holy cow, what a personality flip. Sebastian either was having a really bad day at the beginning of the book or he needs Evie for something.
- "Who are you? Why are you here?" "To see you," he replied. "I've been waiting for you, girl from the sea. I think I've been waiting for you all my life." I have to admit that even though I think Evie's going to end up hurt, I really like Sebastian. He's quite the smooth operator even if he comes off as needy.
- I laughed and said I would not serve him and that he would have to look elsewhere for his throng of sisters to obey his every whim. "You are spoiled enough with everyone's attention," I teased. While I enjoy reading Agnes's chapters, it's making the rest of the book transparent and predictable. I hope there are still some surprises but I doubt it.
- "You've been such a good friend. I'll never forget it. But after tonight-after tonight I don't think we should go on seeing each other. It's too much of a risk for you." Ugh, I thought it was bullshit when Edward pulled this and now Shields wants to try this with her much less liked character who we've hardly seen? Drama, drama, drama.
- "How can I trust you after this? Let go of me!" He stepped back, his face a mask of misery. "I'll be waiting for you, Evie." "Don't bother," I cried. "I never want to see you again!" I'm remembering why I try to avoid YA books. Why do so many YA books struggle with negative character emotions? It always comes out as over dramatized angst which gives me a headache.
- "Besides, there is another girl, far away. I have seen her with you. It is she whom you love, not me. You will put her in danger if you continue, you will put us all in danger-" I really like Agnes. I wish we got to see her fleshed out in the present scenes of the book instead of just entries in a diary.
- "I won't let this place hurt you. I'll take care of you, I swear." Yay, finally some romance to this paranormal romance. Loved Sebastian's return and the lake scene.
- I felt for the necklace under my nightgown. Now I would always wear it-not just for Frankie, but for all those women who had come before me, especially Agnes. I like how Agnes and the necklace are tying into everything. I haven't mentioned this yet but I freakin' love the cover for this book. It's elegant and I'm a sucker for blue. The blues captured are amazing.
- For something in me whispers that I have come back to Wyldcliffe to die. I thought the reveal was very well done, exciting and well written. I have to say that nothing was surprising though.
- "By conquering the Talisman, taking it from you by force and claiming my immortal crown. And to do that I would have to kill you." Ohhh, I love the new info on Helen. I'd like to see more of her before the book ends.
Rating: 3 Bites