I was so excited to begin this novel. I adored the prequel novella Before and saw this on sale on Amazon for only $.99, so I couldn’t resist. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a rant-y mood, so this review will probably contain more angst than my last few have. I think it’s because I’ve been watching the video game reviews by Yatzee on Zero Punctuation and I’m just so in awe of his sheer awesomeness that I can’t help but to try in emulate it. You have been warned, proceed with caution.
Heven’s life was different before. She used to be that popular girl that everyone loved. You know the one, pretty, smart, head cheerleader, the whole package. Then one night she was attacked and though she doesn’t remember anything from the incident, she has scares mutilating one side of her previously perfect face. This causes her to drawn up into herself as the rest of the school gossips about what happened to her. Her life spirals even more out of control when a new guy shows up in school. A new, exceedingly attractive, mysterious type that snags the attention of Kimber, Heven’s BFF, things really start to get interesting. Heven feels inexplicably drawn to Sam (the new hottie) and becomes jealous of Kimber every time she is near Sam. Sam is hiding secrets and though he loves Heven (he is using Kimber to get close to Heven), he fears his secrets will hurt her more than he can tolerate. But how can he stay away when he knows she is in danger?
This gets instant love for the mere fact that it is written in first person perspective. After all these years, you’d think I would be sick of that, but I don’t think it’s ever going to get old. Add to that the fact that even though it’s mainly told through Heven’s eyes, you get a handful of chapters from Sam’s POV and I was gleefully satisfied. I was also satisfied with the type of supernatural creature this series deals with. I won’t tell you what it is ****SPOILER****hellhound****END SPOILER****, because you don’t find out in the novel until over halfway through, but it’s one I never read about before. So go ahead and cross vampire, werewolf, fairy, troll, angel, demon, grigori, ghost, witch, wizard, warlock, and any other type that has been run into the ground off your list. This isn’t about any of those. Well…there is an angel in it, but that’s more of a side note. The story was pretty well written and kept me interested throughout its entirety.
Now for the rant-y bits I promised. Oh, where to start?
Let’s start with Heven. I didn’t particularly like her. Actually, I kind of disliked her. Even down to her name. Heven? Really? Shouldn’t there be an “a” in there somewhere? Am I pronouncing it wrong mentally? I assume it would be pronounced just like heaven (hehe, Just Like Heaven, I loved that movie…sorry, I am bit rambly), but I could be wrong. Assuming I am correct, even if it was spelled that way, it would have still irritated me. I think that’s such a terrible name. Plus, given what happens to her in the book, it’s more than a little cliché. Beyond her name, I just found her annoying. “oh, I’m hideous! Look at my precious face! Nobody loves me anymore! Boohoohoo!” Yeah, I know, she doesn’t actually say that, but that’s just the vibe she gives off. She pushes all her friends away except Kimber and basically starts hiding in her room all the time instead of socializing. I get that it was devastating and you are traumatized, but seriously, it has been MONTHS!
Then there is Sam. I was kind of indifferent to him. I didn’t love him, but he didn’t do anything that really pissed me off, so I’m not gonna rant too much about him. The only thing that I really disliked about him was he instigated the dreaded insta-love.
He literally claims to fall in love with Heven upon laying eyes on her for the first time. He seriously sees her riding a horse through the woods and is so awestruck by her beauty that he just can’t help but love her.
Dude, you know nothing about her! That’s not called love, it’s called LUST! It irritates me how often YA books seem to confuse the two. I realize that most adults don’t want to attribute such mature ideas onto teenagers, but it’s the fucking truth. “ooh, she’s pretty! I can’t possibly just want to sleep with her because I am a horny teenage guy! It must be LLLLUUUURRRRVVVVEEEE!” Seriously folks, that shit gets old. At least if it was lust, he could grown out of it and realize what a twit Heven is, but alas, that’s never how it goes. Plus I would have been irritated if it had because it’s their love story and they should end up together….even though it obviously irritates me. Sam didn’t really come off feeling uber guy, but few female authors pull that off. He didn’t seem feminine, just not overly manly. Maybe I have a skewed view of the opposite sex, but if there is no swearing or at least a small amount of smutty thoughts about someone, it just doesn’t feel like a “guy” to me.
Then there is the love bit itself. First off, you should know that Heven’s bestie Kimber is head over heels in love with Cole. They have one of those relationships where they date then fight then break up and then are back together with a day or so. Kimber dates Sam to make Cole jealous, so initially there was no real love triangle territory, jus the feeling that it might evolve into one. I became instantly worried, then relieved when Kimber breaks things off with Sam to be with Cole again. Then back to being worried because it’s obvious to everyone that Cole has a thing for Heven. There was no love triangle in this one, not really, but I can feel one brewing for book 2. Oh, and once Heven & Sam are officially a pair, Heven starts ignoring Kimber. Geez, she’s only the one person who stood by you when everything fell apart, no need to stick by her now that you’ve found your one true love. Sadly, this isn’t one of those great ones where the friends are brought into the secret circle, instead they are basically shunned like lepers to “protect” them.
I think generally, most of my complaints can be whittled down to “I don’t like Heven,” but come, the long version was at least entertaining, right?
No? Well, I tried, damn it. I think most people will enjoy this, it really is an entertaining ride. I recommend that everyone give it a shot. I really hate to use this comparison, so take it with a grain of salt. This book was like Twilight was for me. I saw everything that was done wrong and so many things irritated be about it, but in the end, I still enjoyed it anyway.