Friday, 10 February 2012

Review: Every Other Day - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published by Quercus on 2nd February 2012

Goodreads synopsis:
Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.  And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's Raised by Wolves series so I had high expectations for her new paranormal YA novel which I'd had my eye on for quite a while prior to publication.  While it was an enjoyable read it didn't quite deliver for me on every level and failed to entirely win me over.

Paranormal is one of the hottest crazes on the YA market at the moment and is also one of my favourite genres, mainly because of the sizzling romances they generally feature, along with the kick-ass heroines and supernatural elements which seduce the reader into believing in another world very different to our own.  'Every Other Day' felt like it was trying to combine all of these things but not quite getting there.  There was a scientific strand running throughout the book which explained many of the aspects of the story and this seemed to have been well researched, drawing on Jennifer Lynn Barnes own background.  It was quite complicated though and sometimes I had to go back and read a page again to make sure I understood it all fully.  

Kali D'Angelo is a sixteen year old who is human one day and slaying supernatural creatures the next, a cycle that she repeats over and over every twenty-four hours.  I never felt like I got to know to know the real Kali well enough.  She keeps a lot hidden from the people around her but too much felt like it was concealed from the reader as well.  This may have been because her character is quite introverted and shy but I wanted to know more about who she really was and what made her tick outside of being characterised as a demon slayer.

There was no real romance in the book, although an attempt was made to establish one between Kali and the mysterious Zev, who she doesn't actually meet properly until near the end of the book.  I missed the romance, the dates, the kissing!  Instead, the emphasis is on Kali's burgeoning bond with her new friends who all seem extremely different but are gradually brought together throughout the book to fight a common cause.  I loved Skylar in particular   I also really liked the plot concerning Kali's mother which was intriguing and often quite sinister at times but again could have done with more development.    

I'm not sure if this is a stand-alone novel or planned as part of a series but the ending leaves the latter open as a possibility.  If there is a sequel it will be interesting to see what happens with the story and characters next and might allow for some of the more intriguing aspects of the book to be explored in greater detail.

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