Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Darkride by Laura Bradley Rede

DarkrideDarkride by Laura Bradley Rede

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I honestly did not expect to love this book so much! I am a bit of a recovering horror/thriller fan, and for me the Twilight books were sort of the culmination or apogee of my fascination with vampires, werewolves and their penumbra, rather than the beginning of it. I've become sort of a "quiet contemporary" fan, a devotee of Dessen, an acolyte of Ockler, a worshipper of Webber (Tammara, that is!), and thought I'd put my wild and woolly neck chomping days behind me. But then I encountered Laura Bradley Rede, courtesy of some clever and thoughtful posts on a friend's fb page, and was intrigued. When I learned she was an author - an indie YA author, no less, my favorite! - I had to check out her book, albeit (please forgive me, Laura, I didn't know!) with some trepidation vis-a-vis the whole paranormal thing, which is not really my thing. So, I started in. The Goodreads summary does a good job of conveying the basics of the story, so I won't try to repeat that. It's told in rotating POV's of the three MC's: Ander, the werewolf; Cicely, the "normal" girl (she doesn't know she's a witch yet!); and Luke, the vampire prince. This works really well to draw you into the story and the characters, since they all have secrets they are keeping (or think they are keeping!) from each other (gosh I love secrets in a story!), but which you, dear reader, are made privy to via said narrative device. It also really draws you in to the motivations, the personalities and the drama of each of these MC's, who are individually and collectively an irresistably charming bunch. Side note - the supporting characters are great too, all of them (although I had a particular soft spot for Emmie) and some who seem rather peripheral come to have fairly big roles in the plot. They also do a great job at filling you in on the author's inventive and interesting vampire mythology. Anyway, when the two male MC's were introduced as a vampire and a werewolf, and Cicely seemed to be a rather typical lovestruck teen, bemused and bothered by their bizarre behavior, I thought I had a handle on what was going to happen. Boy was I wrong! These characters never cease to surprise you with their depth and resourcefulness, and man, they are going to need every bit of it to handle all the plot that Laura throws at them! The twists just keep coming, and they not only propel the story like the "darkride" of the title, they keep you absorbed and frantically turning the pages to see what happens next. I love it when authors use literary works to shed light on characters and to move the plot forward, and the use of Romeo and Juliet and a suite of fairy tale images seem fresh and fun, which isn't that easy with these familiar works. But that is the beauty (and the beast? sorry!) of this book, it takes tropes, characters and themes that you might think have been played out, and combines and reworks them in inventive, gripping and imaginative fashion. For some reason this reminded me a little of the The Princess Bride in the way it plays upon and reinvents a classic genre to great effect. It's also not without its touching and poetic moments of cinematic and poetic description, and genuine emotion between not only the MC's but some of the supporting cast as well. This really was a pleasure to read from beginning to end, and although there is a literal cliff-hanger at one point, the author is kind enough to end the story with some closure, but also at a great launching point for the much-anticipated sequel! Even if you think you prefer contemporary to paranormal, this is an enjoyable, relatable and fun take on a seemmingly familiar, but still fresh, scenario.

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  1. Replies
    1. It's really a good one, you won't regret it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I appreciate it!

  2. Oooh! I love your thoughts on this. Your review made me chuckle... and regarding the "witch" bit, spoiler much? LOL. I was really glad I gave this book a shot. Looking forward to book II, Crossfire, already!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and taking the time to read my review of Darkride too.
    Totally following you back.

    Janus @ The Blair Book Project

    1. Hey, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, and especially for following me! I thought the whole witch thing was mentioned in the summary, not trying to be spoilerish, if you think it's really bad I'll fix it? Let me know your thoughts, please! Anyway, thanks again, that's really a nice blog you have going!