Saturday, March 17, 2012

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
Release Date: February 2, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam Sons

Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.  What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.  Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.  -

Let me just say that this book grabbed me from the start.  I had so been looking forward to this one coming out as I had heard so many great things about it, the cover was intriguing, and the summary sounded amazing.  From the first page, I really was sucked in.  The pacing kept me going, and it definitely proved to be one of those books that kept me reading late into the night when I should have been sleeping.

Faye was an awesome character that I just felt bad for from the very first page.  To have your parents dump you at a strange school in the way they did... wow.  I can't imagine how it must feel, but the author did a great job dealing with her emotions towards her family and pretty much everyone who has always treated her like something was wrong with her.  It was sad.  Kel was definitely a compelling male lead that I thought was great.  The pairing just seemed to work, and the suspense in the story kept the two moving toward further danger.

About two thirds into the story though, things began to fall apart for me a little bit.  I could almost pinpoint the exact moment even.  Faye was sitting in her dorm room puzzling over what to do with the little bit of information she has managed to collect regarding what's been happening to her at the school... then suddenly she's outside and something else is happening.  There was really not much explanation as to the lost time between the dorm room and outside in the woods.  And then to make matters worse, strange things start happening to the plot from that point on.  I found myself very confused as to where we were, and what was happening.  It was so quick of a scenery/event change, that it jarred me from the story and I'm not sure I ever really made it back completely.  And I really wasn't sure that I bought into Faye's reactions toward the end of the story. 

It was unfortunate that this happened so near the end of the story, because that was the last impression I was left with.  But the story really had me for two thirds of the way, so I'm hoping that if there's a sequel, I'll be able to move right back into the story and pick up comfortably. 

On another note though, the author's writing was tight, action-packed and very compelling.  She's a talented writer and did a great job creating characters I cared about.


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