PARANORMALCY is one of those books I never intended to read, but was recommended so many times that I finally caved in when I found a copy for about five bucks. And heard there were mermaids and unicorns. Even though, you know, it has the word *paranormal* in the title…and the sequel has the word *supernatural.* Not my genre of choice. I’m still not positive what I thought about the books as a whole. I’m not one-true-loving them, but they were fast, enjoyable reads, especially the first one.
My favorite element in both books is absolutely the inclusion of a multitude of paranormal creatures. Kiersten White did a lot of research when creating the beings in her world and even put in new twists of her own. Are there still vampires and werewolves? Yes, of course (It wouldn’t be a paranormal novel without them, right?). But…they’re not the traditional sort scattered through YA right now. There’s a lot more than what initially meets the eye. I liked White’s originality when adding minor characters such as Lish (a mermaid!!), and unusual beings such as sylphs, trolls, and kelpiernix (Which I know better as a nygle , but you may know best when referred to as a kelpies or a nix…erm…or in plain English, water spirits/horses).
Every paranormal creature is twisted into something almost unrecognizable. Take, for example, the unicorn:
”It was ugly. Like, seriously ugly. Coat a mottled brown and gray, horn a dingy, stubby thing; hair a matted mess. It looked more like a goat than anything else, with a small, filthy beard and square pupils. Oh, and the stench? Skunks have nothing on unicorns.
~SUPERNATURALLY, page 126; US hardcover first printing edition">Wikipedia page
If unicorns were always described as such, who would ever wish to seek one? Certainly not me, and I’ve always loved horses of any type (Blame MY LITTLE PONY…I do!). But that’s the best visual I can give you for how White shakes up paranormal beings you THOUGHT you know. In her world, you really don’t.
My favorite paranormal character was probably Lend, the teenage boy Evie falls for. (Although…what kind of a name is Lend? I mean, I GET it, but still…) He was the singularly most unique paranormal being I’ve ever encountered, straight out of White’s imagination. But…I won’t tell you what he is so you can discover more alongside Evie if reading for the first time!
PARANORMALCY reminded me of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER from the get-go. Evie was a lot like Buffy (even down to her blonde hair on the cover!) and, in the first chapter, on patrol looking for vamps. Only, instead of staking them, she’s doing a “bag and tag,” adding a sophisticated ankle bracelet so that the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) can track the vampires in the future. If they try to take it off or attempt to consume human blood, the anklet shoots out holy water and kills them. Again, I really enjoy White’s originality here! This was definitely my favorite of the so-far two released novels in the trilogy. SUPERNATURALLY was missing a lot of the charm of the first book, though it had some stellar paranormal beings. It also focused on something so few YA novels do: The pains of a long-distance relationship and trying to make it work despite everything.
I think the biggest reason I didn’t connect with the two novels as fully as everyone one-true-loving them isn’t because of White or her world, but because…I’m not really sure, honestly. I loved BUFFY, and I adored the new take on so many mythical creatures in this series. Perhaps it’s just that there was a lot of focus on faeries, beings I’ve never enjoyed reading about. This still isn’t the novel that will make me fall in love with faeries (The way UNEARTHLY made me change my mind about angels). I also didn’t like the direction SUPERNATURALLY went in at times, which could also play a part in my overall impression. Don’t get me wrong: I did like the books. I just didn’t love them and I can’t be positive as to whether or not I’ll pick up ENDLESSLY when it releases in 2012 (This is one time a cliffhanger ending would have brought me back rather than infuriating me!...Well, it still might do that, too…).
These are lovely covers. I really like that the design continues around the spine and back, especially with SUPERNATURALLY, where when you look at the cover on a whole, it becomes more ominous thanks to the lightning on the back side:
At the same time, Evie’s pretty dress doesn’t really make sense on the cover of SUPERNATURALLY the way it does on PARANORMALCY, when she actually wore such a garment. I get branding a series and remaining consistent, but books like this one are the reason why people are starting to complain about all the covers with girls in pretty dresses. They should only be used when it works with the story. That being said, they’re still both gorgeous, striking covers! I like the way the title of the first book is the same shade of pink as Evie’s dress, and the way the yellow in the second title compliments the red of her gown and the orange of the flowers. I always like the fire colors best when they’re united as one.