Friday, April 1, 2016
SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE by Erica Cameron
Seventeen-year-old Mariella hasn't said a word in four years, and it's not because she can't: it's because she won't. She has nothing to say because no one would believe there's a world she can only visit in her dreams. And no one would understand why Mariella promised her silence to Orane, the man who introduced her to this world. Hudson is only eighteen, but he's survived a lot--including a run-in with creatures he calls the "dream demons", creatures he blames for the recent death of his four-year-old brother. Struggling to cope in the aftermath of this loss--and guided by signs even the practical Hudson can't ignore--he moves to a new town and comes face-to-face with the one thing he never thought he'd see: another victim of the demons. Mariella and Hudson have both been chosen by demons from a world that exists within ours, a world where beauty and magic mask cruelty and greed. Hudson has seen the gruesome reality of these beings, but Mariella is still in their thrall. She's in love with her captor, Orane, and is convinced she doesn't need saving. It's up to Hudson to show her the truth about the demons before she's lost in their world forever.
My thoughts on the book:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I requested this book on NetGalley. I was hoping for something different, and I got it. This novel is definitely unique. The characters are fully-developed, and the author has a pretty good voice, especially for her first book. The pacing was spot on, and the relationships were believable and natural. The world-building, however, was lacking. Other than the lack of understanding about the world Cameron created, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the sequel.
This story was told from Hudson and Marielle's alternating first person perspectives, and they each had their own unique voice, for the most part. Hudson's voice was rougher, which suited him, considering all that his character had been through. He was really interesting and very complex and flawed. I loved that about him. Despite the rough (and a bit scary) exterior, he was a really good, sweet guy, though. He wasn't super angsty and whiny like a lot of male leads with bad pasts. Likewise, Mariella was a decently strong heroine. She annoyed me at first until I realized she was more or less under a spell of sorts. Her voice had a dream-like quality to it that really made her situation believable and made her a relatable character. The secondary characters were entertaining and well-developed, too. No filler characters in this book. I really liked Dawn. She was a lot of fun.
The writing itself was decent, but the descriptions and world-building were almost non-existent. I still don't understand why the dreamworld creatures/demons/whatever they were did what they did, and I don't know exactly what they are. The concept is brilliant and lovely and horrific, but the explanations were lacking. I hope that the next novel delves more into the world-building. This book had a lot of setting up the story and situation, and I get that, but I needed more information. You'd think with nearly 400 pages that there would be some serious world-building, but there wasn't. The action and suspense were pretty much nonstop, though, and the novel was unique enough that it kept me interested. The ending tied things up nicely, even though I didn't feel like I knew much more than I did about the dreamworld.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who's looking for something different in the YA Paranormal genre. There's light romance, but the book focuses more on people and what makes them tick than anything else. This was definitely an interesting read.