Author Jon Skovron takes on the dark side of human nature with his signature funny, heartfelt prose. (summary from Goodreads)Skovron's Misfit is a fantastic read full of epic characters, creatures and mythology. It's guaranteed to leave you on the edge of your seat and wanting more!
Jael wants nothing more than to be normal. To attend school, hang out with friends, live in one place for more than a couple of years. But knowing your long dead mother was a demon and having a super-strict father who refuses to talk about his past or your mother makes this a little problematic. Then on Jael's 16th birthday her father gives her her mother's necklace - and nothing will ever be the same again. With it comes visions of her parents past and an unknown demon uncle - who looks like a fish monster. Jael is about to learn truths hidden from her her whole life - about her mother's death, the reality of Hell, and what it truly means to be half-demon. With a Duke of Hell determined to kill her, Jael needs to decide exactly who it is she wants to be.
Jael is one of the great things about Misfit. Sure, she started out wanting the whole 'normal' thing and willfully ignoring the realities of her life, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is a done thing. But when the time came she didn't just step up - she rushed head long into the calling danger. Jael quickly became quite the kick ass character, and her lessons on being half-demon were awesome. I wish I could communicate with the elements!! Seriously, Jael is impressive, and as the story is told from her point of view, it makes for a better read. I will say that sometimes I questioned Jael's too easy acceptance of certain things, but this is a really minor quibble and did not deter from my overall enjoyment of the book and Jael herself. This girl is going to be going places and it's going to be intense, so I'm glad she was easy to connect with.
Of course, I have to mention Jael's demon uncle, Dagon. If it wasn't for the fact that I adored most everything about this book, I'd recommend it for him alone. Dagon is truly everything you imagine about a fun, loving, favourite Uncle. Except he also happens to be a demon and look like a giant fish monster! I enjoyed every one of Dagon's scenes, especially those that express the wonderful relationship developing between him and Jael. I look forward to not just more of this, but more of his personal history - we only catch glimpses throughout Misfit, and I have a feeling it'll be epic.
I was pleasantly surprised by the romance of Misfit. It's slow and sweet for sure, but a little less than I expected. While there's definite tension and interest between Rob and Jael, and a relationship develops, it simply didn't focus the story. It's there, it's only just beginning, and that's that. It actually felt a little more realistic for this reason, especially as Rob is privy to Jael's truths. It's tentative, as developing romance should be, and by the end I was sighing at the adorableness of it all.
I'm seriously impressed by the world building and history of Misfit. I guess I wasn't quiet expecting the level of detail Skovron has provided, and the atmosphere of it is tense, with every word pulling you into the story. Certainly I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished it. His descriptions of Hell and the battles that occur throughout the book are graphic in a way that had me wincing or wanting to cower. Alternatively, his descriptions of Jael's encounters with the elements are breathtaking. His words ooze feeling and create a consuming read. A lot of the mythology here relies heavily on standard religion, and I found what Skovron added to it to be intriguing and unique. I especially loved the idea that once demons looked like humans, as they were worshipped and revered, but that today, feared and despised as they are, they resemble monsters. Their outward appearance is defined by people's beliefs of them. In such a way, Misfit touches upon many questions of the nature of good and evil. It offers many questions and discussions about religion actually, what with Jael's father, Paul, training to be a priest before meeting Astarte. With so much history, there's the risk that the story can get bogged down by it, but I think Misfit has a fine balance, revealing tidbits as needed but remaining focused on Jael and the fact that she is brand new to it all and learning as she goes.
My favourite parts of this book would have to be Jael's visions of her mother and father's past, which act as introductions to the immense history Jael has found herself a part of. They flowed with the story perfectly and for me, these flashbacks made the book. I loved the insights into Paul and Astarte, not only as a couple, but as individuals. You can't help but feel for Paul as it all comes together and I find myself simply wanting to see more of him. His and Jael's relationship is rocky at best, but full of new hope. What's obvious is that Misfit has only scratched the surface of Jael's story and I for one am eager for more.
Publisher: Amulet Books
Published date: 1 August 2011
Many thanks to ABRAMS and NetGalley.
Challenge: Vacation Reads - Okay, so I wouldn't actually want to vacation in Hell...but Skovron's descriptions of it are fantastic and it came alive in my imagination. So you know, I wouldn't mind being an invisible observer to the Hell he writes about, just briefly...as long as I could remain invisible and unharmed!