Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . .She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take o
ver and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Ka
li has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process. (summary from Goodreads)

Barnes's Every Other Day is a fast-paced and thrilling story with supernatural and conspiracy elements that will keep you reading to the end.

In Kali's world, Darwin went out on his travels and discovered preternatural beings. Hell hounds, chupacabra, zombies - here, the nightmares of our world are real...and protected by the government. Some days, Kali is your average teenage girl. She goes to school, tries to sustain a relationship with her father, wonders about her long gone mother. But Kali also makes no friends and tries never to draw attention to herself, because every other day, Kali isn't human. Every other day she becomes unnaturally strong and is unable to deny the urge to hunt and kill the supernatural creatures that roam the world. When Kali notices a cheerleader marked with an ouroboros, she knows a chupacabra is sucking the life out of her...and so she risks everything to save her life. Enticing the 'goat sucker' into her own body, Kali gets more than she bargained for when it forces a link between her and an unknown male, Zev, locked away somewhere and being experimented on. Kali is determined to find out what is going on and how to save Zev. With the help of new and unexpected friends, Skylar, who is a little psychic, and Bethany, the cheerleader she saved, Kali not only finally reveals her own secrets but uncovers a truth she could never have seen coming.

I can't say exactly what I was expecting of Every Other Day, but whatever these expectations they were met and so much more. Barnes throws us right into the thick of things as Kali is transforming from human to whatever it is she becomes and explanations to what the heck is going on only come in time. While it is certainly a little disconcerting at first, I found I enjoyed just going with the flow. The action and supernatural elements are compelling enough that I desperately wanted to keep reading until it all made sense - and then once I was hooked I couldn't stop reading until I'd finished...even ignoring guests to do so! Every Other Day never lulled for me but built in pace to a somewhat shocking and explosive final. While there were moments a little quieter or slower than others, they were still filled with enough intrigue and wonder that I felt like I had to keep paying close attention so as to not miss anything. It was really kind of exhilarating!

Being thrust right it, as it were, also worked well for the world building of Barnes's narrative in that other than the preternatural creatures, it's just like ours. Barnes really seemed to portray a sense of common normalcy while also jarring readers for which it's anything but normal. I'm drawn to this kind of book because I can't help but wonder at the possibility of the paranormal in our world, simply hidden or undiscovered. The notion that such creatures were discovered by Charles Darwin himself in Kali's world is such an original and yet simple plot device, one I found very interesting. Of course, there's still some surprises left in store for Kali and readers regarding such a history, and without going into too much detail, I simply want to say that I like the way the ordinary and extraordinary connect throughout Every Other Day.

A mix of ordinary and extraordinary is certainly one way to describe not only this story but it's characters, especially Kali. Ordinary one day, something else entirely the next, Kali has no answers and no one to even ask questions of. Even despite what she becomes every other day, Kali is a kick ass character, so strong in her want to save those around her no matter the sacrifice to herself. Her loneliness really pulled at me and so I loved every moment of her forming relationships, even if she didn't want to...or at least tried to tell herself that. I found Bethany another interesting and strong character, a supposed mean girl but with a tragic story that resonated. Kali's relationship with her and Skylar are what made the story for me when it comes down to it. Though Skylar and her brothers are also a favourite element. You can't help but adore Skylar's optimistic nature and spirit, and her psychic knowings added mystery to the story as I tried desperately to piece them together. If there's one thing I'd want more of from Every Other Day it's Skylar's brothers. Each so similar and yet so distinct, I kind of want to get to know them individually! If there's any chance of this being a series, I look forward to more of them. The same can be said for Zev, who I think Barnes hardly had the chance to scratch the surface of. I enjoyed the connection between him and Kali, that they could so easily be familiar with each other. I also really liked that the romance aspect was second to Kali's friendships and the conspiracy that drove the narrative. It had a feeling of 'in development', which is a feeling I'm more than happy to be left with.

Barnes has created a gripping story with Every Other Day, one that is a mix of some serious action, paranormal creatures, fantastic and memorable characters, and realistic relationships. From the first to the last it's fast-paced and riveting. I'm not sure if it's a stand alone or the first in a series, but either works for me. If it is the latter, I'll definitely be continuing to read it, but if it is stand alone, that's okay too. While more could be told of Kali's story, I liked the hopefulness of Every Other Day's ending. This is one book not to be missed!

Rating:

Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published date: 27 December 2011
Pages: 336
Format: NetGalley e-Galley

Many thanks to EgmontUSA and NetGalley.

2 comments:

  1. I was so pleasantly surprised by this one when reading it! I have no idea what I expected either, but it wasn't what I got; it was way better! I was seriously hooked from the beginning until the end. Great review! :)

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  2. @Rebecca Right? It was pretty amazing, nothing and so much more than I expected all at once! Thanks!

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