Book Review: Death Wish

cover-review-death wishTitle: Death Wish [Ceruleans 1]

Author: Megan Tayte

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

First, let’s get the technical bits out of the way. I’ll admit, my first impression of the narrative style of Death Wish by Megan Tayte wasn’t great. I don’t know what I was expecting going into this book, but the first few pages came across as a little overly poetic. Maybe because it was a YA Fantasy that had been e-mailed to me directly from the author, I regretfully assumed that the writing was going to be subpar. That happens a lot when you review books on a regular basis. It also didn’t help that the author chose to perpetrate one of my biggest writing pet peeves: incorrectly used conjunctions. It drives me up the wall. Seriously.

Otherwise, the writing was pretty flawless. I didn’t notice a lot of obvious typos or awkward sentences, and other than constantly having to look up the slang (I’m from the US, and Scarlett clearly is not), I found the narrative to be clean. It was easy to follow, and engaging. I got sucked into the story right away and finished it in a matter of hours.

So, going into the book, right off the bat, I’ll admit I was probably a little prejudiced. I was expecting simplistic, overly dramatic writing, and I got… well… detail and well-thought out passages that verged on poetic. It was a bit of a narrative shock, and it bothered me. I wasn’t quite in the right mindset for what I was reading. That didn’t last long. Before I knew it, I was engrossed in Scarlett Blake’s story—I was consumed by it.

I adored the characters, especially Cara and Luke. Scarlett had her moments of stupidity and misjudgment, but overall, I found her to be a strong character. She was a teen that was caught in the middle of dealing with some pretty heavy issues and considering everything she had heaped on her shoulders, she muddled through as best she could. Sometimes she made poor decisions… but I can’t fault her for them. Considering everything that was thrown at her, frankly, she handled it all pretty damn well.

The only characters I truly didn’t like where Scarlett’s parents. Out of the all the characters, they were probably the most 2 dimensional. Her father was little more than a prop. Her mother, was an emotional basket case in the worst, most dramatic way. Frankly, I think the book could have done without them both.

As for the rest, well, I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery aspect of the plot—it almost read more like a mystery/thriller than a fantasy/romance, and every bit of it was enthralling. I wanted to know what had happened to Siena and what was in store for Scarlett as the story wound its way through the twists and turns of the plot. I was desperately clinging on in hopes of learning more about Jude. In the end, not everything was cleared up. I still have a lot of questions about what happened to Scarlett’s sister and who and what exactly the Ceruleans are, but though the ending was a little vague, I feel as if I’m right on the edge of understanding something big about the world Scarlett lives in—and I love that feeling.

Overall, the book gave me more than I’d expected. I was expecting this to be some kind of indie-published YA Romance that was full of dramatics, angst, and typos… but I got so much more. I genuinely enjoyed this book, and I’m hooked from here on out. I will happily be looking out for the rest of the books in the series, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the YA/Fantasy/Romance genres. I still think “Ceruleans” is a bit of a ridiculous name for… whatever it is that Jude is, but I’m willing to live with it.

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