Boys with abs. Boys who don’t know what they want. Boys who are supernatural creatures. Weird powers. Girls who can’t stand boys with abs who don’t know what they want.
All of the above elements can make a successful paranormal novel, under the right circumstances. This book threw them all together in a pot and forgot to add sugar and spice. It’s a shame, because this could have been a good story with different execution. But it was not. Here is why.
Our heroine, Katy, is a bit bummed about moving to West Virginia, but she understands that her mother had to get away from Florida, where they used to live with Katy’s dad. He died of cancer, and the family is only just beginning to recover form grieving. Worried that Katy isn’t getting any interaction, her mom forces her to say hi to the neighbors. Katy is greeted by a TOTAL HUNK. With abs. Did I mention abs? In retrospect, I think this is where things go downhill.
For a boy who is dedicated to protecting his sister, who has lost a brother because said brother entered a relationship with a human (long story), Daemon (why is his name Daemon? Why? So sick of obscure names in YA) sure spends a lot of time hitting on Katy. And then telling her he hates her. And devoting a minuscule amount of time to angsting. I never thought I’d say this, but he needs to spend more time brooding, and if not brooding, then at least showing some sort of depth. Readers cannot live on sarcasm and abs alone. As it is, he flip flops from A-grade assholery to grudging respect (generally when Katy saves his life every once in a while. Sometimes not even then). Also, pursuing a relationship with Katy puts them both at risk, Katy more so than him, because Daemon’s powers leave invisible marks on humans that act as homing signals to DARK CREATURES called the Arum who suck the essence out of Daemon’s species and humans alike (why couldn’t the story have been about them? Soul-sucking creatures of the night would have been fun, but they’re one-note villains here). Unfortunately, Daemon is too busy being a sarcastic asshat to take this threat too seriously. Since he never seemed to care, I didn’t either.
That’s the problem. There is too much fluff and bickering and lust in this book. It should have more pain. It should have less high school characters who only exist to inform Katy how insanely attractive and attracted to Katy Daemon was during Trig. What little grief Daemon shows only serves to prove that look! He and Katy have something in common, OMG! His brother died! Her father died! They’re like soulmates!
Except they’re not, because they only ever feel lust for each other, a fact that Katy, bless her, is smart enough to acknowledge. It’s right here in the text:
He flashed a quick grin. “Katy, I know you’re attracted to me. I know you like—”
“Being attracted to you isn’t enough,” I said.
“We get along.”
I gave him a bland look.
Another flash of his teeth as his lips spread. “Sometimes we do.”
“We have nothing in common,” I protested.
“We have more in common then you realize.”
Daemon caught a piece of my hair and wrapped it around his finger. “You know you want to.”
That conversation takes place on the second to last page. Here’s another gem shortly after.
“No. Sorry. You have spent months being the biggest jerk to me. You don’t get to decide to like me one day and think I will forget all of that. I want someone to care for me like my dad cared for my mom. And you aren’t him.”
THIS IS AT THE END OF THE BOOK. Go Katy, but that’s beside the point. Oh, and we have the obligatory scene earlier where the heroine keeps denying her feelings and the hero kisses her objections out of her. EW.
A few other notes: Dee, Daemon’s sister, was awesome. I totally got why she wanted a human friend instead of all the arrogant aliens she was surrounded with. Also, she was totally hot (which Katy frequently mentioned). Why couldn’t Katy have hooked up with her instead?
Second, Katy’s mom was wonderful. Pity that she had no role in the narrative besides being a plot device to force Katy to befriend the alien next door.
At least it was free.