Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ethereal (Celestra Series Book 1) by Addison Moore

I got a Kindle for my birthday, in the heat of summer, when I also happened to be seven and a half months pregnant. It was the original Kindle, and I loved how light it was; I could lie on my side and hold it with one hand. Knowing nothing about Kindle and not being very tech savvy, I started working my way through various Amazon lists--mainly teen and "children's." Addison Moore's Celestra series was on its second or third book I think. I had no idea who she was, but Ethereal appeared on several lists and sounded interesting, and for .99 it was a deal.

Addison Moore's prose was easy on the brain, with short sentences and minimal descriptions.The pace sometimes felt too fast, the writing too choppy and lowbrow, but the book had a high novelty factor so those things weren't hard to overlook.

I'm not a huge fan of lengthy scene-setting and descriptions; I prefer to read more about the characters and their interactions, so I'm not complaining about the lack of uber-descriptive-ness, but occasionally the pace of this book was so fast that either a) I didn't have a clear impression of what was going on or b) I got exhausted from the number of dramatic events and revelations, and despite the book being very exciting, I would have to put it down.

Overall, the dramatic events and revelations made this book refreshing and fun, but sometimes it felt like a grocery store tabloid: lots of exciting things were happening, but there wasn't much substance.

While Skyla was spunky and relatable, with self-esteem too-often lacking in YA heroines, she was also shallow, impulsive, and sometimes annoying because of her tendency toward stupid decisions. (I'm obligated to point out that her stupid decisions also made for pretty good entertainment).

Over and over, I thought what a realistic teenage girl she was, but her occasional bouts of brattiness,  fickleness and self-interest definitely got a little old. (Still, I admired the realism inherent in shallow, impulsive teenage characters; that's how some teenagers are, though probably not the ones buying books on Kindle).

Addison Moore seems to have traded character depth for excitement with a capital "E." It would have been nice if the book had had both. One of my favorite things about YA books that feature a romantic line is crushing on the heroes, and neither Logan nor Gabe was very swoonworthy for me. I never felt like I knew them well enough.

In a lot of ways the story felt thrown together, as impulsive as its heroine. But it really was exciting. If I recall, I bought book two with a fair amount of zeal and felt that my .99 was well-spent in exchange for the entertainment value Skyla and her clan offered.

I'm at the end of my review, and I realized I haven't mentioned anything about the paranormal elements. The book was so much about high school drama that, to me, the paranormal elements almost faded into the background. Still...they were a big part of the story, and I thought Addison Moore did a nice job creating a spooky town where danger seemed to be everywhere, and an interesting clan of supernatural characters with lots of hidden motives and secret plans.

I would recommend this as a good, quick beach read or something to take with you on a plane or to the hospital, or any other such place where a solid diversion is needed. If you're looking for depth and characters to strongly connect with, stick with more thoughtful writers like Maggie Steifvater.

Genre comparisons, just for the fun of it:
-Ethereal vs. Fallen Star by Jessica Sorensen... Ethereal has a stronger setting/sense of "magic" and a lot  more fun surprises, but Fallen Star has stronger characters and a bit more depth.


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