Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Every Other Day


Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Chalk another one up on the list of Books that Hooked Me by the First Page. Actually, this one hooked me by the first line. Let me show you why: 

"The decision to make hellhounds an endangered species was beyond asinine . . . " 

I'll stop there for a moment. (Don't worry, you'll get more in a minute.) In those few words, I knew this book was going to be awesome. A world just like ours, but where all of the creatures from your nightmares are real. Then humans, being the odd creatures we are, decided that every species should be preserved—including those that will rip you to shreds and munch on your spleen while you try to "protect" it. Case in point: 

(still within the first paragraph) "[These were the same people] that thought you could train a horde of zombies just as easily as Pavlov's dogs. 
"'When I ring the bell, you will cease tearing the flesh from my bones.' 
"Yeah, right." 

So whose fault is it that humankind are the supposed protectors but really just prey to the paranormal world? Darwin. Yup, that Darwin. Charles and his Beagle stumbled upon not only evolution, but paranormal life as well. The implications of a world like this, where a single moment altered history to the point where the modern era is almost the same, yet completely different, is fascinating. Even more so when the author does a good job of fleshing out the world and the compounding impacts such a change would have upon it, which Barnes does fairly well. 

I won't tell you about the plot (which you can find by reading the flap copy) or the creatures (which would get a bit spoilery) that, by itself, isn't what drew me in. Really, it was the way in which Barnes takes traditional notions of werewolves and zombies and vampires (yes, even sparklepires), et al., and twists them in such a way that their paranormal existence kinda makes sense, especially within the variables of this alternate world. Maybe that's why I enjoyed Every Other Day so much: the mythos is almost logical, which is rare for paranormal stories. 

Even more important, she takes that one tiny little moment in history and explores the resonance over time and how people and governments change and cope with this new world. 

This probably seems like a rather odd review to not even mention the plot or characters, but honestly, you'll find that in just about every other review. Instead, I've discussed the parts of this book that made me read it so quickly, and also want to dive immediately into the next book. 

*A note on the rating: While I loved the world-building, some parts of the story fell a little flat for me. So though I really enjoyed the book overall, it didn't quite feel like a 5-star. Here's to hoping that improves in the next book of the series. 

**Also, a note on the cover: Gorgeous doesn't do it justice. While the main image might not give a clue as to what the story's about, who cares? It's pretty to stare at.

If you like that cover, take a peek at The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison, another title from the same publisher (Egmont). Wouldn't they look so pretty sitting together on a shelf? Sadly, you'll have to wait for Valentine's Day before you can reunite the pair as The Butterfly Clues releases that day.


Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of the book.

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