Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Enchanting Review: Raven

Young Adult Paranormal
Simon Pulse
ISBN# 9781416978992
304 pages
Paperback - Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

RAVEN by Allison van Diepen was an interesting story and definitely not what I was expecting. I thought there would be more of a paranormal aspect to the story and while there was, it didn’t seem to play too major of a role. The best way to describe the otherworldly elements in this book is as accessories to make the underlying relationship and character development stand out. It certainly worked because although I might not have read what I expected, I definitely came out of it with a story that has stuck with me.

Nicole is our raven haired beauty full of mystery and secrets. That’s one thing she shares with the delicious Zin. Secrets consume the both of them, threatening to spill over and control their daily lives. Perhaps for Nicole, they already are. Living with a ghost is never easy, especially when this ghost haunts your dreams and occasionally your day-to-day life. Knowing that somewhere in the world your ghost is alive and hurting is ten times worse.

Having fallen in love with Zin from the moment she laid eyes on him, Nicole has filled her heart with this Arabic break-dancing stud. She even went so far as to join the Toprocks, Zin’s dancing group, to get closer to him. This is where I started to get lost in the story.

Unless you’re a fan of break-dancing and understand the sport, I would imagine that the common reader is going to need a break-dancing dictionary to help them visualize the story. Ms. Van Diepen uses quite a few break-dancing terms that made a majority of the action within the story difficult to understand. I could kind of see what the characters were doing and I certainly understood the adrenaline that the dancing was creating, but having no knowledge of the dance moves and no real explanation of them given, this aspect of the book was hard to follow.

The majority of RAVEN focused on Nicole and Zin as their secrets explode and each is left to pick up the pieces for the other. As their romance blooms, however, life gets in the way and the author does an amazing job of holding that romantic tension in the story. Will Nicole end up with Zin or won’t she? My answer to this question changed about every ten pages and this is the true sign of what great writing Ms. Van Diepen put into this book. Her ability to keep us entranced and addicted to the story was such that even though I couldn’t understand parts of it, I still kept reading, needing to know more.

The paranormal aspect of RAVEN – the aspect that I mentioned was kind of lacking – did play a role in our story; it just didn’t feel like the main focus of the story. Perhaps it is better that it wasn’t the main aspect; we were able to focus on the relationships in the story with the magic tossed in to keep us hooked. The paranormal aspect did allow for a common problem the characters could work around and provided a nice touch of otherness to the book that lent it a perfect edge. Overall I would have to say that the combination of paranormal to not ended up working well and was probably to the story’s advantage. The author gave us a fictional story that could easily translate to real life.

Allison van Diepen is the author of multiple young adult books, a few focusing on the harsher topics that come up in a teen’s life. She can be found online at http://www.allisonvandiepen.com/index.htm.

April 2010

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