Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Pages:  543
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: August 31, 2010
Source: My copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.  Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.  As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares."

Isobel is paired with Varen for an English project and they are pretty much polar opposites. She's a popular  cheerleader and he's a sullen goth.  They have to write a paper and create a presentation on a dead American writer and naturally, he chooses Edgar Allan Poe.  The project is due the night before Halloween, which only accentuates the spookiness of the whole situation.  At first Isobel sort of writes Varen off as he barely communicates with her, but as she catches some of his writing in his journal, she starts to notice that there is much more to him.  Isobel finds herself drawn to Varen and stops spending as much time with her boyfriend, Brad, and her other cheerleader friends.  As they continue to work on the project together, Isobel starts to become consumed in this world that Varen has created in his journal; a world where Poe's stories come to life.  Kelly Creagh's debut, Nevermore, is an eerie read inspired by many of Poe's classic tales.

There's no denying how unique this story is.  The characters are unlike any other characters I've encountered in YA literature. Isobel is a girl torn between two words: the "popular" group and the goths.  She is realizing that she cannot be a part of both and as she separates herself from the popular group as they become extremely mean to her and Varen.  I swear, some of their antics were taken straight out of Mean Girls.  However, Isobel is a strong character and stands up for herself.  On the other hand, Varen is the typical loner/tortured artist. I know many reviewers really enjoyed him and even thought he was hot, but he didn't do it for me. I like loners and impassive boys as much as the next girl, but at times he was down-right crotchety and that gets old.  Isobel had to stand up for him at times and what can I say?  I like my literary heroes with a bit more guts and cojones.

The one aspect of Nevermore that I struggled with was Isobel and Varen's relationship.  I'm going to be honest with you. I simply didn't buy it.  All of a sudden, Isobel drops her former life (albeit consumed by mean girls and a possessive boyfriend) for Varen and has this undeniable interest/attraction to him.  I didn't get it.  It didn't feel real to me, especially in the dreamworld, and because of that I wasn't 100% sold on Nevermore.

There's no denying how creative Creagh is.  She really brought to life Poe's scary tales and set the stage for a heart-pounding read.  There were scenes that were downright spine-chilling and I wish that I read this book in October as opposed to my beach vacation.  Also, Creagh creates this dreamworld that was simply put..... strange. This is another aspect of the book I didn't really buy into.  Yes, it was unique and unlike anything I've read before, but at times, I got lost.  Creagh included a lot of details and this book is VERY long, which at times made it feel a tad overdone.  

Fans of Edgar Allan Poe as well as creepy fantasies will definitely appreciate Nevermore. The second book in the series, Enshadowed, comes out in January. To be honest, I am not 100% sure that I will be picking the sequel up.  If I do, I hope there is more of Varen and Isobel in the "real" world as opposed to the dreamworld, because that worked better for me.

*Pre-order Enshadowed


  1. Great review. I don't like crotchety guys either.

  2. I liked the allusions to Poe's works though the dreamworld was not my favorite part. I also didn't mind that Varen wasn't the typical hero. I bought into the friendship between Isobel and Varen though I agree the romance wasn't as believable. I still enjoyed the book and will likely read Enshadowed when it is published. Great review!

  3. The guy on this cover freaks me out! I like the sound of the book though, and the fact that it's inspired by Poe's writings means that I most probably would enjoy it. I am a fan of Poe, for sure! :)

  4. I adored this one, but you definitely make some good points about Varen being a bit crabby at times:) I just thought the whole dreamworld things was interesting, I hadn't read anything like that when I picked this one up. Fabulous review Christina!

  5. oh no! I thought this would be a very GOOD book! I wonder what's up with that relationship and yes, I also like boys with more cojones. :) Great review.

  6. I started reading the blurb, decided the book wasn't for me, saw the words Edgar Allen Poe, wanted to read it, then read your review and decided it wasn't for me again! So confusing...
    Thanks for the review, I've finally made ip my mind now!

    ComaCalm's Corner

  7. It's a shame you didn't enjoy this novel as much as I did (its a new favorite). I do agree with you that Creagh really has talent and this novel is very unique. But it is always great to hear from those that always agree with everything you do - offers another perspective.


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