Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Can Supernatural be "Normal"?

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy)
When we last saw Evie, she had been released from the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA). Assumed dead thanks to the woman who raised her who works for IPCA, Evie was free to live the normal life she always dreamed about. The problem? Normal is pretty boring. In Supernaturally, by Kiersten White, we see how Evie is drawn to the paranormal world, whether she wants to admit it or not.

While Lend is in college, Evie has moved in with a cantankerous vampire, works in a paranormal-friendly diner run by a tree sprite and a gnome, but high school is her biggest challenge. Try as she might, she just can't bring herself to care about the mundane nonsense everyone in high school seems to obsess about. When she is contacted by IPCA to take occasional jobs and help them out on the understanding that she can pick and choose what jobs she wants, Evie jumps at the idea. Even though Lend doesn't want her to. Her first few jobs go awry, especially as Evie is trying to reconcile herself with IPCA's motives. They swear to have stopped their more controversial practices, like neutering werewolves, and convince Evie they are only trying to protect innocent people from harmful paranormals. But when one of her jobs leads her to a group of trolls assumed to be keeping humans as slaves, instead she finds kind trolls who bought their land themselves and live peacefully- except for the horrid vampire who has been feeding on their children.

Since Evie refused to use any fey on her jobs (thanks to being kidnapped by Reth, her faerie former boyfriend), she is given Jack as a paranormal taxi. Jack is a human who can travel the faerie paths without getting lost for all of eternity- not something humans are supposed to be able to do. Despite Lend's irritation with IPCA and Jack, Evie finally starts to feel useful with her new job. She even starts to spend more time with Jack and ventures into the faerie world with him. Unfortunately, there is something brewing among faeries and she keeps finding herself in strange and dangerous situations. Is someone trying to hurt Evie? Can she figure out who before they succeed?

I was surprisingly underwhelmed by this sequel, which was incredibly disappointing since i loved the first book so much. The book jacket described some faerie war where both the good (Seelie) and bad (Unseelie) courts of fey were fighting over her, but there was almost nothing in this book about that war. I kept thinking it was building up to it and it would be along shortly, but once I was done with 3/4 of the book, I realized it wasn't coming! There was a slight mention of the fey wanting her, but no war like the jacket and book descriptions all mentioned. Instead, the story was kind of slow and much more teenage angst than paranormal story. I have no problem with teenage angst, but with a title like Supernaturally, I was left wondering where the heck the supernatural stuff really was! It was there, but more as an after thought than the focus of the story. It also pained me to see Evie portrayed more as a whiny teen girl when she was so saucy and snarky in the last book, which I loved.

The writing and content for this book is appropriate for any kid in middle school through high school. The plot wouldn't be understandable without first reading Paranormalcy, but I would rather give a student who liked the first book a different title than this sequel. Some might like it, but there is more out there that is much more exciting. I have to say I am sadly disappointed by this book. I expected so much more after such an amazing first book!

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