Review by Vanessa from Book Butterfly Reviews:
Author: Jena Leigh
Series: The Variant Series
Genre: YA, paranormal, slight romance
Source: Kindle Edition
Pages: 275 pages
Blurb: (via Goodreads)
Possessing the uncanny ability to fry a television set from twenty paces can really wreck a girl’s social life.
If you’re looking for proof, just ask sixteen-year-old Alexandra Parker. After catching her boyfriend in the arms of the prettiest girl in school, she made the journey from social elite to social pariah in a haze of electricity and exploding electronics. But finding herself at the bottom of Bay View High’s social hierarchy was nothing compared to the shock of discovering who—and what—she really is.
After being zapped out of a burning bookstore by the mysterious Declan—a hero nearly as handsome as he is infuriating—Alex finds herself under the protection of the powerful Grayson family. It’s through them that she learns the truth: that the world she’s always known is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with them than she might want to believe.
Now, on the run from a fire-wielding hit man and a secretive government organization, Alex must navigate a strange and treacherous new world filled with superhuman mutants known as Variants. As she begins to unravel the many secrets of her family’s past, she uncovers the real reason for her parents’ death twelve years earlier—and finds out that the threat to her family, and to everyone she cares about, is still dangerously real.
I had previously read Revival and Reviewed Revival, but in light of the sequel coming out, I wanted to reread the first book to refresh my memory and I found that my opinion of the book has changed since I had originally read it back in 2012.
My main problem with the story remained the same. The story lacked on the realistic side. Some of the actions the main character did seemed to be unlikely in the real world. When her world is turned upside down and sideways, she almost immediately accepts her new circumstances with little emotional protest. There was one particular scene (WARNING! SPOILER!) where the main character, Alex, calls her aunt to tell her she is alright and just confessed the complete truth as to what has happened that day. I just can’t see that actually happening. I doubt someone would just confess about all the paranormal things that have been going on to someone they obviously love and respect for two reasons. 1) I wouldn’t want to drag them into potential danger and 2) I wouldn’t want them to think I was crazy. How was she to know that her aunt was actually paranormal as well? It was all a little to convenient for me. (END SPOILER) Plus, all of the main characters were freakishly good looking, I mean… come one. Not everyone is that attractive.
I also found the end extremely unrealistic, which was surprising because the more unrealistic aspects happened at the beginning before the characters started to develop more. (WARNING, ANOTHER SPOILER!) I found it extremely unlikely that the Agency would be so willing to let Alex just leave. Or rather, the way they let her leave. Alex throws a minor temper tantrum and BAM, ‘sure, no problem, you can go.’ I would have thought they would have put up a little more of a fight. It was just a little to anticlimactic (END SPOILER)
Now, if we ignore the more unrealistic aspect of the story, I found the writing itself to be quite pleasing. The plot had various minor conflicts and subplots along the way that are seemingly going to shape the rest of the series. The plots were intricate, interesting, and well thought out. The actual style of the writing was sophisticated and engaging as well. It was easy to read and it flowed very nicely. I found it immensely hard to stop reading to go to class.
In addition, the characters themselves developed very nicely throughout the novel. Although the time frame seemed a little short, you watch the characters grow as people. Alex and Declan in particular showed phenomenal growth as the novel went on. I would have liked to see more of what was going on with Nate and the secrets he knows, as well as learn how Cassie is dealing with everything. The development of those two characters started off nicely, but seemed to be forgotten as the plot started to thicken. Hopefully, we see more of them in the second installment of the Variant series, Resistance that is now out to buy.
Lastly, I want to point out that I LOVED the denouement (epilogue). It was a fantastic way to end the book and it didn’t leave the author anxious with an obvious cliffhanger. While some questions were obviously not answered and this fact alludes to a sequel, the leaves kind of settle at the end and it gives the characters a second to breathe after the fast pace of events that had just unfolded. This is the main reason I am giving this book a 4 star rating instead of a 3.5 star one.
Overall, I liked it. I didn’t absolutely love it, but it was a good introduction to the series. I am really excited to see what Resistance has to offer me and if some of my questions from book 1 will be answered.
If you liked this review and would like to read more like it, don't forget to check out Vanessa's blog, Book Butterfly Reviews here: