My attention was caught by the cover and the intriguing blurb – would it live up to the premise?
Rosamund Brandt has had a semi normal life for sixteen years. Well, semi normal for a family descended from aliens. Sure, she could create portals and her family had a secret basement. But she went to school, had a best friend, and got her driving permit like every other teen. However, her definition of “normal” unravels when a killer with multiple powers and an agenda steps into town. When Rosamund herself becomes a target, she has a choice between playing the killer’s game and saving a few, or getting to the core of the murders and stopping them for good. Rosamund’s choice will save everyone she cares about–or unleash a new era for herself and her family, shattering whatever hope for going back to normal she had.
Saunders writes with fluidity and ease – her dialogue is punchy and the action scenes are well written, with plenty of description and I very much liked the premise and backstory that unfolds as the story progresses – and I certainly didn’t see the big twist coming, at all. It is a nicely cool notion and should provide plenty of material for a number of original, intriguing adventures. However, you’re probably sensing a ‘but’ here – and there is one.
This story tips us right into the middle of the action at the beginning of the book, as Rosamund immediately is pitchforked into the initial action that triggers the cascade of events that then continually ricochet through the book. And this is my main problem with this novel – the premise is interesting and I think Rosamund could be a satisfying protagonist. But the pacing compromises this book. We could have done with getting to know the family dynamic before it all kicks off. In order to really care for Ros and her family, we should have at least one scene when life is normal so we can see what she has lost. I turned back to see if this book came partway through the series – it certainly has that feel – but, no, it is the book that starts it all off and the basic groundwork is simply rushed.
The same issue applies with the antagonists – we hardly have time to get to know them, or who they, before it all starts kicking off again. There were a number of suspects introduced throughout this tale, which is essentially a murder mystery – but, again, Ros doesn’t have much time to ponder who is doing what to whom. And I became very fed up with the amount of lying she does to her concerned parents – she appears to take on board their worries and promptly takes off again on another harebrained adventure without telling anyone, including her exasperated, put-upon brother. I found it hard to warm to her, given her crazy impulsiveness.
Perhaps Saunders, full of the potential of this series, has rather rushed this first effort and the subsequent books will settle down. Because if only she could get the pacing right, this could be really, really good.