I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.
But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.
So much for normal.
Young adult novels can be hit-or-miss for me. This one is kind of in the middle, because I quite enjoyed the story while being disappointed by the writing.
There are so many good elements—Evie herself has great potential, as a teenage agent for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But she’s a teen, so she has teen concerns like forging an identity for herself, getting motivated to do school work, wondering if she’ll ever meet a boy, and trying to figure out what “normal” life is.
Evie’s best friend is a mermaid who runs the command centre at IPCA and they communicate through a translator of some kind. When Lisha, the mermaid, gets riled, her curses are translated by the machine as “bleep.” Resulting in Evie using “bleep” a lot in her everyday conversation. A neat way around the swearing dilemma in YA fiction.
The ability to see through glamours is Evie’s special talent and she actually “sees” and apprehends the young man who becomes her boyfriend during the course of the novel. Once again, fitting with the YA format, this relationship is very chaste and they get no further than hand-holding and kissing.
My major complaint is the lack of emotional depth to Evie. When people important to her IPCA life are killed, she seems to barely register these deaths, but instead concentrates on prom dresses and whether her boyfriend actually likes her. Although faeries are set up as the bad guys, they lack any real grit as villains.
For my money, if you like Paranormalcy, you should definitely try Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files, starting with The Grendel Affair. I found it funnier, more suspenseful, and definitely better written.