Despite being overly long, and consequently "draggy" (or maybe saggy) toward the middle, a deliciously angsty story of healing, forgiveness, love and the blurry line between good and evil.
Longer review to come (sort of). The problem with taking too long to get back to writing a review...lose interest in the matter entirely.
Interestingly, a month later, as I write this, I can't remember much about the story. Basically, for all the powerful angst, the characters haven't stayed with me very long. My temptation, therefore, is to drop the rating from four stars to three (insert usual pissing and moaning about how stoopid Goodreads should allow for half star ratings.)
But, when I scanned other reviews, I saw this excerpt in the blurb:I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.
The above reminds me that when the story gets it right, the writing almost sings. And, speaking of music, I recall just how compelling Nastya's loss was for me as a musician. Losing the ability to express yourself through music, when it has been your sole voice, would be abso-fucking-lutely crushing.
I was also impressed by the ending, in which Nastya finds herself almost empathizing with the antagonist. I found the approach nuanced enough to demonstrate that very little in this world, including "acts of evil," are ever quite as clear cut, partitioned into neat black-and-white categories, as we would like. On the other hand, Nastya doesn't transform into a saint, all-forgiving, somebody get her a halo--Ick, either.
Josh Bennett is a little too-good-to-be-true, especially for a teenage male, but I much prefer him to the generic, muscle-bound, emotionally constipated, alpha males that I frequently encounter in adult romance novels.
Compelling, but would have been much improved (tighter and more memorable) with at least several thousand fewer words.