Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

7719245Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: Paranormal, Supernatural, Young Adult
Rating: 4,5 stars

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shapeshifter and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying and Evie’s dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She begins to suspect there is a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths, and even worse, that she is at the centre of a dark prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

Evie desperately wants to be normal. Except that she isn’t, or well, not entirely. Although she has no supernatural abilities of her own, she can see through paranormals’ glamours, making her a very interesting and useful addition for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. When she’s not busy hunting down vampires, werewolves or other paranormals, Evie’s chatting with her best friend Lish – a mermaid working for the Agency, her supervisor Raquel, or watching teenage drama series on television and wishing to be just like every other normal teenager. That is, until she meets Lend. After being caught trespassing in the Agency, Lend is captured and locked up in the containment cages. Because he’s a shapeshifter of the kind she has never met before, and because he’s of her own age, Evie immediately feels herself being drawn to him. At first as friends, but later on their relationship might become something more. Although that is without taking into account Evie’s ex-boyfriend Reth, who isn’t completely done with her yet and has several plans of his own. While a series of mysterious murders on paranormals rises a stir within the Agency, Evie must discover who she really is and where her alliances really lie, before she can stop the thing that’s killing her friends. One by one.

Back in 2010, Paranormalcy was really one of the “hype” novels of the year, accompanied by other bestsellers like The Iron King, Unearthly and Fallen. Although I’m a bit of a rebel myself, and don’t necessarily agree with the opinions of others, I couldn’t help it that I desperately wanted to read this book. Not only is the covel breathtakingly gorgeous, but the synopsis grabbed my interest as well. How must it feel like to be the only non-paranormal creature between paranormals? Although you can’t exactly say that seeing through paranormals’ glamours is normal…I have no regrets reading this book, in fact, for once I have to wholeheartidly agree with the general opinion of Paranormalcy: this novel is simply amazing.

The opening scene features our heroine, Evie, attacking a vampire called Steve. In the scene, Evie describes her blinged-out pink taser called Tasey in detail, and really steals my heart. I’m used to heroines being fiery and feisty, stubborn beyond belief and convinced they’re always right while the rest of the world is wrong. Evie is nothing of the kind. She’s a very caring and loving person, fun and cheery, with real fears concerning her position at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, and a very real and understandable wish to be just like every other teenager. It’s refreshing to see how a heroine so different from the kind I’m used to, can also grab my attention and admiration. Evie was just a person I could relate to, something else entirely from the generic herione often featured in fantasy stories, and it was a refreshing change.

What else is so captivating about this novel? Well, for once, the love triangle is actually interesting and both love interests for Evie have their own weaknesses and strengths. I hate it when readers get introduced to a love triangle, where it’s obvious that one of the two suitors already has a great advantage, and it’s clear from the start who the heroine will eventually choose. In Paranormalcy the choice isn’t clear right away, and both Reth and Lend have some obvious teenage-girl-heart-warming qualities. Lend is the boy every teenage girl with a minimum amount of intelligence level can fall in love with: he is caring, loving, someone you can count on, true boyfriend and serious relationship material. Reth on the other hand is the fantasy and faerie equivalent of a bad boy. Cunning, michevious and attractive, with a secret agenda of his own. Although at first it’s not clear if Reth really likes Evie, or simply uses her for his own purposes, it’s safe to say that throughout the novel it’s obvious he has atleast some feelings for her. For once, I don’t have a clear preference for one of the two possible love interests, they both stole my heart utterly and completely. If I had to choose though, I would pick Reth, because his intentions are still a mystery, and I’d like to find out more about them.

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen the personalities of every character in the love triangle developed so thoroughly, and it was really refreshing. The additional characters, Raquel and Lish, had well-developed, interesting personalities as well. I felt sorry for Lish though, being a mermaid and being trapped in a fish tank. It strikes me as a very sad fate, and I was hoping she would somehow escape and live happily ever after in one of the seven seas. Raquel behaved towards Evie with a mix of motherly care and annoyance. There were times when I just wanted to slap her in the head, while at other times I was just ‘awww’ and loved her for trying to be somewhat like a mother towards Evie.

The story is nothing short but amazing. It’s original, fast-paced and doesn’t get boring once – in fact, it encouraged me to keep reading until the very end. I simply could not put this book down, no matter if it was in the middle of the night, or if I had to catch a train. I couldn’t. The storyline is so addictive, interesting and surprising that it pulled me in and refused to let me go. All the characters are strong and appealing in their very own way, the narrative mixes between joyful and fun and suspenseful and tense, in a wonderful mix of fantasy adventure. A must-read for every self-respecting fantasy fan.


  1. I read this book a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it. I’m glad to hear that you liked it too. I thought the mix of all the paranormal creatures was neat instead of just focusing on one kind like other books tend to do.

  2. I really loved this book for all the reasons you stated. It was so fresh and different. I also loved how campy it was. I’m totally in love with her writing and can’t wait to read the next one.

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