We first are introduced to Nora Grey, a seemingly normal high school girl with an iron deficiency. But, as fate would have it, she soon meets Patch, the obnoxious, mysterious, and unfortunately, attractive new student. Unable to escape confronting him, she is soon taken on a journey in which she learns more than she would like to about Patch’s, and her own frightening past.
I was unsure of how I felt about this novel when I first started it, but I was unable to put it down. (I will give you that, Becca, you do know how to force me to continue.) But when I came closer to the end, there were a few things that stuck out to me. The first thing is rather negative: I found the story incredibly predictable. As a book worm, I often complain of plot twists, but I have grown to love the suspense and shock of a turning point. This novel had nothing that I was astounded to learn. In fact, it seemed that I knew more than Nora herself. You could argue that it’s supposed to be that way, that it makes the story better, but I grew bored quickly.
The second thing I will bring to your attention is distractions. As I kept reading, I continued to become more and more frustrated as events took place. The fact of the matter is, I did not find all the events and characters in this tale as important as they were made out to be. Since there were characters being introduced in groups at a time, I didn't get all the information I wanted on their back story, or why they were part of the story. I found the character development growing weaker as the story progressed. (It moved swiftly and how I like it towards the middle of the book, but didn’t keep up the pace during the entire novel.)
The last thing to discuss is the main character, Nora Grey. I did love that her “disability” (her iron deficiency) was fully broadcasted and not looked down on. But, while I thought that she had many admirable qualities, I also noticed that she was rather dull and uninteresting. She also appeared ignorant as to what went on around her, and her ignorance led to many unpleasant events. Aside from that, though, I didn’t see much willpower in her. You could disagree, of course, but as I am a female high school student like Nora, I would have liked to see a strong and independent woman. She was swayed from her opinions easily, and I had hoped that she would have been a bit more confident.
Overall, I would rate this story a 3/5 stars. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it and I know many people will love this book. I recommend this as a middle grade series, but it does cover a few topics for more mature ages, so I believe grades 7-10 would enjoy the story the most. The premise of this story was intriguing, and if you love fantasy stories and aren't a fan of surprises, I recommend this novel to you.
Reviewed by L. K., grade 9
Editor's note: We own this book and its three sequels (Crescendo, Silence, and Finale). Since I haven't read this book, I will defer to L. K.'s review; the only thing I would add is, Wow, what a great cover!