posted at Monday, August 11th, 2014 at 8:00 AM | Reviews, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on August 5, 2014
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Mythology, Paranormal, Romance
Amazon • The Book Depository
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.
In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.
Aguirre’s Razorland trilogy really impressed me, thus I was super eager to get my hands on Mortal Danger. Of course, the gorgeous cover didn’t hurt either. What I forgot, though, is that Enclave wasn’t the strongest book in the trilogy. There’s some good stuff in Mortal Danger, but it’s also often troubling. Considering that the Razorland books got better as they went along, I can only hope the same will be true here.
Mortal Danger was such a mixed bag, but overall I think the liking won. Unlike has been the case for most everyone else I know, I didn’t find Mortal Danger slow. I was hooked from the beginning and found Edie’s narrative voice compelling, if a bit uneven. I enjoyed the supernatural aspects and the more contemporary ones too, as Edie pursued her vengeance against her bullies. I was fully entertained the whole way through, even if one problematic element occasionally had me groaning at the book in frustration.
The paranormal stuff is really well done. It starts off vaguely paranormal with a mysterious hot guy (of course) named Kian offering Edie three wishes if she doesn’t follow through with her plan of committing suicide. He’s no genie, though. These wishes, called favors, come at a price: she must do three favors for the people he works for in return. As the book goes along, things get darker, creepier, and way more paranormal. The ramping up of the tension will definitely have me coming back for book two. Plus, it’s brutal. Much death and dismemberment and this is only book one!
One thing I do really like is the stakes for the bad guys. They’re all pretty evil and terrifying but they’re not bent on the usual world domination. The fact that it’s a game to them, much like that ending sequence of Men in Black where the aliens play with the planets, is really cool. They’re fucking with people for fun, like a toddler with toys. In case you think this is a spoiler, hello, it’s the series title. It’s just nice because Edie’s kind of a chosen one as is typical, but when it comes down to it that’s like being a favorite Barbie or particularly cool matchbox car.
There’s a lot of stuff about beauty in here and it’s almost entirely problematic. For her first favor, Edie asks to be made beautiful and Kian gives her plastic surgery of the future to make her into her idealized self. After that, she’s hot and things come more easily to her, including confidence. She does sort of recognize in her friend Vi what a difference confidence can make, but no real lesson is learned. She still thinks really hateful things about pretty and ugly girls alike. I really hope Aguirre brings her mindset to somewhere healthy by the end. She has made a fair amount of emotional progress, like seeing depths in the Teflon crew, so I’m hopeful that’s possible.
I hated everything about the romance. Kian and Edie are a terrible ship and I am firing flaming arrows at it. First of all, he’s in a position of power over her with the whole set up. Then HE chooses how she’ll look, which even at her behest is far too Pygmalion. Though he’s not abusive (the one good thing I have to say about him aside from him being hot), he admits to being a stalker. For work with creepy guys, but whatever. It’s almost worse in some ways how often Edie would question the wisdom of being into this guy and then continue to instatrust and instalove all over him. Their connection is saccharine and painful, full of all the sappy cliches.
Mortal Danger has a creeptastic, fascinating plot line dragged down by a romance that follows in line with the worst of paranormal traditions. I’ll definitely read book two, and I hope one of my flaming arrows turns that ship to a cinder. Also, I hope that this book got way more editing from the ARC version, because this one had more errors than I’m used to seeing, even in ARCs.
Administration promised there would be a permanent replacement when winter break ended. I hoped he or she was human; that seemed like a reasonable expectation in an educator.
Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy: