Thursday, March 22, 2012

Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne


Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers. 

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause. 

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too. 

My Review

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, I am just not sure what to say about this book.  I borrowed this book from a fellow blogger, and I had desperately wanted to read it because of the beautiful cover and the synopsis (which sounded pretty self-explanatory).  But when I finally finished the book, the only feelings I had were disappointment that the book wasn’t as good as I had hoped, and confusion, because so much still remained unexplained. It isn’t that it is a bad book, but it isn’t what I would list under the absolutely amazing category either. At best, this book is average.  At worst, it is just one of the most confusing books I’ve read recently. 

So, let’s first focus on what I liked, what was enjoyable about the book. 

First, I liked how the author incorporated the Red Paint People into a modern apocalyptical story.  The fact that she gave an explanation that was reasonable in both a fantastical and an intellectual way is to be applauded. 

Second, I liked her twist between Kel and Faye.  I had my own idea on who Kel was, and who Faye was.  The way she changed who I thought they were, giving clues but not enough to guess correctly was kind of cool.  I like a good twist, especially one that I’m not expecting. 

Finally, I liked her underlying theme of taking care of the earth, what the results might be if we don’t.   Actually, the picture that she paints is extremely frightening.  Riots, a treeless existence, food rations, lack of clean water, and such are all such terrifying ideas.  Would we actually be able to survive it all?  Or would the way our society has shaped us effect our survival?  Would humanity die out? 

So what did I not like?

I didn’t like how I was confused with exactly what was going on in the novel for almost the entire time.  The only reason I finished reading it was to (hopefully) clear up my confusion.  With being given such little background story and what we were given was given piecemeal, it was hard to understand the world Faye and her Family lived in.  It wasn’t even until the middle of the book that I even realized that something wasn’t “right” with the characters of the book.  And all of this really colored my view. 

Overall, what do I think of this book?  I’m not satisfied with it, and I wish that it had been better.  Do I recommend it?  Maybe.  As I said before, I’m still just not sure about this book, but I think you should give it a chance.  

Happy Reading!


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