Okay. I’m a super-fan of Raised by Wolves and Trial by Fire, both by this author. To me, they are brilliant, original, and absolute must-reads. So, despite my disappointment that the third novel isn’t out yet, I was more than ready to read this new stand-alone by Barnes – I had a feeling it would be squeeze-your-eyes-closed-with-glee good.
But before I get ahead of myself – what is it about?
Well, Kali D’Angelo is an average sixteen-year-old girl that stays out of the limelight, tolerates the pep rallies at school, and has a strained relationship with her absent-minded-professor-type dad. She’s human. She’s normal.
That is – every other 24 hours.
The other 24 hours? She’s not quite sure what she is. But it she isn’t normal. Her strength increases by leaps and bounds, she has a special affection for weapons, and longs to hunt. Hunt what? Why supernatural (or as they call them in the scientific world of this book: preternatural) creatures, such as hellhounds, that threaten the world of course! Her blood becomes toxic to those she fights. She revels in the blood. She heals quickly.
Yeah, not so normal.
Yet when Kali notices that a popular mean girl at her school has a tell-tale mark of doom – a mark indicating she will soon be dead, courtesy of one of these hellish beings – she’s human. It’s the wrong day. She doesn’t have her superpower strength, her indestructability, her whatever it is that she has every other day.
The other problem?
She can’t wait for tomorrow to save her… the girl has less than that amount of time to live.
Yep – Every Other Day is pretty darn fantastic.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes has again penned a truly unique premise that is half the time Buffy the Vampire Slayer on steroids and paranormal gore and half the time a tale of a high school outsider who is lonely for friends. It’s such an absorbing contrast that the author makes work so well. We can sense the difference, if slight, in personality when Kali is human and when she is not. She makes it easy for us to care for both sides of her and to invest in her almost immediately. Excellent character development!
And that’s only our heroine! The numerous secondary characters (which I don’t really want to start naming since I want you to go on the same unexpected thrill-ride I did), are three-dimensional and written with humor and compassion, rounding them out into what feels like real people.
My confidence in Jennifer Lynn Barnes only strengthened in my reading of Every Other Day. She has created a world pretty much identical to ours but with a general population knowledge of “preternatural” beings – zombies, hellhounds, dragons, demons, etc. There are government bodies meant to control and sometimes even protect them. As the reader, you get the sense that this is a well-developed world, without having to have everything spelt out for you.
Every Other Day is an exciting, unpredictable paranormal thriller with a terrific narrative voice that is both sarcastic and humorous, yet genuine and kind – all of which applies to our isolated, tough, great main character Kali, whom we root for and like immensely. Or at least I did. I’d kinda be shocked if you don’t agree – though I suppose someone out there will.
I was ecstatic to find depth and sadder, deeper moments to bring an overall increased gravity to the novel, which is an absolutely riveting page-turner, adrenaline-pounding, enigmatic, tantalizing plot twisting YA addition.
And the end? It’s one of those perfect last lines that makes you turn the page by mistake, ready for the rest, only to realize, “Oh yeah. That’s it.” Yet amidst your disappoint at this revelation you are just so utterly floored by the excellence of that last line that you’re okay with it.
I’d love a sequel – yet if there’s not one, I felt satisfied enough to accept that.
Every Other Day is awesome. Plain and simple.