A high school girl loves a boy she shouldn’t. He loves her too, even though to love her is wrong because he is not human. Human girl repeatedly, and sometimes a bit too rashly, in my opinion, offers to die for love object. Sound familiar? Well it shouldn’t, because this is the totally originally and not cliché at all plot of Existence, an ebook only offering from Abbi Glines. Without giving too much away, the story’s heroine, Pagan (really, could no one talk her out of that name?), is unique because she can see souls who have died and, one day, one of the souls actually speaks to her. She falls hopelessly in love with said soul (whose name, I’m sorry to say, is Dank Walker), and then they encounter numerous obstacles in the way of (cue foreboding music) the love that the universe forbids.
I sound jaded, I know. But it is just that, if you are going to do something that has been done a lot—ahem, like a teen supernatural forbidden love story—you better have an original angle. And the thing is, Glines actually has one, but her treatment of the material does not make it feel original. It feels like we took out vampires and put in Dank Walker, whatever he is. The book’s issues have a lot to do with timing and editing. Glines makes two major errors: the first is to drag out a nonessential romantic plot in the beginning of the book; the second is that she writes her reveal of Dank’s supernaturalness like a detective fiction writer who can’t wait for the end of the book to say who the killer is. So Glines gives it away, hint by heavy-handed hit, until everyone in the book knows the secret but the heroine we are supposed to think is intelligent. Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover what it’s like to slog through the middle of this book.
To compare Pagan to the lover of vampires who will not be named is to suggest that Glines’ heroine suffers from similar martyr-like symptoms, and she does. Glines does offer something of a twist on teenage wallflower “martyrdom is how I show my boyfriend I love him” at the end of this book, but not before she offers her adolescent female readers a view of a heroine whose most powerful act of bravery is to offer to throw away her own life for the sake of the boy she loves.
This review may seem a bit harsh. Perhaps it is because I saw promise in the premise of the book and it failed so completely to live up to its potential. Since is the beginning of a planned trilogy (the sequel, Predestined, is already out), we have more to come from Abbi Glines on the subject of all things relating to the soul.
Why you might love this book: Your craving for forbidden supernatural love stories is insatiable. You consume them all with abandon, no matter how sick you may feel afterwards.
Why you might not love this book: You have decided that some cravings should only be satisfied with goods of the highest quality instead of the greatest quantity.
Rating: Two out of five black cats.
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing (www.wildchildpublishing.com) (December 2011)