Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Night School by Mari Mancusi

SUMMARY:

After their parents' shocking revelation about their fae heritage and an attack on their lives, the McDonald twins are forced to hide out deep in the Swiss Alps at Riverdale Academy, a secret vampire slayer training facility. And with no way to contact their vampire boyfriends for rescue, they're going to have to play nice with the locals.

But when Sunny starts acting strange, Rayne realizes that there's more to fear at Riverdale than getting staked by the student body-leading to a showdown in Fairyland that may cost the twins their lives.


OPINION: 4 STARS

The Short Version:
Quirky and fun, with the addition of some great new characters, Night School continues Rayne and Sunny’s story in humorous ways. With the same spunk that’s been present from the start, and a blend of serious and lighthearted, Mancusi throws some new twists and continues to test her characters. The writing has the same spark as the other books, and the cast of characters continues to be developed and grow in a way that makes this installment as intriguing as the others.

The Extended Version:
This installment is narrated by Rayne, who is sprightly, feisty, and a crackup. Her mental commentary never fails to bring laughs, and she isn’t afraid to go out and face the world. Her loyalty to Sunny continues to crop up, in even the most unexpected of ways, and their relationship continues to strengthen and grow. Rayne has a very specific mentality that sets her narrative apart from the books that have been in Sunny’s perspective, making the overall series that much more memorable. Sunny isn’t quite as domineering as her sister, but she has her moments of strength and intensity, and the constant back and forth between them is well written and versed.

Corbin is a new character who is a complete hottie, and the typical jerk at first before Rayne and the reader find out more. This transition, however, comes pretty early on, letting the actual getting to know him aspect happen fully. He is broken and hurt, and this shines through in so many ways even from the start. Rayne doesn’t instantly fall into him, and the ups and downs of their interactions are a strong driving part of this book in a very relatable manner. The other new characters from the boarding school, too, come in at just the right moments and while not all are developed as fully, their smaller roles don't necessitate it.

What makes this book stand apart, however, in a world of paranormal, is the way Mancusi intermixes a range of elements and concepts to make something all her own. Blending faeries and vampires, and throwing some slayers into the mix, she has created something original. The worldbuilding has continued to grow steadily, and even the boarding school aspect that crops up in this book is twisted into something funny and refreshing. Pop culture references run rampant, bringing laughs without being something that will be easily forgotten or even really dating the book since Mancusi uses the bigger, lasting one.

Despite being in a series, Mancusi eases the reader back into the world, allowing them to easily pick up just this book if they really want. The major points that have led to the starting events of this book are reiterated in a smooth manner, slipped right into Rayne’s narrative and snarky remarks as though this really were the beginning of an entirely new set. The plot progresses at a steady pace, with Mancusi’s usually knack for completely unexpected twists propelling things along the way. There is a whirlwind of an ending that will leave the readers wanting more, while still wrapping up much of the story arcs specific to this book.

With a range of paranormal elements seamlessly weaved together into one book, and a great play out of events, Night School is a great addition to the Blood Coven series. Filled with near constant humor, even in the tougher situations, Mancusi truly has a knack for the comedy. The most enjoyable aspect for me still remains the snark and sass of Rayne and Sunny, and the overall lighthearted air sets these books apart in a sea of dark fantasy books.

Details:
Source: ARC received for honest review from publisher free of charge
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (January 4, 2011)

7 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this series before and it sounds like I am really missing out on it! I will have to add it to my TBR pile! Thanks for the great review!
    :)

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  2. thanks for the review. I've never heard of it, but now I'll have to look out for it. It sounds interesting.

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  3. I'll definitely be starting this series soon!

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  4. I really want to read this series! Great review :0

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  5. yet another series i should get into...night school definitely sounds right up my alley. I love the sounds of this!

    great review!

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  6. It's a great series and i have to admit i can't put it down, literally. I was up 'till 6 am reading lucky it wasn't a school night

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