Author: Shannon Duffy
Spectral was a brilliant mash-up of everything I loved, and Shannon Duffy's skilful mastering of all the aspects of YA is, in one word, sensational.
Let me start off by explaining the various well-executed ingredients in this tale. From the daunting experience of being the new girl in school to crushing on the ridiculously beautiful new boy in town, from ancient family secrets to dangerous kidnapping across continents, and lastly, a cat-and-mouse chase from cold unforgiving Russia to carnival-dancing Italy... And then it all culminates in a mind-blowing final clash between two powerful witch covens. What more can you ask for?
So in short, the three hundred plus pages of Spectral was a feast for the eyes and the heart.
Jewel begins narrating the story in the back-seat of the car as her parents move yet again to another small town. She is fed up with the fact that her parents are part of the witness protection programme, and all her life, she has been escaping from some inescapable bad guys. Fast forward to her first day in school where she meets a dark mysterious boy, Roman, whom she discovers is her table partner.
But, the real plot only starts when Jewel discovers that she is a witch and a Spectral no less, much to her aghast. A Spectral is a once in a millennium gift to a single coven, and would in turn enhance the powers of the coven she is in to no bounds. With the rest of her family hiding this life-changing secret from her, Jewel begins doing some sleuthing and careful research on her own, determined to take her destiny into her own hands. What she discovers, however, both exults and frightens. She will come to her powers on her seventeenth birthday and if she does not complete her metamorphosis, she will die.
Yet, her confidence in her family, which Jewel believes will protect her, crumbles in a single night when she stumbles upon an old photograph telling her of her true origins. The family that she had known for years is not her true kin.
And henceforth, the real adventure finally begins with Jewel searching for the Spectral dagger and the boy who holds the key to her heart. Betrayed again and again by those she called her own, Jewel learns to discern between who to trust and who to trick. Amidst all these fresh betrayals, is Roman-- a boy on the mission to kill her, sent from the most powerful witch coven. Yet, he is the only one who never deserts her.
For those who have to know the ending before they read, let me just say it is all wrapped up brilliantly in a flourish in Italy, where everything begins and everything ends.
That is why I was so completely won over by this book. Because this book delivers, just like a full three-hour worth of movie watching experience. I'm thrown into a once in a lifetime adventure from a tiny town to Russia then Italy. It's so action-packed that I simply have nothing more to ask for.
Also, I will have to begrudgingly give some credit to the love triangle. It was pretty tolerable though it was one we could have done without. Thankfully, there were no wishy-washy decisions this time round. Instead, Jewel followed her heart and ended up with the one boy who could make her smile and hurt like no one else can. Just as a side note, no matter how much I loved Jewel and Roman together, they embraced just a little too much...
But, ultimately, a round of applause still, for Shannon Duffy. The author who surprised me, delighted me and impressed me with her remarkable debut of a girl fighting for her own destiny.
Source: From Tribute Books (publisher) for review purposes.
As part of the Spectral blog tour, I'm proud to give away one ebook copy of Spectral.
Here are some ground rules before you enter:
1. This giveaway is opened internationally to readers from all parts of the world as long as you have an email address.
2. I will notify you if you win and pass your name and contact details on to the publisher. Please note that you will receive the ebook directly from the publisher, Tribute Books.
Do reply within 48 hours upon receiving my email.
3. This giveaway begins 8 June 2012 and ends 14 June 2012.
That's it, aren't you excited? :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway