Thursday, April 21, 2011
Haven by Kristi Cook
"Violet doesn't understand why she feels drawn to the Winterhaven School. She just knows it's the right place for her. When she discovers the school's secret, it all makes sense: Everyone at Winterhaven has psychic gifts. For the first time in her life Violet doesn't have to hide her visions. She's always seen them as a curse, but now she can hone her ability and try to control it.
But she's thrown completely off balance when she meets the most alluring - and most mysterious - boy in school. She's never connected with anyone the way she does with Aidan, and the intensity takes them both by surprise. But as their relationship deepens, she begins to have visions of Aidan's death - and sees that she's the one who's fated to kill him."
-from the inside jacket
From the start of Haven, I was hooked. Violet has finally found somewhere she fits in: a school full of psychics. Not exactly the norm among the paranormal books these days. And while the school is more of a safety-in-numbers kind of thing than teaching them how to use their powers, Cook definitely uses the opportunity to build her cast. Violet is surrounded by telekinetics, empaths, astral projectors...and vampires.
Yeah, vampires. This is the point where I started having some issues. There is so much that Cook could have done with Violet's new, psychic friends, but instead the rest of the novel is peppered with supernatural cliches. The Boy, Aidan, can read minds and is inexplicably drawn to Violet...and guess what? He's a vamp (please see Twilight). Then we find out that when Aidan was mortal, he loved a woman who looks exactly like our heroine (Vampire Diaries) and that Violet is one of a select few girls who are destined to slay vampires (Buffy).
One coincidence, I can handle. I was actually interested to see how Cook would handle the mind-reading boyfriend in a unique way. Make him a vampire...okay, she's not the first to do that. But piling together three major plots from three very popular franchises distracted me from a lot of the book's highlights.
And despite the deja vu, I did enjoy reading Haven. Violet has a strong, distinctive voice and her visions - always of someone she cares about, always bad news - drove the mystery of the plot. I especially liked her new friends, Cece and Co, who were a wonderful dose of normalcy even when they were levitating purses and stepping out of their bodies.
So what's my final word? Even though the plot is flawed, Cook's writing style is captivating. The beginning was wonderful, the end less so. If you think you can look past the deja vu, go ahead and give it a shot.
This is Cook's first novel.