Rummanah Aasi
  I normally don't judge a book by its cover, but I can't help but cringe at a horrible cover such as the one for Nevermore. A goth and a cheerleader in a pink dress doesn't shout out "Read Me" to me. In fact, I was a bit hesitant to pick the book up. All I could keep thinking is: "Didn't I just a book like this before?", but I must say that the connection to Edgar Allen Poe and a few glowing reviews from fellow bloggers made me reconsider. I wish I could say that I loved the book as much as my fellow bloggers, but I didn't.

Description: Cheerleader Isobel Lanley has the worst luck. Of all the people in her English class, she is assigned to work on an English project with the goth Varen Nethers. The English project is to write a paper based on any American writer. Varen, an obsessed fan of the dark and weird, chooses Edgar Allen Poe. Not only does Isobel have to deal with the strange attraction to Varen, but she is also caught up in the nightmare world where the stories he and Poe have created come to life. Will they escape the dream world and come back to reality or will they lost to the dark forever?

Review: I really wanted to love Nevermore, especially since I love reading Edgar Allen Poe, but this book didn't click with me. The book is huge, 543 pages long, and the first half of the book is quite slow and centers on setting up the main characters. Isobel is the quintessential blond, popular cheerleader who is dating a jock who is incredibly possessive of her. I was worried she'd retain the cheerleader stereotypes, however I was glad to see her slowly change and realize that her so-called friends are nothing but bullies and are awful to those unlike them. It just takes her a really, really long time to come to this revelation and do something about it. We also meet the second main character, Varen (nice anagram of Raven, don't you think?) Nethers, the classic gloomy, silent goth who sits in the back of the classroom and has a troubled family. While we do see these characters break out of their stereotypes, I couldn't really connect with them and didn't feel attached to them. I didn't really care for Isobel. I thought she was nice and I guess determined to do was right, but nothing about her made her stand out to me. I thought Varen was interesting, however, I was a bit disappointed in not getting to know him. We only get a brief scene of what his life is like, but I wanted to know more. Actually, I didn't think I got into their heads as much as I wanted to. 
  Isobel and Varen's relationship is predictable and of the instant attraction kind, but I honestly didn't see any sparks. I did see signs where Isobel seems to be more curious and wanting to get to know Varen better, but I didn't think Varen really took an interest in her. So when it was revealed that Varen did indeed felt the same way about Isobel, I was a bit confused. Due to my disattachment with the main characters, I wasn't invested in the conflict nor did I sense an urgency when Varen's life is in danger. 
  What also bothered me about the book is that things don't get interesting until the characters of the dream world appear, which is the last 100 pages. The nightmarish images and allusions to Poe's poems and stories such as The Raven and The Masque of the Red Death are plenty, however, readers who aren't familiar with Poe's work may be quite confused as to what is happening. I thought the author's real talent shined through in the dreamworld, however, if she explained why Varen loves Poe so much besides "just because" it would have made the dream world much more powerful and meaningful.The power of Poe's work is that the horror doesn't hit you right away, but rather it seeps into your bones once you are done and just begin to understand it. When I read the nightmarish scenes in Nevermore, they were definitely creepy and dark, but I didn't get chills nor did I have trouble sleeping which I always do whenever I read a great horror book.
  It may sound like I hated this book, but really I feel indifferent. I didn't love it nor did I hate it, but I do feel let down. Nevermore is the first book in a trilogy and I'm not sure if I care enough to read the rest of the series. If you're still on the fence about reading it, I suggest you read Jenny@Supernatural Snark's review or Danya@A Tapestry for Words' review for a second opinion.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and disturbing images. Recommended for strong 7th graders and up.

If you like this book try: The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe by Edgar Allen Poe, Wake series by Lisa McMann, or Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
4 Responses
  1. danya Says:

    Aw, I'm sorry to hear this one was a letdown for you! You definitely make some good points, and I agree it is indeed lengthy and probably did not need to be drawn out quite so much! I also wanted to know more about what Varen's life was like outside of the small glimpses Isobel gets of it.

    It's interesting you mention Alice in Wonderland as a read-alike - I can totally see that with some of the confusing dreamlike sequences in particular.

    And thanks for linking to my review, Rummanah :)

  2. No problem, Danya. For this book in particular, I think you need to read several different reviews in order to decide whether or not to pick it up. Your review highlights both pros and cons in such a clear way.

    I think what bothered me the most is that I couldn't find the answer to my "why?" questions. I felt that the author just skimmed the surface rather than going deeper into her characters, plot, and themes.

  3. Jenny Says:

    Too bad on this one Rummanah! I adored it, I just thought it had such a different feel from a lot of the YA I'd been reading, but we all like different things. It's definitely not one that will work from everyone, and most of the reviews either love it or could live without it:) I enjoyed reading your thoughts though, you made some very valid points, especially about getting to know Varen better. Maybe we'll get more of his life in book 2:)

  4. I know you did, Jenny, which is why I ultimately decided to read it. I tried to suspend my disbelief when I read the book, but just felt like I was reading a really long prologue and the book just began to start when it ended.

    What you say of people having different taste and patience with a book's flaws is very true. I hope book 2 does a better job explaining things, but I'm still undecided about picking it up.

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