Saturday, May 9, 2020

Unchanged by Heather Crews

I'm currently in the process of cleaning out my Kindle and came across this book by my friend, Heather Crews. I think I read it for the first time several years ago but it occurred to me that I didn't really remember what it was about at all and thought it might be time for a reread before deleting it along with my other read books.

UNCHANGED is a lot like a grittier version of TWILIGHT. It has many similarities: human girl inexplicably attracting all the guys, set in the Pacific Northwest (Victoria, Oregon), one of the supernatural guys loosely connected to a local tribe (Siuslaw), romantic meetings in the forest, the "good" supernatural guy can live off animals and the bad one enjoys humans, etc.

However, the book begins to deviate from TWILIGHT in its darker second half, which deals with past lives, traumatic memories, and ruthless elementals. I haven't read many paranormal romances about elementals so that was kind of refreshing to read about, especially in such a wild setting.

I believe UNCHANGED is Heather's first book and it does show to an extent, especially when compared to her later works. Her style has gotten much more polished over the years, whereas this book reads as being more clunky. Again, the second half is better than the first and more reminiscent of her more recent work, featuring some truly beautiful descriptions of the woods. While reading this book, I kept thinking to myself, "This is like if TWILIGHT were rebranded as one of those Point Horror novels from the 90s that I loved so much, as written by Caroline B. Cooney."

Also, I find it hilarious how Merko and Ahaziel (cool names, btw) are kind of like prototypes for the characters in her book, DREAMS FOR THE DEAD, which I loved. Merko is totally Branek and Ahaziel is totally Tristan. Don't @ me, I know. I'd like to see this author try her hand at more young adult books, as I think her dark, repressed style works really well for it, especially since she doesn't condescend to her readers or try to hand hold. I feel like teens appreciate that distinction.

Overall, this was a decent read-- particularly now, when everyone's got TWILIGHT on the brain ever since news of MIDNIGHT SUN broke. If you enjoy quiet paranormals in that vein, you'll like this.

3 out of 5 stars

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