Elizabeth Caldwell doesn't feel emotions... she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They've all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn't succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?
They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her.
I confess that I barely even read the synopsis of this novel before requesting it. The cover was simply irresistible. And sometimes covers do that! They lure you in despite the story. But the book blurb did interest me.
This is unfortunately one of those novels that I really enjoyed, however, days after reading it, I sit down to write a review and I simply draw a blank on the details. I don’t know why that happens with certain books, and I certainly don’t quite understand it with this one either. Because simply… the main character of this story was very unusual and not a common heroine in the books I read.
Taking some time to think, what is it that I really enjoyed about this book?
Well… a girl that has to master ‘fake it till you make it’ is quite interesting to someone like myself, who has a hard time keeping their face neutral most of the time. And that is because Elizabeth feels no emotions. She can’t relate to anyone around her or to any of their reactions… but she tries to behave in the way that is expected. But what is even stranger is that she sees what no one else can – Emotions themselves. Courage, Fear, Resentment… they all come and go, and like muses they hover over the humans around her, whispering, or touching the human who is, at that moment, feeling that particular emotion. Fear is the anomaly, coming around her out of fascination… no.. obsession with Elizabeth, and what has happened to make her so different from others. This is such a fascinating and original concept, and it was so hard to put the book down.
Elizabeth has a couple of friends, surprisingly to me, and to her as well. But she has also made some enemies, and in the highschool setting, days can be quite stressful and teenagers quite cruel. And I could not help but admire the way she handled the teasing and hostility, and I found myself wishing I could be a little bit more like her – impassive and undisturbed in the face of someone’s petty cruelty. Of course, I am sure it helps to literally not care. LOL
Though the pace was a bit slow, I enjoyed the discovery into Elizabeth’s past and her true story. Never did I come close to the actual truth of her origins by guessing, and how she came to be the way she was, when as a child she was as normal as any other little ones around her. But the conclusion fit so well together in this original premise. It all made perfect sense and felt satisfying.
For someone that could feel no emotion, the love triangle in this book was not only interesting, but quite endearing! Which I found pretty fascinating and a victory for the author to be able to still make my heart palpitate even though one half of the party in question couldn’t really ‘feel’ like everyone else.
Ok, so I guess quite a bit did come back to me as I sat and thought about this novel. J I would certainly recommend this to YA fantasy lovers like myself. It was definitely different and very much a treat.
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Many thanks to Netgalley, Authors and Publishers for making copies available for review. No compensation was accepted and my opinions are 100% my own.