I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on August 5th, 2014
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.
In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.
*takes deep breaths* Where do I even begin? I’d heard great things about Ann Aguirre with her Razorland series, but I hadn’t read that one — because zombies. Anyway, when I heard about Mortal Danger, a dark book about a Faustian bargain made to take revenge on high school bullies, I was immediately intrigued. What I thought I was getting into turned out to be totally wrong, but the many thrills and chills I got instead made this one a fascinating read nonetheless.
First things first, Mortal Danger takes the creepy bus to Creeptown – population: ME. Oh. My. God. This book. It’s so freaking scary. I didn’t exactly expect the level of sheer terror that I got from this book – which can either be a good or a bad thing, but in Mortal Danger, I feel like it worked rather well for me. I should have expected some shivers, given that the plot hinges on a Faustian bargain, but this book did not advertise the fact that it would bring your every childhood nightmare to life. AND I MEAN THIS QUITE LITERALLY. The book further tricks you because the first half really isn’t that scary at all. It’s this slow descent into Creeptown, and at the end my eyes were just watering and I had to put the book down for some deep breath breaks because DEAR LORD.
I don’t even know how I’d classify this book into genres because it’s a mash up of EVERYTHING. There’s paranormal, fantasy/mythology, science fiction, and of course, HORROR. But it really is skillfully done, because though it’s hard to describe to others, it doesn’t feel at all that strange while reading. It’s easy to see the amount of research Aguirre did for this book: the fantasy and horror elements come from all these myths and urban legends from our history that seem to perpetuate around the globe under different names. Her premise is, what if when enough people believe in something, they bring it to life? So think of your Bloody M— (I’m legit scared to type the name now) myths and rituals and yeah, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of the scary shit that goes on in this book. But her theories work well, and it builds a really unique and atmospheric world. There’s a fair bit of mystery that goes on in here, which really kept me turning the pages.
What I will say, though, is that I expected this book to be way more about Edie getting revenge on the bullies that pushed her to the edge, almost leading to her suicide. I mean, that felt like a PRETTY BIG THING, but her desires for revenge (though she states them constantly) are quickly put on a back burner. I was hoping for a resentful, slightly evil and sadistic MC, but once she has her makeover, she’s accepted into the group of bullies – the “pretty people” – and she just makes subtle snide comments and creates SOME internal drama. That’s it. I really don’t know how to feel about that, and I think the revenge aspect was given too much weight in the synopsis. Obviously, though, revenge still plays a big theme, but quickly Edie realizes she hardly knows these people and their own personal struggles, and the mysteries about the horror and sci-fi elements take dominance in the story.
The thing that really keeps me from giving this book a higher rating is the romance. I don’t really care for Edie and Kian, though it kind of pains me to say it. They cross the line into instalove territory a fair few times, and I find it hard to buy their relationship. I mean, fair enough, the guy did save her life – but instead of that being played out in a way that I truly get swept up in Edie’s feelings for Kian, it feels much more like a clichéd paranormal romance. I mean, he watched her for years. YEARS. Hello, Twilight senses. Though he says he liked her before she became beautiful, the relationship seemed very superficial. Because, I mean, how much did Edie even know about him before she pretty much demanded he kiss her? Hardly anything – and even after that she tries to do this flip floppy thing, like, “Oh woe is me, I really want to trust him but I don’t know if I can.” Luckily the story had enough other things going for it, because otherwise this relationship would have been a major no-no for me. I still feel really conflicted about it, and my hesitance actually grew as the novel progressed instead of fading — NOT A GOOD SIGN. Basically, some of the things Kian does for Edie, especially when he seems to be becoming more distant, were very hard for me to buy.
I’m also a bit disappointed by the amount of unanswered questions left over at the end. I liked that there was a sci-fi twist on this story – because, well, I’m all for the timey wimey – but it wasn’t explained AT ALL. I just don’t understand anything about this “game” either that these immortal entities are playing. At times, when the book kept mentioning the game, the game, the game, I felt like I should know SOMETHING about it, but that the book just forgot to tell me. But I kept hoping it would fill me in with some revelations at the end – and it really didn’t. I guess they’re leaving that all for the sequels, which somewhat grudgingly I am planning on reading (in broad daylight, with people around me). But the ending, to me, was a bit disappointing. Though it had a last little visit to Creeptown (thanks to Jessie for being my support during my MENTAL ANGUISH), the plot was resolved in the most predictable way. View Spoiler »Basically, I really feel like Edie could have made a better deal for Kian’s life. « Hide Spoiler