Sunday 8 May 2011

CBR3 Book 35: "Finding Sky" by Joss Stirling

Publisher: Oxford University Press
Page count: 320 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Date begun: April 27th, 2011
Date finished: April 27th, 2011

I have a weakness for young adult books with pretty covers. It was what first drew me to Twilight, and it has led me to pick up and purchase a number of novels, some of them excellent (Wicked Lovely, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception), some of them absolute dreck (Hush Hush, Fallen). Finding Sky does not quite reach the dizzying heights of brilliance of the former books, but it's also a far cry from the latter, and the author is clearly trying to do something new, while still cashing in on the extremely lucrative angsty teen romance market.

Found abandoned at a petrol station as a child, Sky is bounced from foster home to foster home until the artistically inclined Brights adopt her. Yup, the heroine's name is Sky Bright (the lameness of her name is pointed out frequently in the novel, so it's not like the author isn't aware of it). Her parents get a grant to go to the US for a year, and Sky has to adjust to an small town American high school, nervous that it's going to be like all the stereotypes she's seen in the movies. After just a few days in school, the resident bad boy, Zed Benedict, catches her eye. So far, so Twilight. While Zed isn't a sparkly vampire, he does come from a family with unusual powers, and once he gets closer to Sky, he claims that she's his soulfinder (pretty much fated mate) and that she too has unusual abilities that she just needs to get in touch with.

Zed's the youngest of seven brothers, and his entire family, including his parents, has abilities like telekinesis, mind reading, healing and even mind control. They use their powers for good and try to help the authorities solve crimes. This isn't always popular, and they have dangerous enemies. These enemies realize Sky's somehow connected to the Benedict family and she is abducted to be used as a bargaining chip. If the Benedicts refuse to comply, she may be brainwashed, or even killed.

As I said, to begin with, this book seemed to be a fairly standard Twilight-rip off, but Stirling has some interesting ideas, and the concept of soulfinders, and certain people with supernatural abilities (that can be used for good or evil) was an intriguing one. Once one of these soul finders find their mate, their powers compliment each other so the couple become a stronger whole, but they can go their entire life without finding them, and can thus lose control and turn bad.

Sky is nothing like Bella Swan, she's insecure from having been abandoned as a young child, and having been in foster care for years before being adopted, but she's opinionated and self-sufficient and tries very hard not to be a damsel in distress, even when faced with some pretty terrifying kidnappers. She resists Zed at first, and while his change from surly and stand-offish at the start of the book to charming and romantic is explained, the romance does develop rather quickly, in my opinion. Not that there is a lot more to the romance than the occasional kiss, so this can safely be read by quite young readers without any fear of inappropriateness.

The Benedict family seem very cool, and as it's clear that Stirling has a book in mind for each of the seven brothers, I'm glad that they were all interesting and complex characters, and that the world she's created is an intriguing one. I will absolutely be checking out Stealing Phoenix when it comes out.

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