*ARC from NetGalley*
Ultimately I loved this novel and wanting more of the story, the beautiful graphic cover is just a bonus. With wanting a sequel the ending left room for one without it being a cliffhanger but did leave you wanting more. It also left room for the novel to be stand alone as well without being a dissapointment. In general there are a few small spelling mistakes and very minor gramatic errors within sentences but it is not very noticable.
The story moves quickly, and you don't realise how quickly the story goes through the pages. Like any good book we get caught up in her world and her life that this feverish lifestyle is also taken place as you read. There is always something going on and even thouhg it may seem like so much is happening in such a short amount of time in the book. But this doesn't overwhelm us, and McClellan has done a beautiful job at keeping the reader focused on the events at hand as well as adapting to the faced-paced plot line throughout the novel.
When we first get introduced to the characters we first think of Christian. Who is he really? Is he one of the Aura hunters or if he is an Aura too (thinking before we learn that Aura's are females). We also start to consider Llona's connection to him and as to what is making her feel that way with him already knowing what she was. Into the story I got depressed as Christian said that he can't get involved with her. It is as clear as day that he wants to but because of a reason (at this point in time) that the reader and Llona cannot fathom. Is it because of this father? Who is his father anyway, yes we know his job but what more do we know about him? Questions also like What happened in Washington? Why won't Jake and Christian tell Llona anything? cross our minds constantly until we are revealed these answers towards the end of the book when Llona becomes more aware of the stakes and of the overall "game". After we find out about Christian's true nature we start begging to want him and Llona to get together even though it is forbidden. However, this should have been anticipated from the start with the other Aura's and guardians that feelings would emerge one day to any Aura and not just these two. At the end we start to really hear about Christian and his feelings towards Llona as well as hers for him. This makes us put the Vyken momentarily out of our mind so that it becomes more of a shock when we find out who it actually is when truly, we have known all along that without this it wouldn't be much of a surprise because we were not ready for it.
Also as we get on with the story we are constantly driven to Mr. Steele. I was constantly fasinated and intrigued with this "sexy teacher" that I started to wonder about him as he seemed to have a certain power over Llona. After Llona's accident we see more of Mr. Steele and this convinces us that he is a Vyken. This is proved by his power when punching through the ice to get Llona with Christian. This being done at night proves this as his power would be much stronger at night, thus being able to cleanly and very easily break the solid ice that Chrisitan could not.
Constantly throughout the novel we see Llona's struggles to stay safe, as well as try to be happy in her life by not communicating with her peers. Also her struggle as an Aura to control herself as well as her power and as we go through the book we can see her changes (with the help of Christian of course) with her control over Light and her surroundings as well as her communications and self awareness.
Questions and feverishly running through our thoughts as would be in Llona's. We get a greater connection to her as we are as confused as she is about everything going on around her and as to what no one is willing to tell her. We are constantly drawn in Llona's thoughts and feelings that we start to become like Llona whilst reading the novel. We react as she would react and start to control and understand just as she does as well.
In the middle of the novel we are introduced to the letter that we may or may not realise straight away is from the Vyken. From this we are brought back to the dead bodies and to how they are related to Llona. At the end of the novel we get the sense that the killing of white animals as well as slitting their throats is like a description on Llona. A small, innocent animal, her hair from the white coat of the animals and the throat slitting as a sign to her loss of blood and that she is going to die by a wound to the neck or just exactly through a slit of the throat.
Emotional moments that made me want to, and nearly cry. However, these were cut short and we were thrust back into the action and reality of the present day, allowing us to overcome our emotions to cry. Like Llona as she has control over her emotions, we are going through the same feeling to hide and understand without too much feeling involved that we don't end up crying through the emotional flashbacks that we are taken through.