Thursday, February 2, 2012

Women in Horror: Every Other Day

Kali D’Angelo is a sixteen year old girl with a unique situation. Every other day, she is a normal human girl who attends high school, does homework, and other normal things. On the other days, she is overcome with bloodlust and the urge to kill supernatural creatures. Along with the bloodlust is an entire change of her constitution, allowing her to heal quickly, go without food or rest, and be faster than any other human. Unfortunately, supernatural creatures are legally protected as endangered animals and what she’s doing is classified as environmental terrorism, despite the fact that they kill humans. Kali has no idea where these urges come from or why she changes to much day to day, but she gives in to her instinct.  Everything changes when she notices a distinctive mark on a popular girl at school that is indicative of a deadly parasite. She has twenty four hours to save her and Kali is still only human. With the help of some newfound friends, can Kali save this annoying popular girl? Will this adventure lead to Kali’s discovery of who and what she really is?

I initially picked this up because of the brief mention of zombies on the back cover and the similarity to the cult TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I love with a great nerdy passion. Every Other Day is actually quite different. Refreshingly so compared to many other paranormal teen novels. The focus isn’t on romance, like practically every other in the genre, but it’s not completely absent either. Kali’s personal discovery and adventure are in the forefront. At first, she has no idea what she is or why she has the overwhelming urge to hunt every other day. Because there isn’t any other option, Kali keeps her secret and just tries to live day to day. I really like Kali because she doesn’t whine about being alone or succumb to angst or drop everything in her life for a boy. There needs to be more heroines like her in teen fiction to counteract the Bella Swans that prompt people to think that abusive relationships and letting others control you is completely normal or even desirable. Kali isn’t just physically strong, but she experiences and works through emotions and tragedy to become stronger. Kali is believable as a person, aside from her supernatural abilities. Her newfound friendships with Skylar the self-proclaimed school slut and Bethany the popular girl are odd at first because they are all so different. Eventually, it works because they all have their own depth that is revealed throughout the course of the story.

The world building is fantastic. Charles Darwin discovered supernatural creatures in his studies of the Galapagos Islands. The creatures are considered endangered and efforts are made to save them. Kali ignores these laws to protect people against them, making her a terrorist of a sort. These creatures are well known to the public and people even choose to study them in universities for research. Other creatures besides the typical ones are featured such as chupacabras and dragons. Some popular ones show up in very different ways than usual. The world isn’t like anything I’ve read before.

Every Other Day is a fantastic read by any standards. The writing is laced with humor and emotion that really sucked me into the story. The action is fast paced and some plot twists felt like they smacked me right in the face. This is a rare instance where I actually hope a series will continue the story. Highly recommended to fans of Buffy and paranormal fans tired of romance dominating the genre.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

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