Between by Megan Whitmer

Between by Megan Whitmer(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

When a supernatural freak of nature forces her family to separate, seventeen-year-old Charlie Page must turn to her frustrating (yet gorgeous) neighbor, Seth, to help reunite them. Seth whisks Charlie to Ellauria—a magical world filled with the creatures of myths and legends—and tells her of the Fellowship, the group charged with protecting mystical beings from human discovery. (All except Bigfoot: that attention whore is a total lost cause.) But when Charlie learns that she’s under the Fellowship’s protection herself, well, “stressed” is an understatement.

Ellauria should be the safest place for Charlie while the Fellowship works to find her family, but things in the mystical realm aren’t what they seem.

Magic is failing, creatures are dying, and the Fellowship insists Charlie holds the key to saving everyone. With her family still missing and the danger in Ellauria growing, Charlie doesn’t know who she can trust. She’s dealing with a power she never asked for, falling for a guy she can’t have, and being forced to choose between her destiny and her heart. And if she chooses wrong, she could destroy magic forever.

Charlie may be in over her head.

[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

I wavered on requesting this one for ages.  It sort of sounded like your typical fantasy (girl has special powers, gets attacked, hot protector dude steps in to save the day, whisks her away to a strange land to master her skills, etc.) and that made me a little reluctant, but at the same time I fell in love with the cover.  It’s a shallow reason for reading a book, I know, but it did look interesting and that’s why I requested it in the end.

Luckily for me, Between is actually a pretty good book.

The thing that impressed me most was Megan Whitmer’s world-building.  Not only does she populate Ellauria and Earth with familiar creatures like sirens, harpies, elves and fairies, she adds in creatures that you don’t see very often (ones that I’m pretty sure she created) like jourlings and the ever-important dying race of muralets.  Instead of being one happy quasi-Medieval world, Ellauria is full of politics and danger lurks behind every corner.  Not everything is as it seems and trust me when I say that everyone seems to be playing their cards close to their chests.

I have to admit, the characters were decent enough as well.  Charlie is far from the Mary Sue you so often see in these types of books simply because she actually has to work to develop her powers.  At the same time, she’s constantly worried about her missing brother and mother and she thinks she’s falling in love with the one man she really, really shouldn’t.  Add to that the fact that the Between, the source of all magic, seems to be dying.  She’s stressed constantly and you can really tell, unlike some books where the main characters doesn’t seem to be fazed by anything.  Seth is your typical tragic bodyguard character archetype but he also has quite a bit of depth and I was really starting to enjoy his character by the end.  The only one that disappointed me was Charlie’s brother and I can’t tell you about that without giving away spoilers.

The only thing I was disappointed with is the plot.  For most of the book, it really seemed like Charlie and Seth were wandering around with very little purpose with training scenes thrown in to spice things up.  But then at the end, when we meet the bad guy, I was supremely disappointed.  Let’s just say that the man at his side was a walking stereotype that has been used so many times in the good vs. evil fantasy novels.  It was kind of disappointing when the rest of the book had been so strong.  Still, I will read the second book when it comes out.  The cliffhanger at the end was just too much to ignore!

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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