Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review of Nocturnal by Chelsea Cameron

3.5 stars! 

I was interested in the story after reading the synopsis, because it sounded like another vampire book, and I have to tell you, I'm on a vampire kick right now. But Nocturnal had a slightly unique take on the blood-thirsty paranormal creatures that I've been reading about. It was different, darkly intriguing and drawn out so that the reader was still guessing and still wondering who Peter is. Oops, I meant to say what Peter isBecause he's definitely not human, and Ava will be quite shocked when the truth comes out. The paranormal aspect is strong, but it's not the only thing going on in this book.


***

Nocturnal starts out on a pretty sad note. Ava, the main character, finds out that her mom's cancer is back and that she's dying. This time, nothing's going to help her. She has, at most, months left to live. But it's not enough time; it's never going to be enough time.
I wasn't losing her, like an earring or a set of keys. She's going away and never coming back.
In a no-win situation, I thought Ava handled it all like a champ. After a bout of self-pity, sadness, and anger, Ava starts to realize that she needs to spend as much time with her mom as she can. Her reactions to the situation were normal, like any real person would do after hearing something like that. She wanted to be strong, wanted to smile and pretend that nothing bad was going to happen, like it was a joke. And she tried so hard to be strong for her mom that she never let herself grieve. She pushes her friends away, starts spending time with a stranger in a cemetery, and keeps everything bottled up inside. Her inner dialogue is a mix of funny, heartbreaking, and happy. She uses humor in tense situations. She can't help but think about her mom's impending death and think about how many hugs or kisses she'll have left. The only bright spot in her life is her friends, Tex and Jamie, and Peter. 
"Do you consider me a lost or hopeless cause?"
Peter is not just a normal teen. He's different. Unhuman. But this doesn't deter Ava, nor the fact that he's told her he wants to kill her. There's something about the darkness that draws her in, makes her question her own sanity. Makes her reckless. She can't control her life, but this is one thing she can control. This one decision to keep going back to the cemetery and see Peter is hers, and hers alone. I think that's partly what draws her to him, and the other part is that he makes her feel alive. Although he's not human, and he's hurt her, it doesn't matter. He's the one constant in her life, and he makes her feel safe. The talks they have in the cemetery comforts her, and she finds herself looking forward to the nights she spends with him. 

I'm glad we got both Ava's and Peter's POVs, because Peter is an intriguing character. His struggle to not give into the kill, his will and determination to keep her alive, his darkness; everything about him is contradictory to being a noctalis. His humanity was still there, lying beneath the surface. But immortality is miserable. And lonely. And Peter had had enough. Until the night Ava stumbled into his family's mausoleum. Until he met Ava, he no longer cared about his life. But after meeting her, he can't seem to stay away from her. She's the only light within the darkness of his existence. 

I loved the slow build-up of Ava's and Peter's relationship. It didn't happen instantly; it started with friendship. I think they both needed the comfort that they didn't have to ask for with each other. I loved the glimpses into Peter's past, although I'd really like more of the history of the noctali. I'm still a little confused as to what they are and how they came to be. This was a fast read, and it kept me intrigued. 


***

Although I really liked the book, I didn't love it. The plot was sometimes boring, a little repetitive  It mostly consisted of talks between Peter and Ava (which made their relationship seem more well-developed than most YA couples I've read about--a definite plus!) and Ava's constant inner dialogue of what she should and shouldn't do. She was back and forth on a lot of things, especially when it came to her mother and her friends. I wanted to yell at her character when she kept secrets from her friends and kept pushing them away. I loved the three best friends' conversations in the beginning, and I missed them throughout the book. Not only is Ava hurting, but so is Jamie. Yet she can't see it because she's too caught up in her own life and her own lies. I also wanted more of the paranormal aspect, if you can believe it. We know about Peter pretty early on, but I still have tons of questions about the noctali. Like, what the hell was that ending in the cemetery? In any case, I'm really excited to read Nightmare and continue this cool series! :)