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Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Posted by Irish in Review2 Comments

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 02 Feb 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 0399256687
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 320
Place(s) Traveled to: Holbrook Academy in Maine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: My nose prickled with the stench of dead flowers and mildew.
When I started to read Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I hadn’t heard many reviews of it at that point and so it was a bit refreshing to walk into the book with no real expectations. What I got was a bizarre little novel and one that I’m not entirely sure that I fully understood. This is a book that will make you question what your perceptions are because what you are told may not always be what is true and real.

Harbinger was told through the point of view of Faye and so there were times when it was hard to tell what was real and what was a hallucination that she was having. Her hallucinations are part of why she was sent to Holbrook Academy in the first place. Faye is rebellious and just a tad bit creepy as are the other members of her circle/group/family at the academy. They don’t conform like the other “students” do and as such they are often targeted for some harsh punishments that can make the reader cringe. 

Harbinger was a psychological thriller woven on top of a dystiopian setting which added to the strangness of the novel. Faye’s world is suffering from severe drought and natural resources and the government has huge pull in how they want people to behave. Faye and those sent to Holbrook are there to be conditioned so that they will conform to societies rules as well as some other ulterior motive of Dr Mordoch that we learn through clues as the book progresses. 

As a whole this was an original novel from a new voice and I enjoyed trying to figure what was happening along with Faye. There is something nice when you aren’t clued in before hand to what is going on and having to try to figure things out as the book progresses. I also like that this is a stand alone book, at least as far as I know it is, as there are too few books that are. I do get tired of series and books with cliff hanger endings. I am also pretty tired of love triangles and so was happy to see that there wasn’t one in this book. I also liked the push and pull and the questioning that Faye went through with Kel. Was Kel working with her or was he working against her? I loved how no one in this book was entirely good or evil but all existed in various shades of gray. I enjoyed Harbinger and I look forward to seeing what Etienne comes up with next.

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