Isle of Night

, by Kt Clapsadl

Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff 
The Watchers #1

Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead.

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death.

Annelise has hit rock bottom. With a horrible step mother and an abusive father, she's tried to use her genius IQ to get away from her old life. However things don't go as she planned and she is left with no money, and no place to go. When a stranger promises her a new life full of challenges, she reluctant to go, but figures things really couldn't get worse than they already are. She's wrong. Sent to an island to be trained to become a Watcher, who assist vampires, she realizes that she may have bitten off more than she can chew, especially once girls start dropping around her like flies. Failure is not an option. Not if she wants to live.

At first Annelise's character really grated on my nerves, to the point where it took me while to really get into the story, especially since I couldn't seem to have any sympathy for her circumstances. I realize now that her sarcasm and trash talk were a coping mechanism for her, but when you add that to her very low self esteem, she was really hard to get attached to at first. However, I am very glad I stuck it out, because as time went on the initial grating behavior and speech opened up to a truly amazing character. Even though she still doesn't see herself clearly, she at least has a great deal more confidence by the end. She was able to transform her behavior into something productive without losing her inner spark. She's always going to be a little defiant, but instead of petulance, she learned to be witty, and continued to grow, which really endeared me to her in the end.

At this point in my reading "career", it takes a lot for a book to feel fresh, especially vampire ones. So, imagine my surprise when I realized this wouldn't be just another YA vampire book, but something truly unique. The whole concept of training these girls to be the perfect companions struck me as quite horrifying considering the fact that their "duties" aren't quite made clear. Annelise shares my sense of unease in that department as she questions at one point whether it is some sort of advanced Geisha camp. To make matters worse, things really are a case of survival of the fittest as those who fail are discarded. Permanently. It brings a whole new meaning to needing to improve oneself, that's for sure!

Despite the rocked start, I found myself to be utterly enthralled with Isle of Night, to the point where I cannot believe I hadn't read this sooner. YA books seem to get pushed down my list quite frequently due to the worry of the formulaic nature so many of them follow. Isle of Night was anything but formulaic, as it was the perfect blend of danger, intrigue, mystery and perhaps even a little romance. After reading Isle of Night, all I can say is more, more, more!


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Isle of Night: The Watchers  

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