by velocibadgergirl

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review / giveaway: Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis

What if, on a normal morning, everyone reacted to you with shock and horror, insisting that you died three months ago? Died, as in fell off a pier and drowned? Died, as in they saw your coffin lowered into the ground? Author Kat Ellis explores this horrifying premise in her debut thriller, BLACKFIN SKY.

Blackfin is a small, insular town where newcomers are rare and odd things happen. Even so, residents wonder how Skylar Rousseau could return when she had seemed to drown on her 16th birthday. Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, which means she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone.

Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.

It is easy for readers to lose themselves in the magic of Blackfin, where weathervanes are inhabited by ghosts and fortune-tellers can be found in foreboding, walled-off forests. The sincere voices of Sky and the friends and family who love her ground the mystery in a story that is, at its heart, about protecting the people you love. A little bit The Night Circus and a little bit Wake, BLACKFIN SKY spins a unique magic of its own.

I quite enjoyed the story of Sky, a girl who maybe or maybe didn't die on her sixteenth birthday, only to return three months later. I was a little slow to get into it at the very first, I think because the overall voice of the book is very young, but it didn't take long before I was caught up in the mystery. The setting was richly created and fun to explore, the main characters believable and likable. I especially liked Sky, her dad, and her friend/boyfriend Sean. In a story involving some time-travel, magic, and interdimensional shenanigans, the most unbelievable part of the plot for me was that Skylar never hopped on Google to investigate the story of her family's past or the mysterious burned-down circus in the woods. It's clearly a pretty modern story based on the characters texting each other, so I remain skeptical that a teenager wouldn't immediately turn to the internet to snoop around for facts. She doesn't even google her own obituary. Other than that, though, I bought in and found the story fun, at times creepy, and containing a pleasing amount of suspense. There were a few twists I didn't see coming, and I'm usually an ace twist-predictor. Overall, I'd definitely recommend Blackfin Sky for fans of magical realism, mystery, or books that are a little different. I can't tell if the ending is setting us up for a sequel or just keeping the mystery alive...either way, this was a good read.

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Blackfin Sky for yourself, leave a comment here by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, August 20th.

DISCLOSURE:  I received two ARCs of Blackfin Sky to review and giveaway. Other than the italicized writeup at the beginning, the words and opinions in this review are my own.