Monday, February 21, 2011


Title:Savannah Grey
Publisher:Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint:Carolrhoda Lab
Pub Date:04/01/2011
Category:FICTION - JUVENILE: Action & Adventure (incl. Interactive Adventures): Action & Adventure
Author:       Cliff McNish

Savannah Grey needs to keep moving. She doesn't know why, but she can't let herself get tied down by too many people. It’s almost like she's being chased by something. And now something strange is happening with her neck—with her throat.
Then she meets Reece—a guy who seems to understand her needs. He even knows about her neck. The same thing is happening to him. It's as if their voices are becoming weapons, warming up for some kind of attack.
Nature has been preparing for battle with the universe's ultimate monster for millennia. The time to fight is almost here. The weapon is Savannah Grey.

Before I begin this review, I'd like to make it very clear that, though I have an imagination, it's very difficult to entertain me with action-adventure, paranormal, and horror type writing.  I am a realist.  Maybe it's the nurse in me, but very few fantastical stories can force me to believe in alternate worlds.  So, what drew me to review Savannah Grey?  I haven't a clue.  Maybe it was the simplicity of the title, the beautiful cover or the way the book was described.  In any event, I surprised myself when I asked to review it.  I was not disappointed.

Description:  I am not one who particularly needs a lot of description.  Normally, I'm bored to tears with it.  But Cliff McNish did a great job of weaving description in with the story.  I found the story unraveled well with the continuing descriptions of Savannah's interesting trait.  The more she learned, the more the reader learned.  And that left me curious, wanting to know more.  I appreciated his style of quick tidbits that were thoughtful enough to leave me with a clear picture, but not skipping words, paragraphs, or phrases.  And he made the me-the nonbeliever think this situation could possibly happen to a fifteen year old girl. Score: (8/10) 

Narrative:  I think Cliff McNish's style of narrative is what kept me reading this book.  I loved the technique he used to tell Savannah's story and then concurrently telling The Orcassa's story.  It showed a lot of thought, research and preparation.  Not only was I impressed, but I was very intrigued as well. The change from mostly first person to occasional third person broke up the narrative and added extra tension.  The plot was clear from the start and each event moved the reader forward to the next.  Nothing seemed out of place or sequence. I do have to say I found a lot of the story rather predictable, though I was able to override that due to his beautiful writing style. And considering the genre-that's difficult for me to say.  Score: (8/10) 

Dialogue:  Much of the story unfolded with both outer and inner dialogue of characters.  Neither of which were boring or contrite.  However, when Savannah was figuring things out internally, I think the author could have done a little better here.  Savannah seemed to just understand/know things.  I found this a little distracting in that I had to consider how she figured things out.  Granted, it could have been instinct or the thing in her throat telling her, but that small detail kind of got to me. Though it caused me pause, it wasn't bad enough to make me stop. Overall, the dialogue was well written, interesting and productive.  Score: (8/10)

Characterization:  Savannah Grey is a fifteen year old girl with a big burden to bear: save the world from ancient evil. But it's clear from the start that she is no normal girl.  Her character starts strong and stays that way.  As a matter of fact, all characters are like that.  Instantly, I felt as if I knew everyone involved in the story.  As I said above, I loved the story behind the scenes of the developing Orcassa, the Horror, and the Nyktomorph.  And through his characterization, I learned to understand even the bad guys.  Cliff McNish did a great job with even the smallest of characters.  Score: (8/10)  

Resolution:  The climax of this story came together well.  All the pieces worked together to create a full picture in clever ways.  Although at some points, it did feel rather drawn out.  I didn't get bored, but I did think one or two of the barriers was a little much.  But then again, that could be my difficulty with this genre.  Overall, however, the actual ending thrilled me.  I love wide open endings that leave the reader to come to his/her own conclusions.  I despise being told what to think and feel when I close out a book.  Cliff McNish answered all questions, but left me to decide the rest.  To me, nothing can beat that.  Score: (8/10)

For a beautiful, fantastical read, I'd rate this book 4 stars out of 5.   I recommend you pick up Savannah Grey when it's released in the US, even if you're not a huge fan of paranormal/fantasy and horror.  There's a lot to be said about the power of love and Cliff McNish found a very interesting way to share his thoughts and feelings on it.

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