From Goodreads: The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.
Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.
Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…
I was very impressed by this story. It’s not like any of Hildenbrand’s prior novels, and yet it’s still a captivating read, tackling the very real issue of grief, while still putting a supernatural spin on it. But before going into this novel, readers need to be aware that it deals with tough topics, those of death and redemption. And, truth be told, not all readers are going to understand Whisper’s feelings or struggle to move on with her life if they haven’t experienced such debilitating grief in their own lives, so it may seem very slow to some readers; it’s not an action novel (not until near the end, that is). Yet, while it does start out slow, that’s the nature of this story; it’s not meant to be a fast-paced gripping novel, but rather one of love and grief. Those feelings wouldn’t be portrayed correctly if it moved any faster than it does, and I, personally, enjoyed this slower paced novel, allowing me to connect with the characters in a more real, vivid way than action packed novels tend to do.
While I’ll admit I was a little confused in the beginning as to where the novel was going, once Dylan showed up, everything fell into place and I loved that Whisper finally began to feel like she was getting stronger. Her demeanor, up until his showing, made her out to be a very depressing character. Now, while many readers will understand where she is coming from, some might not and may dislike the novel due to a lack of action in the beginning, but again, this is the whole point of the novel, to show how Whisper comes full swing, learns to continue living without forgetting, and finding joy again.
I think Hildenbrand did a phenomenal job fleshing out her characters as well, especially Whisper, making the reader really feel for them, whether good or bad. For instance, I really understood Whispers grief, and her character drudged up some long buried feelings I had concerning my own grief. Likewise, Taregan caused me to feel immense hatred, and yet, Hildenbrand was able to make me still feel sorry for him in the end; the fact that she actually made me feel for the one character I couldn’t stand is a testament to Hildenbrand’s sheer writing capabilities, and I really enjoyed this story, especially the Cherokee folklore, magic, and overall presence of the novel. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Four stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.