I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Month9Books on October 28, 2014
Source: the publisher
Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.
No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it's not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.
Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.
Unwanted. That's all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can't explain the hold she has on him--inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn't know what her powers can do. Yet.
Just as Vayda and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn't so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
I want to preface this review by saying that I’m a member of this book’s street team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. And my opinion of the book does not change the fact that I love being on this street team because Sarah is awesome!!! I will continue to help promote this book to the best of my ability.
With that said, A Murder of Magpies is not the type of book I typically read, though it definitely intrigued me. My curiosity and desire for answers prevented me from putting the book down until the very last page. Though there were many things that annoyed me, I found it to be an overall fun read with an interesting, unique plot.
Vayda was a frustrating character. At times, I really liked her and felt bad for the hand life had dealt her. At other times, I wanted to smack some sense into her. Her abilties were interesting, though I was a bit confused on what, exactly, said abilities were and how they worked. I also couldn’t figure out how they worked alongside her twin’s powers – though, if I understood correctly, they’re basically like opposites – push versus pull; hot versus cold.
Jonah scared the bejesus out of me. When I first heard Vayda and Jonah were twins, I thought they would have epic twin powers. And they did. But Jonah used his powers for evil.. Well, maybe not “evil” evil, but he definitely walked a very thin, fragile line between good and evil. He used Vayda a lot, which wasn’t cool. And he got his family into a LOT of trouble SEVERAL times. He just wasn’t very rational about things and he often did things without thinking through the potential consequences.
Ward really ticked me off. He was more frustrating than Vayda. Sometimes, he was awesome and adorable and I loved him. He was SO CUTE with the dog! (“Like I could resist hurt doggy kisses.” I mean seriously!!!!!! THAT’S ADORABLE! This is a guy after my own heart!). And at other times, he was such an ass, especially to Vayda. He would get angry with her over the stupidest things and say some pretty jerky things to her, stalk off and not talk to her for days. And then out of nowhere, they were holding hands and acting like it never happened. Uhh… *Scratches head.* I mean, I know Ward must have had trust issues after everything he went through when he was growing up.. But he overreacted like a giant drama queen so many times!
Chloe and Marty were both bat-shit crazy. And there’s one scene with them and Vayda near the end that made me go all ragey. Also, there was a thing with Ward’s dog that almost made me DNF… I mean, these two were certifiable! Though at times I wanted to slap some sense into Vayda, most of the time I just wanted to slap Chloe and Marty because they were mean, rude and crude. I couldn’t believe some of the things Marty said!!!
No one ever explained their actions in this book, which made for pretty confusing scenes. One second they had no friends and didn’t want any, the next moment they were friends with Ward because he showed up at their house with no invitation or warning and continued to do so until Vayda and Jonah befriended him. One minute Chloe despised them, the next she was showing up at their house and inviting Vayda over to her house. In some cases, the “why” was explained later on in the book. But until things were explained, I was left incredibly confused. Plus, the characters would get into fights and then, out of nowhere, be friends again, like the fight never happened. No (or very few, very brief) apologies.
Those issues aside, this was still an enjoyable read. It was dark and creepy and left me guessing until the very end. I loved the overall concept of the books; gypsies are something I haven’t seen a lot of in YA books. The fear and paranoia over what they could do felt realistic – people rationalize the things they don’t understand. When that doesn’t work, they use fear and anger to suppress those they find odd and abnormal. So that felt realistic and made complete sense.
The ending was pretty interesting. Like I said, a few things happened at the end with Marty and Chloe that really upset me. Like, ragey raging upset. One character sort of redeemed him/herself, though, which softened the blow a bit. One character I thought was completely untrustworthy, turned out to be incredibly trustworthy, which totally shocked me. And then one character I never suspected of anything, who seemed completely loyal and trustworthy, turned out to be behind SO MANY THINGS. Talk about epic craziness!
Overall, though there were definitely some parts that really turned me off and upset me, A Murder of Magpies was an overall fun, interesting read with a unique (to me, at least) concept. I’m on the fence with how I feel about most of the characters, but the overall premise and plot held my interest. I needed answers so desperately, I refused to put the book down until I had said answers. Would I still recommend this book? Absolutely. Though I had some issues with it, I still enjoyed it and I think others will, too. And others might enjoy what I didn’t. As I said at the start of my review, I still adore Sarah and still intend to remain on the street team, promoting the heck out of her and this book and any books she does in the future. She’s just that awesome!