Thursday, August 4, 2011

Misfit by Jon Skovron

Published on: August 1, 2011
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher provided egalley from Netgalley

From Goodreads:
Jael has always felt like a freak. She’s never kissed a boy, she never knew her mom, and her dad’s always been superstrict—but that’s probably because her mom was a demon, which makes Jael half demon and most definitely not a normal sophomore girl. On her sixteenth birthday, a mysterious present unlocks her family’s dangerous history and Jael’s untapped potential. What was merely an embarrassing secret before becomes a terrifying reality. Jael must learn to master her demon side in order to take on a vindictive Duke of Hell while also dealing with a twisted priest, best-friend drama, and a spacey blond skater boy who may have hidden depths.
I had a hard time getting into Misfit, but I trudged through, and once I got a little bit into it, the book got quite interesting. I think my original problems stemmed from the book being written in third person present tense. It reads like, "Jael sees her father's face," which just feels so unbelievably awkward to me. It also seemed to create a distance from the protagonist; we know everything she thinks, but it's not worded like she's telling us, but some other random person hanging around who happens to know all. But once I got over the writing, the story of Misfit hooked me.

I liked the different approach to demons, especially the fact that the author doesn't even delve into angels, which is obviously the more glamorous of the two. I also liked that the demons of today are actually the fallen gods of former civilizations. That connection to history makes the demons seem more plausible in today's world.

I also found most of the characters to be interesting. I am dying to know exactly how Dagon ended up where he was. I also felt like he was a very good character; a fallen god, resorting to being a baker in Hell, but very caring and nurturing towards his niece. Plus he always had sage-like advice. :) I didn't connect so much with Jael, but found myself not caring about that so much. I liked Jael's parent's relationship a lot, and felt like her mother, Astarte, was really the heart of the story. The flashbacks depicting Jael's parents were actually my favorite parts of the whole book.

I found the story to be compelling and the plot moved along. I never found myself getting bored with what was happening in the book or wondering when something exciting was going to happen, which is always a good thing. That comes from the interspersing of action-packed flashbacks, rather than the straight telling of just what was happening to Jael, and it worked quite well for me.

My biggest complaint from Misfit is the third person present tense. I have never been a fan of present tense in novels, but at least when it's in first person I can relate to the protagonist. I found myself not really caring about what happened to Jael except in how that would affect her family and friends. (Bad, I know.)

Oh! Almost forgot. I LOVED Jael's demon powers. I love love love how she has to communicate with elements, rather than just manipulate them to her will. I think it's unique and betrays the author's respect for the earth (No, I am not a hippie, but I can appreciate someone who cares.)

Misfit is a book I didn't expect to like, but found myself entranced by the engaging secondary characters and unique mythology.  

*Warning* There is a decent amount of cussing and some lewd content, and I wouldn't recommend the book for younger YA readers.

Three out of five stars.


Risk a paper cut? Anyone interested in demons and mythology would be delighted by the mix of the two into an interesting and unique novel.

To buy: Amazon

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