Finding Sky by Joss Stirling (4.3 Stars)

Discovering your soulmate has never been so dangerous

(Review: 9 Jun 2015
Edited: 27 Aug 2015)

The Book

The car drew away, leaving the little girl on the edge. Shaking with cold in her thin cotton T-shirt and shorts, she sat down, arms locked around her knees, her light blonde hair blowing messily in the wind, pale as a dandelion seed head.
Be quiet, freak, or we will come back and get you, they’d said.
She didn’t want them to come back for her. She knew that for a fact, even if she couldn’t remember her name or where she lived.

The book follows Sky Bright. She is 16, English, and an orphan. She has had a traumatic past, of which she remembers nothing, and was slowly coaxed out of her shell by her new parents. When they get a job offer in the States, they move to Colorado. Sky finds a group of friends among the students and learns about the American way of life and use of the language.

And then there is the school (read: town) bad boy Zed Benedict, whom she fancies, or not. And who fancies her, or not. Zed turns out to be a Savant, a supernatural race with superhuman powers. Savants mate by finding soulmates. Zed finds Sky. However, there is much more to the Benedict-family. Soon her link to Zed puts Sky in danger, which might set her back to the psychological state of her childhood.

Why I Read The Book

I found this book after a desperate search for more supernatural novels which include a soulmate pairing, having just read the Significance series by Shelly Crane. The blurb told me that this was a book about an English girl who moved to America, and I was looking forward to the clash between two cultures that share the same language. And a glimpse at other reviews told me that there was a “perfect book boyfriend” in there, which is always hard to say no to. Consequently, I downloaded the book on my Kindle and started reading right away. Several times I found myself giggling like an over-excited school girl.

The Idea

Yes, I will openly admit that the general idea is not very original. But there is a market for it, and I’m certainly part of the market. And as long as there are enough changes to not confuse one with the other, I’m perfectly happy. I can never get enough of sweet, young adult, supernatural romance novels – especially if there are soulmates, which negates the possibility of love triangles. I am not a fan of love triangles.

I find myself taking books with psychologically deeply disturbed characters more serious and life-like than lighters ones, but also view them much more critical. This book had much of that deep darkness with Sky’s past and Zed’s responsibility as a seventh son. The author took on a great task to portray their characters in depth.

The Savant world is beyond interesting, and I find that it has been well-represented for it being only the first book in a series. There are already advantages but also greater disadvantages seen of being part of that race, which leaves me convinced that the author put much thought into the creation of the world.

The Characters

Sky is thrown into the world of Savants, who, if lucky, find their soulmate and spend the rest of their lives with that person. However, Sky has a troubled past which makes her shy away from everything that proves she is part of that supernatural world and makes her think she’s crazy and unworthy. Having suddenly the town bad boy on her heels, telling her that they are meant to be together forever, is often overwhelming to her.
She was an absolutely fascinating character, especially because of her English heritage, which at times clashed with her new American home and peers. The depth of her disturbance was approached skillfully, truthfully and shockingly, but not in a way that frightens the reader. I felt touched by it, but not in a nightmare inducing way. (I mean that as the highest compliment!) Her way of coping with the world, by picturing difficult situations as part of a graphic novel, is inspiring and funny, but, unfortunately, neglected towards the end, even when things get difficult for her again.

The boy’s gaze flickered at me, then dismissed me as no more than a fleck of mud on his Wolfman superboots.

I was not quite happy with the character of Zed. He felt too much like being a secondary character, though his importance to Sky and giving the reader an understanding of the Savant community makes him primary. Much of what we know about him, is learned through town gossip at the beginning of the story – which turns out to be false or viewed under misconception. The conversations between him and Sky are too much about her and too little about him. Sky does some reading into his character, but it is not enough to understand him. He is not a full character, which I would like my “perfect book boyfriend” to be. And perfect he was, too perfect at times, which I found, though super sweet, hard to believe. It was too much.

Sky’s new group of friends, Zoe, Tina and Nelson, would deserve a book of their own, each. They are fantastic supporting characters. Each has their own style, their own way of talking and approaching Sky and other people. Especially the sub-story between Tina and Nelson was beyond amusing

Realization and Writing Style

It actually makes me very happy to see that not every soulmate story has to follow the same course. Finding a soulmate doesn’t automatically mean deep and meaningful love, being unable to be separated from the mate. There must still be the possibility to get to know one another, go on dates, take it slow, and especially giving into the doubt that maybe that isn’t all that there is.

Finding a soulmate for Savants is not to touch or to look into each other’s eyes and then to irrevocably know, but to accept the supernatural gifts and to talk with your intended in your head. And it doesn’t necessarily happen at the same time. For Zed that means, there is a lot of patience involved, waiting, and slow explanations, to even get Sky to the point of dating him.

I still love you – more than ever. I’ll wait till you’re ready.

Generally, I found it difficult to follow Sky’s development considering everything Zed tells her about his kind and their future. First of all, there was Sky’s acceptance of him as a potential love interest. One moment she denies to ever want to date him, and the next she is completely charmed by him, and I don’t see how that happened. I was especially disappointed of her reaction after his explanation of how he realized she was his “soulfinder”, and her jumpy acceptance to comply to that role (or not). Overall, the development of their love story felt incomplete to my romantic heart.

I struggled even more with the story-telling. Just like Sky’s decisions felt jumpy, so was the story development – if not to say it was erratic. The element of coincidence was used too generously, the leaps in time appeared planted, and the narrator seemed often overwhelmed with the psychological depth of the characters. By that, my expectations of the novel as serious suffered by my more critical view, as it left me feeling there could be more. It was approached skilfully and touchingly, but the exploration of Sky’s (as well as the observation of Zed’s) level of disturbance could have gone farther and deeper.

Apart from that, I was absolutely stunned by this book. I thought this book might be one of those silly little overly cute romances that should have red heart-stickers on the cover (I blame its design), and I got a supernatural romance with deep, comprehensible characters and a gripping climax, starting half-way into the novel. I loved the writing style, I loved the setting, I loved the descriptions, I loved the world created.

The Savants are my new favourite supernatural beings, especially the Benedicts and their way of using their powers.

After Reading

Happy. A wonderful story with unexpected twists, soulmates and a happy end. I liked Sky and Zed together. I found the Benedict family interesting, even if a bit self-destructive. But I didn’t like it enough to convince me to continue reading the series and get involved with all the brothers, with only little glimpses of Sky and Zed.

Rating

Idea: 5 Stars
Characters: 4 Stars
Realization: 3 Stars
Writing Style: 5 Stars
General Rating: 4 Stars
Personal Rating: 4 Stars

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