Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Intrinsical by Lani Woodland

Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn't want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist's attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well.

Lani Woodland’s INTRINSICAL is a wonderfully inventive and very creepy ghost story/mystery.  Just when I thought I had the story figured out, it took another turn…and another…and another!  I am in awe of Lani Woodland’s imagination and the way she fit all the different elements of the story together, all while surprising me up to the last pages.

Lani has a beautiful, smooth, imagery-laden writing style that really adds to the novel.  Here’s an example of a description I really liked (I read an ARC, so the final version may be slightly different):

“The events seemed like a chalk drawing in a rainstorm, important details being washed away by the water, leaving behind a smudged slate.”

Lani’s descriptive writing also amped up the story’s creepiness—I never knew swimming pools could be so terrifying!  There’s also a really scary scene involving a bathroom mirror that was very well done!

I loved the way Lani wove in aspects of Brazilian folk beliefs and herbal lore throughout the novel.  Her version of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena was interesting, unique, and multi-sensory—I particularly liked her descriptions of how different ghosts smell!

I also really liked the characterization of Lani’s heroine, Yara.  Yara refused to be a damsel in distress, yet she also thought before acting and developed an intelligent plan rather than jumping headlong into danger.
Finally, I appreciated the way the story ended, providing satisfying closure even though there’s a sequel (that I really want to read!).

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