So I've never done a cover reveal (in fact, I'm not entirely sure what one does for these things. I probably should have asked. But I am the mighty Elizabeth. I do not ask questions, I am just always right), but in the process of doing this, I realized that I never posted a review outside of Goodreads for the author which makes me a terrible, horrible person since I read this in like...May. So I figured now was a good time to do that to give you guys a taste for what you're in for!
Goodreads: IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.
The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?
Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.
As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.
What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.
To believe the impossible.
You know, I was really pleasantly surprised by this. I've been dreading reading it for months, because I have a rule about not accepting books for review directly from the author (and these days I just don't review) - because WHAT WOULD I DO IF I DIDN'T LIKE IT??
Luckily I did! The beginning has a rocky start, but all the things that had me giving it a suspicious side-eye ended up not being concerns at all. Sort of spoilers but not really? (NOT A LOVE TRIANGLE PRAISE THE LORD!! At least not in this book, I can't speak for later books, but it didn't feel that way at all).
I've read in some of the reviews that the paranormal stuff doesn't happen until like the last 5%, and it's true that the full blown out paranormal things don't happen until then, but there are DEFINITE clues throughout the book, and especially for a series that's going to be 5 books long I think this was absolutely a great introduction. Plus it made for a great ending - there are clues, and if you don't have it half figured out by the end I'd be surprised - but the other half I'm preeettyyyy sure you won't have figured out. The story sets the plot up as expected with a paranormal novel, but then uses the tropes to set up something that felt utterly fresh and new.
There are quite a few pop culture references that I think will date this book in an unfortunate way in a few years, but I am 100% the target group with all the references. I mean, Pirates of the Caribbean? Florence + the Machine? All the cheesy mystery shows like Columbo and Murder She Wrote? TOTALLY MY SCENE. It also suffers from some awkward moments in the writing, but almost all of that was towards the beginning, and part of that might just have been me adjusting to the writing a bit slower than usual.
It also has a GREAT friendship - and you know how strongly I feel about those. Cara is both not a cardboard cut out of a friend, she's not just the manic pixie girl version of a friend either. Yes she's cheerful and quirky - which helps offset Scarlett, but she also has her own struggles to deal with that have nothing to do with Scarlett. She's also got a physical disability and I felt like that was dealt exactly how I want disabilities of any sort to be written - not a defining "this is who she is" sort of thing, but not glossed over as if it wasn't something she had to deal with. It's definitely part of who she is without defining her, and I can count on one hand the number of novels I've read where the whole point of the book wasn't the disability or the disability wasn't just used as a token character.
A lot of this has Scarlett, Cara, and Luke dealing with grief - all in different stages and experience with it. As someone who has had her fair share of experience with it, I think this is one of the better books I've read where characters react realistically to what's going on. It never felt as if Scarlett was being melodramatic or just mentioning it woodenly because that's what the character SHOULD be doing it, nor did it feel like she just instantly forgot it. It is ever present throughout the novel - but it's very much how I have felt in the past. It's constantly in your thoughts, until it's only mostly in your thoughts. You have fun and forget for a moment and then BAM. Out of nowhere it hits you again. Grief is one of the hardest things to write realistically (or at least I'm guessing, since I rarely see it written in a way that rings true for me. That being said, everyone responds to grief differently, so maybe I just have a too narrow idea of how it feels).
TL;DR - This is a fresh, new take on some well trod paranormal tropes featuring a great romantic relationship (seriously, I am usually a gags and rolls eyes sort of girl when it comes to cheesy romantic scenes, but oh my GOD there's this scene in the book that totally melted me and I got all teary-eyed and GAH), a great friendship, and a realistic portrayal of grief. It doesn't get too bogged down with that last part though - Megan artfully brought in a funny or light moment without detracting from the feelings of what just happened. It's hard to balance the two, but I thought she did a fantastic job!!
So, basically you should check out this series. I immediately bought the ebooks for the next couple books (although I then got hit with all things audition so I haven't read them yet) I enjoyed this one so much. And I'm veerrrrryyyyy picky about my paranormal books. This one is worth it for Cara and Scarlett's friendship, let alone all the other wonderful things.
And now for what the whole point of this post was originally supposed to be!
With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.
But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?
Pulling a single thread triggers a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.
All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.
But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.
In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?
It's so pretty!! And you know the upside to all this? You can buy the first book, get hooked, and then immediately go binge read the rest of the series. Trust me, you'll want to. You can pre-order this one here and here - it comes out February 16, 2016!