Sin is coming... Prepare to Swoon.Just when I think I'm done with paranormal romance--the predictability, the frakking love triangles, the paper doll heroines--up pops a book that takes my breath away. What is that past tense of "swoon"? I'm swun. Totally floored. Floating away on a fluffy white cloud.
Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.
Unconventional heroes are a risky business. I felt no love or sympathy for Nick of The Demon's Lexicon fame. Micah raised my hackles--though in the end I did find Liar to be an interesting read. I admit to favouring righteous, upstanding but charmingly flawed protagonists. Rather vanilla of me, right? I should get out more. But Dice is flawed all right. She treads the line between flawed and downright reprehensible through every chapter of Swoon, and I lapped it up. Nina Malkin charmed the socks off me. Swoon is told in Dice's rhythmic, luscious and unpretentious manner. She levels with you. She doesn't sugar coat anything or ask for your approval. Sinclair Youngblood Powers has made her go a bit nutty. Which is perfectly understandable as I went a bit nutty for him too.
Some people are just going to hate, Dice. I've never seen so many one-starred reviews for a popular 2009 YA book on Goodreads; so many "did not finish" tags. Swoon is also rather racy, something I don't mind at all when it's part of the story and written well. Malkin writes it very, very well. Hats off to anyone who can write about sex and lust in a way that isn't clinical, cringe-worthy or dull--and still suitable for a teenage audience. Racy it is, graphic it is not.
Then there's Sinclair himself. Sin. Lets get the frivilous part out of the way first. He's described as tall, broad, half Caucasian and half Native American. I'm not on Team Jacob but I was picturing Taylor Lautner post-steroid binge the whole time. Hawt. But what makes him fascinating throughout Swoon is being unable to tell whether he's good or evil, or whether to believe a word he says. Dice, the smitten kitten, is inclined to trust him almost to a ridiculous degree. But Malkin keeps her characters on the side of believability and reels Dice back each time she strays too far into dumb-lovestruck-heroine territory.
But this book isn't called "Sin" or "Dice". It's called Swoon, and the town of Swoon is just as important as the protagonists. Many of the families who lived in the town and that were responsible for Sin's lynching (or at least, what amounts to a lynching--the trial was hardly fair) are still living in Swoon, and it's them he wants to exact his revenge on. He wants them to shed their polite, guarded exterior and expose their true nature: cheating wives, abusive fathers, repressed sexuality. There's that delightful ambiguity again: is it revenge, or is it liberation?
Swoon is a very touching tale in the end--though some of you seem to have trouble getting that far. If you can lose yourself in Malkin's lively prose, fasinating plot and wicked sense of fun, you'll have a ball. I loved this book.