Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vesper by Jeff Sampson

Title: Vesper (Book 1)
Author: Jeff Sampson
Pages: 304
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 25, 2011

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

Haunting and eerie, Vesper deals with a fresh, new concept in the paranormal genre; the Dr. Jekyl and Hyde-esque idea of the different alter-egos. Along with originality, Vesper is also a mysterious, striking page-turner with a captivating premise. The suspense and thrill drips off every page with the mystery of the events slowly being peeled off, layer by layer to piece together what happened.

Emily's real personality is too one-dimensional even with her alter egos; 'Daytime' Emily and 'Nighttime' Emily. She becomes flat and too predictable at times, but there are those precious moments where she really becomes relatable and her expressiveness triggers the readers' empathy. Emily's relationships are dulled and disregarded upon at the beginning, but they begin to grow with her friends and when she starts to find out the truth about herself. Her change in character parallels with how her new-found abilities are developing as well. Emily is still in a phase where her character is still fickle and underdeveloped at times, but in the next installment, her characterization will hopefully improve.

The plot of Vesper is unpredictable and believable at the same time. The interrogation transcripts between Emily and Mr. Savage creatively add a more mysterious allure to the novel and feeds the reader well-needed information to fit the pieces together. At the start, Emily is as much in the dark as the reader is, and as events are put on the spotlight, Emily, together with the reader, will discover things slowly as the book progresses.

Ultimately, Vesper is part of a series that has lots of potential to grow. It has that edge-of-your-seat element flawlessly perfected and an originality that stays true. Although it doesn't have bonds as developed, this could be improved in the next installment. But well done to Mr. Sampson for writing a fast-paced, enjoyable read!

The Bottom Line: An okay read for me, but Vesper has lots of potential!

---Field Report---
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Characters: 7/10
Plot: 7/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 7/10
Theme: 6/10
Imagery: 7/10
Setting: 3/5
Voice: 3/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 4/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 75/100 (B)


Karen April 5, 2011 at 11:27 PM  

I keep hearing mixed reviews for this one. Maybe it has a good start but will develop more over the series.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) April 7, 2011 at 4:24 AM  

I've been debating whether or not I really want this one, but I think I'll check it out sometime. It sounds interesting enough and the edge of your seat feel makes me want to read it. Vesper seems like a promising beginning to the series. Great review!

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