Review of EVERY OTHER DAY by JENNIFER LYNN BARNES
On some days, teenager Kali is completely normal, attending high school and doing her best to blend into the wall. However, every other day, she’s superhuman. She doesn’t know if there’s a word for what she is, since she’s never met anyone else like her, but every other day she’s a driven, unstoppable hunter. She tracks down hellhounds, dragons, and other beasts that endanger her world. She senses their presence, feels lured to them, and compelled to kill them. On these days, she’s inhumanly fast and strong, with blood that poisons these beasts if they get a taste of it and a miraculous healing rate. Then Kali notices a symbol on a girl at her high school, a symbol that means that girl will die within the day. Unfortunately, it’s on one of Kali’s “normal” days.
I loved the premise of this book. So many fantasy novels feature protagonists with too much power. It often doesn’t feel they’re earning enough of their accomplishments if they have too many or too strong of magical gifts. Kali manages to be both the cliché superhero and someone who will need to earn her triumph. Not only do we have front row seats to her resourcefulness, but there’s the added twist that she’s not accustomed to needing to be this resourceful. (She can’t help counting down throughout the day to when she’ll be invincible again.)
I also really enjoyed the varied characters and how they play off each other. For starters, Kali doesn’t even like the girl marked for death. She’s a popular cheerleader known for bullying misfits. It tells us a lot about Kali that she would risk her life for this girl nevertheless. And this girl (Bethany by the way) turns out to be an engaging mix of predictably superficial as well as refreshingly layered. Oh, and Kali’s own voice is consistently fantastic.
I did find the book sometimes told rather than showed too much, especially in regards to the characters. The author frequently makes explicit statements about someone’s personality that any attentive reader could figure out herself.
My only other criticism is that the story almost lost me from the start by opening with killing puppies. Granted, they’re hellhound demonic puppies, but I’m a zealous dog lover who felt disgusted by the opening scene all the same.
Back to more of what I admired though, there’s a very unique magic system that keeps unfolding throughout the story to reveal more twists. And this can probably go on the list of the few vampire books that I like! Probably because vampires are only a small part of what’s going on here and the author’s take on vampires feels fresh and intriguing.
Fresh and intriguing. Those words probably summarize this whole book pretty well.