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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Book Review: Swoon by Nina Malkin


What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

SINopsis: by Sinclair Youngblood Powers

Welcome, dear reader, to our story. It’s the tale of the lovely Dice Moskow and the also lovely Pen Leonard—yet, truly, for the large part, it’s about me.

Sinclair Youngblood Powers.

Call me Sin.

For it is I who was unjustly condemned to death in the town of Swoon, Connecticut, in the year of Our Lord 1769. It is I who swore vengeance upon the place, and I who returns to latter-day Swoon, slipping without sanction into the unsuspecting vessel of Pen’s body, possessing her, using her as an instrument of retribution. And it is I who inveigles Dice to free me from that vessel, make me flesh once more, infuse me with great vigor and determination and…

Yes, I coerce Dice.

Yes, I defy her.

Yes, I betray her. I do.

Yet above and beyond all that I love her, and if you doubt it I beseech you to read this story, this SWOON, and find out for yourself if my love, her love, our love—impossible though it may be—is true.

REVIEW: Torn from her native New York City, nickname-loving Candice (or Dice) is resigned to accept her fate when her family moves to Swoon Connecticut, a place where nothing ever happens. That is until spoiled cousin Penelope, better known as Pen, has a near fatal fall from an ancient ash tree. Pen's body is infiltrated by the vengeful spirit of an eighteenth century man bent on revenge against the descendants of those who unjustly murdered him. In an attempt to save Pen from the possession, Dice accidentally frees the spirit of Sinclair Youngblood Powers (aptly nicknamed Sin), and installs him into the body of a real flesh-and-blood man. Now more dangerous than ever, Sin awakens the quiet, cookie cutter small town to their darkest, most suppressed desires and subsequently leaves a path of destruction in his wake. Dice is the only person who can save her friends and family from Sin. But there’s just one problem- she’s inexplicably, utterly in love with him. In setting Sin free, she knows she’ll lose him forever.

Swoon was a dark, edgy and sensual read. The starkly beautiful prose in which Malkin constructs her sentences was like a breath of fresh air, and I found myself wanting to savor each delicious turn of the page. By far, my favorite character was Dice. Told in the first person narrative, her observations were so wry and so honest, I felt like I was transported into the book and literally sitting right next to her while she told me her story. I understood why she was so conflicted in her feelings, especially when it came to Sin. And let’s talk about Sin, shall we? Sin was so witty, so ruthless and so insanely passionate. Not to mention gorgeous and a gentleman (in his own warped way). There were times when I knew I should hate him, but I simply could not. It was easy to see how Dice could fall for him, who wouldn't?

The following is a really great moment between Sin and Dice after she realizes she was tricked into releasing Sin into a body of his own, and illustrates how mischievous and conniving Sin could be-

It was impossible. I believed in the big bang theory, in evolution. Besides, I was no god, or goddess, witch, whatever. Except Sin was there, in flesh and ...what, mud? Leaves? That extra special ingredient of my own tears? Only he couldn’t be! I did those things, yes – but for the opposite reason. “What I did” – each word was a sharp pebble from a quarry below my lungs- “was supposed to bring you peace.
Sin smiled. A dissolute, ferocious thing in his face.
“It’s a lovely night, my belly is full, and I’m in the presence of a beautiful woman. I couldn’t be more at peace.” (Page 152)
There are a lot of conflicting reviews I have read about this book. Though I agree with other reviewers that the writing could meander a bit, the characters were so well developed and the atmosphere so hauntingly decadent, I was able to overlook it with no problem. Many people also objected to the parade of “lust” left behind as Sin ran rampant through the former mild mannered town. While I can understand that, I personally did not think it was portrayed in an overtly explicit manner. However, with that being said, Swoon is not a book that everyone will love, and it's definitely geared toward older, more mature teens.

BOTTOM LINE: Swoon is a novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. It’s a smartly written, achingly beautiful novel about improbable love and unimaginable loss.

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 19, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416974342
ISBN-13: 978-1416974345
Buy at: Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc

Official Website of Nina Malkin

Read an excerpt from Chapter One HERE

Nina Malkin is the author of three YA novels, one novella, and an adult memoir. Before turning to books, Nina was a journalist specializing in entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyles. She has held executive positions as an editor and writer at Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Teen People, and her work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Seventeen, Real Simple, In Style, and numerous other publications. A New York native, Nina lives in Brooklyn with her musician husband and assorted felines. Find out more at ninamalkin.com.


Kristen said...

I got this sitting on my bookshelf from the library, but I'm reading like 7 books right now! Great review, makes me want to start it up as my 8th book.

Anonymous said...

I've read conflicting reviews of this one, too, but yours make it sounds great! I thought the concept looked interesting and the cover is really pretty. Maybe I'll give it a try! :)

Kate said...

This sounds like a great read. After all the conflicting reviews, this has convinced me, I want to read this book! Thanks for the great review :)

Anonymous said...

"...dark, edgy and sensual read." Alright! I have this one coming up soon, so reading this makes me excited!

Bere said...

Awesome review, Kim! I have to admit that I had never really payed much attention to this one. But, now after reading your review I will definitely add it to my reading list. And now I regret not getting this one @ B&N when it was on bargain. Sigh. Hehe, thanks so much, Kim =).