Sunday, October 19, 2014

Review: Byronic by Sandi Beth Jones

When the creatures in her dark drawings come to life, Chelsea finds that the mysterious Geoff is the only person she can confide in. But she can't help wondering who she’s kissing: her tender confidant or the dangerous Byronic rebel bent on shocking his detached father.

Starting over in the South Carolina Lowcountry is just what sixteen-year-old Chelsea needs. Unfortunately, moving also means living with her mom's snobbish British novelist employer and his moody son Geoffrey. Knowing that her new home likely used to be a slave holding plantation doesn't make her feel any more at home.

Troubled and reckless after his brother's mysterious death, Geoff often mimics his father’s literary favorite, Lord Byron, acting "mad, bad, and dangerous to know." She's determined to keep her distance and buries herself in her art, though the darkness of her drawings troubles her and others who see them. When people in the Gullah and Geechee community point out that she has been drawing Boo Hags and haints -powerful and terrifying creatures of local legend and superstition- she starts to wonder about her own heritage and her connection to the Sea Islands. She begins to question her own grasp on reality when it seems those creatures start making their way out of her drawings and into real life.

It's clear that Geoff has some secrets of his own, but he might be the only person she can confide in. Chelsea must decide who she can trust, when nothing in the Lowcountry is what it seems.
My Rating
 My Review
Byronic is dark, addictive, and not easily put down. I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience and could not turn the pages fast enough. The novel combines a contemporary world with myth and lore and I couldn't get enough of it.
The characters of Byronic are unique and well-developed. Chelsea is a great protagonist and an interesting voice. She's strong, but not stereotypical, and has a great personality. She always stayed true to her character, although I did feel that she reacted a bit simply to drawing disturbing images that might just be something more than a figment of her imagination. In addition, I loved the parallels between Geoff and Lord Byron. It allowed for a dark and brooding exterior personality that can be seen in a variety of stories to be unique and unforgettable. Of course, in my humble opinion, the real shining stars of the novel were the creatures of legend.
Yep. I'm on Team Boo Hags and haints on this one. Okay, so maybe I shouldn't quite word it as such, but I did love the concept of the creatures. If you're anything like me as a reader, you fall head over heels for a good example of lore and legend. Well, you won't be disappointed in this novel, which not only has supernatural creatures, but slowly introduces them through a different medium: art. (Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.)
Byronic really did not have many slow points at all. I was able to devour the novel in about one sitting. If anything, I would have liked to see a bit more of the past. Not all the questions were answered, sure, but that just allows room for more. (No complaints there.) I really enjoyed the read, and recommend the novel to anyone interested.

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