Author: Sara Wilson Etienne (Twitter)
Publish Date: February 2, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.
Faye doesn't really know what her place is in the world. Holbrook Academy is meant to rehabilitate her, and when her father drops her off, she's even more unsure then before. She feels drawn to Holbrook and her surroundings, but there's an odd sort of charisma on the island, too. It's dark and terrifying. and though Faye feels at home for the first time in her life, weird things keep happening, and she knows it has to be because of her. To top it all off, Faye feels drawn to Kel, but there's something different about Kel, too. He's good, but there's a touch of darkness around him. Can she figure out the mysteries of her existence, Holbrook and Kel before it's too late?
Now, it's no secret that I love me some straight horror stories, but there's something to be said about stories that are silent and deadly. Harbinger is very much one of those. Twisting in an ever-churning maze of darkness and unease, the story winds and writhes, spinning the reader into its deadly web. Sara Wilson Etienne has crafted a one of a kind story that is equal parts psychological thriller and drama. There is a rich, vivid starkness to the pages that, though complex, envelops you into a world that smothers you with an incredible tale from which you both long to remain within and break free. Nothing and everything in Harbinger is real, and by the time you close the last page, you'll be questioning your reality, too.
Gosh, I've been dying to read Harbinger for so long! I love it when stories teeter on the edge of insanity, just seconds from spilling over, but walk that line with precarious ease. Harbinger perfectly portrays the lost teen in Faye that wants so desperately to be normal, and yet wants to be herself, as well. Her internal battle is mimicked quite fluidly in her surroundings within Holbrook Academy. The vividness of the details of Faye's visions was incredible. Harbinger paints a scene of an overwhelming, smothering tidal wave that very nearly envelops the reader, too. Every character, whether primary or secondary, is fleshed out with intricate detail to create a multifaceted mystery. Touches of romance enhance the plot with a rich sweetness, but it's never cloying or overpowering. Rather, the story of Faye and Kel merely serves to strengthen the overall plot of Harbinger. Most of all though, Harbinger is non-stop action from start to finish. Whereas many stories within the genre span months, this one takes place in one week. It's a lot to push into a single novel, but Harbinger bears the burden easily, presented a vivid and haunting story.
I was thoroughly impressed by Harbinger and the author's incredible story-telling, and I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to read it. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal and dark stories.
I received this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.