I'm actually having a hard time deciding how I want to start this review. I'm a CP of Karen's, which means I read it before she sent it off to her publisher. More than just seriously enjoying the story (which I did) I feel all sentimental and proud because it's the first book I've seen make the journey the whole way that I actually got to HELP with, and because it belongs to someone who's such a dear friend to me.
The world is built SO well; there are all kinds of secrets, awesome creatures, and just the level of detail that Karen put into it is amazing. It's rich enough to be a straight-up fantasy world all on its own (and it would stick out as a particularly well-built fantasy world in high fantasy, too) but it takes place in the modern day, so any reader who prefers paranormal or urban fantasy should find lots to enjoy here, too.
The plot and the pacing are masterful. You definitely can't read this a chapter at a time--you'll find yourself saying "one more chapter, one more chapter" until three AM when you can't keep your eyes open anymore. Every time you think you've figured out one secret, another comes into light, and the plot twists again.
There's also a seriously steamy romance between Yara and Treygan. I find most rom coms nauseating, but Karen won me over on every page with the Yara/Treygan cuteness. They are star-crossed, they start out the book NOT getting along at all, and, my favorite thing, they actually find reasons other than lust to like each other. They become friends, too--they learn so much about each other in a short amount of time.
Karen also takes a big risk in writing from 3 distinct points of view. And she totally pulls it off. She pulls it off seriously well--I think people are going to be jealous. Two of them are from MALE points of view, too (seriously impressed!) and yet I always knew exactly whose head we were in. I never once got confused. And she wields them so well--the point of view switches always at the right moment to maximize pacing and to give the reader exactly what plot information is necessary and relevant at that point in the story.
I can't say enough good things. Make sure you visit Karen's blog on Friday, her launch day, for a big celebration, a battle of the seamonsters, and a chance to win a copy of the book. We will also be giving one away at YA Confidential.