Claire Connolly’s life has been turned upside down once already by a devastating war between humanity and the paranormal, due to the tearing of the “veil” between the two worlds. She lost her father to the fighting, and much of her hometown of New Orleans and lifestyle to the aftermath. Post war NOLA is under the control of Containment, the Big-Brotheresque organization that feverishly works to contain any remnants of magic.
Unfortunately, Claire is a Sensitive, meaning that the magic leaking from the Veil affects her, gives her the ability to move objects, if she can learn to control it. If she’s discovered, she’ll be sent to the prison sector of Devil’s Isle to join all the other Sensitives and “Paras,” the magical refugees from the other side of the Veil. If she doesn’t learn to control her magic, she’ll lose her humanity and become a danger to everyone around her. But when Claire sees a young girl in danger, she has to help.
Little does she know that this event will change the course of her life again, leading straight into danger and opening a world of new possibilities. Like the fact that the world is not black and white but shades of gray, and that there’s more than two sides to the conflict. Who can Claire trust, and will she be able to help her new friends save the world?
I picked up this book because it was a selection for my local book club, and I found the premise intriguing. In this “world” Louisiana is under a type of quarantine due to the events surrounding a “break” in a dimensional barrier, with the survivors trying to pick up the pieces of their lives and rebuild in the shadow of an encroaching government agency that has hidden agendas and conflicting interests galore.
The story is told in first person, from Claire’s point of view, and I found her to be both refreshingly complex and suitably heroic in nature. Claire is a survivor in an almost-apocalyptic situation, someone who can deal with anything life throws at her, and then have a good cry once it’s all over. She is both vulnerable and incredibly strong, someone who manages to keep her head and a positive attitude no matter what happens.
This book contains plenty of action, especially towards the climax, which was frankly a relief, as I felt too much of the book was used as a setup for a series. This was my main bone of contention with the book, and why I wanted to give it a 3.5 star rating. There were so many characters, political groups, factions, and differing agendas that I nearly felt the need to draw a diagram so I could keep them straight. Still, I was interested enough that I may have to check out the next volume…