Every Other Day – Book Review
To say I have had some spare time for reading might be overstating the matter. It was more like I procrastinated the oodles of other work I should be doing and sped-read a couple of books.
The first book I am going to preview was called Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It is every bit a teen book. All the main and important players – well the heroes of the tale are teenagers; high-schoolers. The villains are adults – but isn’t that always the way?
The main character, Kali, is your typical, seventeen year old superhuman. She has insanely inhuman super abilities while fighting the myriad of teenage hormones and awkwardness well associated with high school. It was geared very strongly to that segment of the population. While that isn’t a specifically horrible thing, it is off putting for someone who does not wallow in teenage reminiscent. High school was not the best years of my life and I don’t need to relive them.
The other glaringly irritant for me was the use of science to explain the supernatural. Sometimes I can go along with the ideas presented in meaningless jargon. The use of the DNA triple helix however, I found grating. This may have been due to my recent covering of DNA structure and replication. While it is true, the triple helix was considered as a possible structure, it was very early on ruled out. A good thing as replicating three strands would not work in any logical method I can conceive. I also struggle with how the base pairs could conceivable bond together when bases are held together by specific hydrogen bonding. Even the use of a quadruple helix would have made more sense. It is like the idea behind conservative replication. It was an idea that was ruled out through experimentation. Even though it was inconceivable how it would function, it was a hypothesis – but that doesn’t mean we should claim that superpowers arise from that failed idea.
This doesn’t even touch on the inter-dimensional lines that had to be crossed to further the explanation of how every mythical creature known to mankind actually exists – and perhaps a hundred more too. Of course, I don’t need to have zombies and vampires and hellhounds and … who knows what else all packed into one hormone driven story.
In some ways it is amusing the way that ‘fantasy magic’ is replaced with ‘supernatural, paranormal and psychic’ powers or abilities or creatures in the present, science-grounded society. Essentially these two concepts of the wizard and the psychic work much the same. Their abilities are often similar and often endless, growing with each book in a series or each challenged faced by the hero. I suppose you could argue there is often learned, trained, taught while the abilities of the psychic (and other supernatural creatures) are inherited. Though, often wizards are born in the role (even in Harry Potter) and psychics need to train their abilities.
But that is enough of the negatives.
What I liked about this story was the opening sequence. I liked the powerful fighter. Kali starts as a tough girl, well acquainted with her unusual state. When we first meet, we see Kali hunting. It was an interesting and gripping way to start a story, particularly one written in the first person (a style, wholly over done in modern, supernatural fantasy stories). The first person writing worked in this tale. The plot moved quickly, and while there were moments I want to shake some sense into Kali. At least tell her to listen to the voices around her. I thought she was largely believable. The ending was strong, not surprising, but then that could reflect the solid writing more than anything else. The other strength of this novel was that it is a standalone. There is no sequel, no trilogy to follow. It was a strong, single story with some interesting characters, a lot of teenage drama – but a good solid, quick read. And sometimes it is nice to read something straightforward.