Four teenagers – all born on the same Valentine’s Day – begin to disappear. As the bodies mount up, Pearl Linford has to work out what in the supernatural hell is going on, before it happens to her.
Finn Blacklin is the boy with whom Pearl shares a birthday, the boy she has known all her life and disliked every second of it, the boy her subconscious has a totally annoying crush on. Finn is also the Valentine: a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human boy at birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is. And now both the Seelie and the Unseelie think Pearl is the Valentine, and if they find out she isn’t, she’ll disappear too.
Pearl must use all her wits to protect herself. Finn must come to terms with his newfound heritage. And then there’s the explosive chemistry between them that neither of them know quite what to do about . . .
I didn’t know what to expect when I opened up Jodi McAlister’s Valentine, but if I knew Penguin Publishers at all and their decision to only publish spectacular works of YA (or maybe they’re just lucky to have such talented authors choose to publish their novels with them), I expected this book to be just as brilliant as all the other #LoveOzYA books that Penguin have released recently. It’s hard to imagine what Aussie YA would be like without Frankie and The First Third and The Things I Didn’t Say and A Shadow’s Breath, and now, Valentine. It’s like these phenomenal novels have already become entrenched in what makes #LoveOzYA so spectacular, and I know these books, Valentine in particular, will be talked about for quite some time. I honestly think that Valentine is a novel best gone into without knowing anything about it, so if you’re looking for a thrilling, fast-paced read, pick up Valentine now!
I actually tried to pick up Valentine three times before I actually sat down and read it, but that was mainly because I’m a person who likes to be gently introduced to the new place we’re in and the characters we’re reading about. I loved how we were thrust straight into the action and how it began with a bang, but I think that the bang was so loud that it left my ears ringing for a while after. I was a little confused as to where things fit in and who all these people were and what was going on, and it definitely took thirty pages before I felt as though I could settle into the story. But in some ways, it was great not knowing how it all fell into place in the very beginning because not having everything spelled out to us provided us with the mystery and intrigue to feel compelled to keep reading. The pacing picked up immensely throughout the novel and by the end, I couldn’t put it down! It was absolutely thrilling, and one heck of a rollercoaster ride.
The thing I loved most about Valentine was the supernatural elements, in particular, the inclusion of the Seelie and Unseelie. I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve read a book with faeries and I didn’t know how much I’d missed the urban fantasy genre until I launched into reading Valentine. I enjoyed reading about Pearl’s journey to discovering what was really going on in her town, and her surprise was mirrored in my own. It felt as though I was living out this adventure every step of the way, and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. All I know how is that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series — but I’m afraid it’ll be quite a while before that happens! I desperately want to know how this story continues, and what dangers lie ahead for all the characters I got to know throughout the course of reading this novel.
However, the characters didn’t appear to be anything spectacular to me, and a lot of them got on my nerves. The ‘bad guys’ were so easy to spot that it made you question whether your intuition was making you believe this book would follow the same tropes as other novels, and I was slightly disappointed to find that the people I suspected turned out to be evil, instead of someone I had no idea about. I also through that Pearl, our protagonist, was uninteresting and frankly, quite whiny. While Finn was the stereotypical ‘bad boy’ that I normally drool over, some of his actions just made me roll my eyes. And although I’m honestly very sick of cishet romances, I did find the love between Finn and Pearl adorable and I definitely wanted them to be together the entire time. There was a little bit of a love triangle, but it was basically non-existent because the other guy was a boring, uninteresting person with little character. So Finn was the obvious choice.
Ultimately, Valentine was such a gripping, intense book that was impossible to put down and I was constantly on the edge of my seat trying to work out how everything was going to piece together. The romance between our two main characters was adorable and swoon-worthy, and I loved how they worked together and made this adventure as intense and exciting as it was. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy and are looking for a new and unique Aussie YA series to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend reading Valentine!
Have you had the chance to read Valentine yet? What did you think of the characters? Could you pick the twist? Are you going to be reading the second book in the series? I’d love to know!
Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!