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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

[Review] Always Me by Kelly Riad

Title: Always Me
Author: Kelly Riad
Pages: 271 (Kindle edition)
Release Date: September 28, 2011

Nicky’s life is privileged and sheltered, but has never felt like her own. Her body’s marked by a scar that no one, not even her parents, has been able to explain. She’s haunted by nightmares and hallucinations of violent scenes that feel more like the memories of a very troubled soul than the typical dreams of a seventeen-year old girl. From blood-painted basements to cold guillotines and dark forests, these visions are taking their toll on her sanity.

When she first meets Xander in class, she sees him bleeding from a gaping wound in his neck. His shirt soaked red, he laughs while she trembles and messes up her class recitation. After the vision passes, she’s left with a burning hatred for him and an irrational fear that he’s a threat to her life. But soon, that relents to wary curiosity and suspicion. Xander knows more about her than he should. And when she sees the scar on his neck—just like hers and in the same spot she had seen gushing blood in her vision—she knows it’s not just coincidence.

Nicky has been plagued with horrific hallucinations and nightmares for as long as she can remember, but they feel more like memories. She also bares a strange scar near her ribcage, but no one knows how she got it. Now at the age of 17, her hallucinations are becoming more vivid and frequent, and now they involve a boy at her school. He knows something, but he won't say what. Nicky thinks she's going crazy, but deep down she knows she's not.

Nicky is a little hard to warm up to. She has an elitist attitude, but she's also full of anger, most of all toward Xander. But as the story moves along I began to understand her rough exterior. If you've been murdered over and over again, you'd probably carry over some anger, too!

I absolutely loved how reincarnation was written in this book. It's not exactly happy and romantic. Instead it's dark and morbid. It's the result of heinous crimes and leaves a permanent mark until that person has redeemed themselves. Nicky is stuck in one such cycle of constantly reliving her life in different time periods. It was interesting getting glimpses into each of those periods as Nicky delves deeper into her memoirs. I thought it was very well done.

I wasn't expecting all of the religious references going into this. It takes place at a Baptist boarding school, so there's mentions of chapel and worship groups, which is fine. But there's also random comments such as Baptists don't like Catholics, and sex is bad, and an anti-Halloween lock in. I don't have a problem with religion, but I didn't like how it was presented in this book. It also didn't seem to add anything of importance to the over all story. However, it was interesting to see Nicky struggle with her faith as she remembers more and more from her past lives.

I really enjoyed this book! Nicky and Xander's race against time was thrilling, and I couldn't even being to guess how they were going to break their curse. Although it was quite obvious who else was involved, the ending was still a great twist and shock!

Favorite Quotes

"Through hypnosis, you are experiencing a true self reflection; you are baring your most honest soul to God. It is the ultimate confession." (8%)

"I know Destiny. There's nothing romantic in it." (10%)

"Any little thing a person does differently could forever alter their fate." (74%)

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