Kim is a beautiful and young blind woman. She has perfect grades, studies marine biology with a full scholarship and has found the love of her life. Things could not be better for her in life. Her mother, Astra, who abandoned her when she was six; is just as beautiful as her daughter. However, under her perfect appearance, a secret is hidden. Indeed, she is a repeater. A soul that comes back after death, and starts all over again; until love is finally found.
The first thing I thought when starting the book was: oh no, not another perfect main character! I feel that this book is primarily aimed at teenagers and young adults; not that an older audience could not appreciate it, and books aimed at this particular market are usually filled with perfect heroes and heroines. You know, the type which have a perfect physique and are intelligent, get good grades at school or have an amazing career, and who, to top it all, are amazing at sports. Now, in what world do these people exist? The world of teen fiction, apparently. And sure, it’s great to read a book with a likeable main character, but perfection usually disables the human side of the characters. Without flaws, they seem to lack that humanity.
Anyway, back to the book! It starts off with the description of this beyond perfect, perfect girl. She’s blind, yet she lives life like a normal person — more power to her — and, on top of her beauty, she is super smart. If you like that kind of thing, then you won’t have a problem getting into the story; if you are, like me, researching for maybe a little more realism, just bear with it. I promise you, it gets better.
Repeaters is written in an elegant, but somewhat crude style. And this is what makes the interest of the novel. The story is interesting and gripping, but the sometimes almost raw descriptions are what make it stand out from the many teen fantasy novels. One example that springs to my mind would have to be Twilight, the style of which is very safe. Erica Ferencik takes risks by being so explicit, and it pays off as it adds dimension to the novel. This style of writing makes up for the earlier reproaches I had concerning the perfection of her characters. You actually end up accepting the perfection of most characters and grow to really like them; or in the case of Astra, fear them. Because Astra is definitely one of the scariest, most monstrous villains ever to have been written. She gave me some pretty frightening nightmares.
One of the themes addressed in the book is reincarnation. Indeed, Astra is a repeater, a soul that comes back and starts a whole new life. Repeaters come back as long as they haven’t found love, or when they have been murdered. Repeaters usually come back once or twice, which is enough to learn about love and find it. But Astra is no typical repeater. Indeed, she has come back hundreds of times and has experienced all sorts of lives, from that of animals to slave master. And if you thought reincarnation seemed like a cool idea, you might want to rethink that as, from Astra’s point of view, it looks quite awful. Do you imagine coming back for centuries, trying desperately to find love, without ever getting a break? To me, that sounds like endless torture.
All of this, of course, makes Astra a very rich character. Although she is described as having a size six body and being incredibly beautiful, she is flawed, deeply flawed. And she is fragile, though she hides behind what seems like a strong and cold personality. This makes her the most complex and most interesting individual of the book. The reader can definitely connect with her, and actually come to feel sorry for her.
The story is also very rich in plot twist. Every time you think you know what is coming up, something unexpected happens. Right from the start, you know that when Kim and her fiancé, Constantin, go to spend the weekend with Astra, something bad is going to happen; yet what happens is probably ten times worse than you had anticipated in your mind. A story like keeps you on your toes, makes you want to read more and more, to know what is going to happen next, how all of this is going to finish. And the author keeps you on your toes until the very end. Erica Ferencik concludes her story with a brilliant ending.
The overall feeling I had when closing the book was positive. If you love fantasy novels, this will be right up your alley. Although I find it is aimed at a young adult audience (maybe end of teenage years as well), it can easily be appreciated by anyone. Erica Ferencik’s pleasant writing makes for an enjoyable read.