Sunday, October 12, 2014

Leanna Renee Hieber - The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker

What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent -- and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death...

Comment: I got this book for some reason certainly, but I really can't remember. Anyway, I picked it out for this month's list of books to be read. I didn't read much besides the blurb so it would be a relatively big enough surprise when I'd finally start it.

This is the story of Percy Parker, she just left a convent where she was raised to attend school, despite her 18 years, because the nuns don't know what to do with her. She is smart and interested in learning and she is also albino, so other stare at her a lot. She knows she will only be recognized by her intelligence.
The story takes place during Victorian times and the school where Percy enrolls is innovative by having male and female students. Percy only doesn't do well at mathematics and the teacher is intriguing. But in a paranormal environment, what does it mean they feel linked to each other?

This book is set on Victorian times and presents us a cast of characters who live according to the society rules of then but the story also has a paranormal side which obviously demands more liberty in terms of behavior mainly.
I like the originality of the story. The story is based on a secret brotherhood who protects the city from demons only the chosen can see. They can also see ghosts and the action follows them from the moment they are chosen as children to the action time when they are already grow up.
Their leader is Alexi, a teacher in the school where Rebecca, one of the chosen, is the headmistress. The chosen are six and they know a seventh will appear one day to help them save the world. Of course we see Percy will certainly be that seventh but the story follows her tribulations at school and the mysteries surrounding her until the end where we see things as they are at last.

I liked the story, especially because it's hard to do well the dual paranormal and historical sides. I think the author did a good job and distributing the focus on both sides but in a way, the historical side gets my preference because I could envision better that aspect of the plot and the challenges that would provoke on the characters.

I liked how the situations were well thought and precise to suit the story's development and the way the characters behaved seemed natural and objective, even among the paranormal situations which were harder to accept, mainly due to the historical aspect of things.
The characters would be fair to their personalities and even the parts where we might not believe their actions, due to out contemporary lives, I still think they were done well and not too out of character.

The paranormal side was interesting enough, I could relate to their opinions about the prophecy an the incoming seventh's element presence and what would that mean, in particular Alexi's. I also thought it was clever how the action developed and how they thought some things could be true. 
Like I said, the author did a good job.

The romance was slow and believable. I liked how we got to see their personalities and thoughts during the process and how special they became to each other. I think it was sweet and romantic and it also had a little bit of angst. I'd change some details about it, as well as about the overall story, but all things considered, I had a great time reading.

In the end, it was good enough for me to want to read the rest of the trilogy and I will do so one day, when I finally get the other books.
Grade: 7/10

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