I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Review: Harbinger

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
by Sara Wilson Etienne

Plot Summary:

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn't expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she's going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she's come home. She's even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she's the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can't trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her - and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.


I was immediately drawn to this book by the awesome book cover! So mysterious and foreboding!  The plot is also intriguing, with a paranormal mystery brewing.  The story sets a quick pace right from the start with a rather complex setting to establish.  The Earth is very damaged, and with the lack of resources, humans have divided into collectives to ration their resources, while people in the bigger cities mostly have to fend for themselves.  While the desperate condition the world is in is ultimately necessary to the story, I felt like it was glossed over so quickly, that keeping up with the changes the new society produced made the narrative sometimes very confusing.  It was hard as well to understand what was going on because the main character, Faye, often hears and sees things that aren't real.  So it's difficult to decipher what is actually contributing to the plot, and what is her hallucination.  This novel seemed to have a lot to say but everything was so rushed together that nothing ever really came together.  Definitely I felt compelled to keep reading because often I really had no idea what was going on.

I did like the idea of "family" that keeps Faye and her school fellows together and the little rebellions they tried to stage.  The story is complex and the characters each have their own distinct personalities.  Although sometimes the personalities felt a little stereotypical.  The romance between Kel and Faye felt a little flat, mostly because they were drawn together by things that happened in the past, and the circumstances of that weren't revealed until the end.  A lot of people are keeping secrets in this story, and I think it makes the story an interesting read, but overall I was disappointed by the disjointed storytelling, the perfunctory romance, and the ending which wrapped up a little too easily.

Share this post: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr
Scroll Up


  1. I like this cover and was thinking I wanted to pick it up but maybe it is a pass for me!

    1. It is a really fantastic cover! It really had a lot of potential.

  2. I keep looking at this one and almost buying it. (I actually was just on Amazon and almost put it in my cart again tonight!) But I've heard mixed things, and I'm just not sure. I wish my library would purchase it, so I could just borrow it instead of having to buy it and running the risk of not liking it. It's a conundrum. I may just try to Inter-Library Loan it.

    Great review!

    ~Merin @ Read and Reviewed~

    1. Well I don't want to dissuade any one from buying a book! :) Maybe if it is on a good sale on Amazon you can take advantage of that. The Inter-library loan is awesome too, I use that all the time. :)

  3. Hmmm. You know, I've not read a review of this before today. I had no idea what it was about either! It sounds interesting, but I'm sad to hear you didn't like it very much.

    Your description of Kel and Faye's relationship reminds me of the relationship in
    The Sweetest Dark. The protagonist (whose name escapes me) and her love interest are "drawn together" because of history, yada yada, and it makes the romance kind of meh.

    Anyways... Great review! :)

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

    1. Thanks for the heads up about The Sweetest Dark - I'll keep that in mind if I ever decide to read it! It's too bad though, maybe if the author wrote up a prequel it would make the romance better.

      Thanks for stopping by Rachel! :)