17 December 2010

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship. 

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

  • A fascinating Southern mystery.  I wouldn't exactly throw it in beside the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl but this is still a book to be reckoned with.  It went against my expectations.  A snotty New Yorker--a ballerina, no less--getting thrown into the South after her Accident?  I mean, you can imagine my reservations.  But Sylvie was actually a very fun character.  Maybe sometimes a little obtuse and more annoying than anything but she had a great wit and let her instincts guide her sometimes--unlike most of the prima donnas you get that KNOW that maybe you shouldn't go into the creepy looking building but do anyway without probably cause.
  • A great cast of characters.  Ms. Clement-Moore does a good job bringing her characters to life.  I never had a case where I was just going, "Oy, kill me now.  SO unnatural and out of character."  I specifically have Rhys's father in mind.  I was inwardly holding my breath, waiting and seeing how she'd present his character and have him interact.  Out of all of them, he seemed the one who would act out of character the most.  
  • Maybe a teensy little bit cliche.  There were a few lines/scenes that I wanted to wince at (but it wasn't so bad that I did).  I felt that there should have been more of a struggle over the really hard topics--like Sylvie's dancing career for example.  There was more than I expected, but after getting so far into the book, I wanted a little bit more than that.  It was too typical in how all the good guys ended up completely fine (maybe some bumps and bruises).  There wasn't any real loss involved and it made the ending kinda blow over rather ungracefully.
  • A compelling writing style.  I was very impressed with Ms. Clement-Moore's writing.  It was excellently done to show and not tell.  I had a good grasp on the atmosphere.  During some of the scenes, I was getting some goose bumps.  It killed me not to be able to read it during class unless it was after a test or something.  I loved the adventure and the mystery as it unfolded.  It was presented wonderfully. :)
  • So perhaps not the caliber of the Caster Chronicles, but (what is?) I still highly recommend it to anyone who's thriving for a good, thick book.  You might be frustrated--at first--with Sylvie's character but if you follow it through, she might surprise you.  She's got some wonderful quips. ;)
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 518
  • published - September 2009
  • publisher - Delacourte Books for Young Readers
  • genre - urban fantasy
  • received via - library ;) 
  • sequel - I hope so.