Series: Immortal Game
Published by Macmillan on August 5, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.
In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.
I’m a huge Ann Aguirre fan. Absolutely adore her adult stuff, highly enjoyed her last YA series. So, of course, I was extremely excited about her newest offering — a promisingly dark young adult novel that touches on bullying, revenge and a Faustian deal with a devil. And, even though I’m going to pick it apart a bit in this review, I really did enjoy it.
The main character, Edie, has been bullied and ignored for years. Her parents are brilliant but tend to get lost in their own brilliance and don’t even realize they shut Edie out. Edie’s also bullied at school by the “Beautiful People” — to the point where she attempts suicide. Until the also-drop-dead-gorgeous-but-not-cruel Kian shows up on the bridge and offers her a Crossroads-style deal.
The first thing Edie wishes for is to be beautiful without losing anything that makes her her. Now, a lot of people have jumped on this, upset that her first request is so very shallow and superficial. And it is but Edie’s already extremely intelligent (though quite naive), and it’s the so-called Beautiful People, the Teflon Crowd, who have made her life so horrible. I kind of felt like she just wanted to level the playing field and, by doing so, boost her own confidence.
It works, enough that Edie’s accepted, enough that she can sew the seeds of discord amongst the bullies, slowly toppling them from their high pedestals. However, Edie’s recovery from her emotional trauma happens too quickly, especially for someone as beaten down and suicidal as she was. And her innate morality and kindness and, yes, naiveté, minimize her revenge schemes, as she finds ways to forgive her tormentors’ transgressions as I was rooting, “Come on, Edie! Go all Carrie on their arses!” Alas, that didn’t happen quite as violently or brutally as I’d hoped (hey, if you’re going to go dark, go dark).
And then there’s Kian, Mr. Stalker, Mr. “I’ve been watching you for a long time”. Don’t bat those gorgeous eyes at that girl and think you can get in her panties and her life, especially after offering her that crap deal. Edie falls for the boy but it feels…off. Not real. On both sides. I’m hoping that Edie gains the confidence to break this particularly co-dependent relationship off at the knees.
I’m really hoping the second book in this series focuses more on the promisingly dark supernatural elements rather than the superficial “friendships” and “love” (why, yes, I did put them in air quotes). Despite my quibbles, I’m sticking with my initial reaction of, “Hey, this was a pretty damn good start to a series.”
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