Captivate, by Carrie Jones (2010, YA, Bloomsbury)
This sequel to Need (2008) continues the story of Zara, daughter of a Pixie King, and her friends. Chief among these is Nick, her werewolf boyfriend (and a hot and steamy relationship it is). The entrapment of the pixie king and his people had solved the immediate problem of pixie predation on the human population, but the power vacuum that resulted is drawing other, more malevolent, beings to this small town in Maine. And Zara, with her legacy of Pixie blood, is a focal point in the brewing power struggle. Things are about to get desperately, tragically, serious...
Paranormal romances aren't really my thing. No matter how cute the werewolf. And the whole Valkyrie subplot (yes, Valkyries, Pixies, and Were-creatures in one book) seemed odd to me.
But I wanted to read Captivate, despite its paranormal romanticness, because I am in love with Carrie Jones' writing. Her voice is more companionable than anyone else's that I can think of. Friendly. Funny. Quirky. A Carrie Jones heroine is no little Miss Perfect, but rather is someone to whom I can relate, someone who might slightly misjudge the location of the door frame when trying to leave a room, for instance (although I don't remember anyone actually doing this in one of her books).
Here is a rather longish extract, which I hope conveys a little bit of what I mean. By way of background, Zara and Issie have just tied up Zara's pixie king dad and stuffed him in the back seat of Zara's car.
"Girls..." comes the voice from the back of the car.
"Do not talk!" I yell. "If you talk I will just haul you back to the house and put you inside, got it?"
"You plan to do that no matter what I do," he says.
Issie's hand twitches on the door handle. "He has a point."
(a few lines cut here for brevity)
"We don't have to do this," Issie whispers. Her hand grabs my coat sleeve.
I take in a deep breath. "He said that Nick was in danger."
"He could be lying."
"He might not be."
"True. But I'm not in a super trusting mode since he is Mr. Evil Pixie Man."
"He let us tie him up," I argue.
"True." Issie lets go of my arm. "But maybe he knew we sucked at knots." (page 41)
This scene takes places before things really start to happen, and the story goes on to become much more dark and serious, and thought provoking (in a good way), and perhaps a bit much for non-paranormal fans like me. But even then, the bright flashes of snark/character self-awareness manifested in zippy one liners continue...
(Typing this small and wholly inadequate extract, I have decided that one reason I like Carrie Jones' writing so much is that she knows when not to use contractions....)
(ARC received from the publisher at the Boston ALA meeting)