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Review: Meridian

Meridian is the first book in a new series by Amber Kizer. It was released in hardcover, audio and eBook formats on August 11, 2009 and was released in paperback on August 24, 2010. The hardcover edition, published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, is 320 pages.

The next book in the series, Wildcat Fireflies, is scheduled to be released on July 12, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. Both are available for pre-order at Amazon.com.

Description from the author’s website:

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has always been surrounded by death. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders burrowed into her bedclothes to die. As she grew, the animals got bigger, and soon they were finding her at school to die in her presence. Meridian became an outcast, labeled by her classmates as Reaper, Gravedigger, and Witch. Each death she witnesses weakens her body, and loneliness weakens her spirit.

On her sixteenth birthday, she witnesses a deadly car crash. Though she’s untouched, Meridian’s body explodes with the victims’ pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and rushed to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns the secret her mother has been hiding her entire life: that she is a Fenestra, the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. It’s crucial that she learn how to transition human souls to the afterlife and preserve the balance between good and evil on earth. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos. Dark, lovely, and lushly romantic, MERIDIAN introduces a powerful heroine who will entrance readers.

Meridian Sozu believed she was human. For the first sixteen years of her life no one told her any different. Sure, she wasn’t exactly normal by anyone’s standards, even her own, but she certainly didn’t think she wasn’t human.

All of her life, living creatures would just come up to her and die. If this freaked her out, how could she expect anyone else not to think of her as a freak and an outcast? I mean, who wants to be friends with someone that may just be walking death?

There was also the problem with photos. There was not one single picture of her. Every time anyone tried to take a photo of her, there was this blinding light that would distort the image.

But on her sixteenth birthday everything changed. In the course of one day, she went from having a home and a family, to being rushed out of town while her family packed up and moved away to an undisclosed location.

She was told it was for her safety and theirs that she go and stay with her Aunt Merry in Revelation, Colorado, that she is something other and that now that she’s sixteen she is in danger.

Finding this out while being rushed to the bus station with some cash and a few changes of clothing is not in the least bit comforting. And being provided with only the sketchiest of details only makes matters worse. What exactly does it mean to be a Fenestra?  Who is she in danger from? And why now?

Running to an Aunt that she barely knows aside from a yearly quilt she receives is probably one of the most frightening things that has happened to Meridian, but what awaits her in Colorado is much worse.

***

Meridian is the first book in a new series by Amber Kizer. It brings to the young adult market a new spin on the angels theme. Meridian Sozu is a half-angel, half-human whose purpose is to help souls pass from this world into the afterlife. There are also beings, the Alternocti or Nocti, who seek to lead souls away from the light and into the dark. These Destroyers also hope to turn the Fenestra toward their side to tip the balance in their favor.

With the help of her Protector, Tens, and the guidance of her aunt, Meridian will need to quickly learn how to master this process before it kills her or before the Nocti can destroy her.

Meridian is an utterly captivating story. The author does a beautiful job of developing Meridian Sozu’s character from frail and confused to strong and focused, ready to accept the awesome responsibility she has been given and the good that she can provide to others at a most frightening time.

I’m eclipsed by my role in the world.

Author Amber Kizer gives readers insight into the Fenestra history by creatively weaving in journal entries at the beginning of several chapters in the story from other Fenestra as well as Meridian’s aunt.

The story will keep you engaged from the moment Meridian is abruptly whisked off to join her aunt in Colorado until the story’s climactic ending.

Although it is not a cliffhanger, the novel sets the stage, with an almost prequel-like feel, for many possible adventures to come in Meridian’s quest to maintain the balance between light and dark.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

I. Loved. This. Book.

Although it fits right in with other books in this genre, the concept of the Fenestra makes this remarkably different. The idea of beings who act as windows to help souls transition from this life is something I haven’t seen in any of the YA books I’ve read.

When I first started to read this book I did notice some similarities in the setting that made it, at first glance, blend in with the Need series. A girl leaves her family to stay with an aunt she doesn’t know very well, in a remote, wooded and wintry locale. There is a also wolf. But that’s where the similarities end.

I loved all the characters, especially Auntie Merry who was one totally awesome one hundred and six-year-old woman and Custos the wolf who immediately befriended Meridian. Meridian was a strong and sympathetic character and Tens was the perfect protector. And the baddie in this story was most definitely detestable.

And yes, I know,it’s geeky, but I loved the element of the one sixes – Meridian was sixteen (16), January 6 was a key date (1/6), and Auntie Merry was one hundred and six (106).

No, I did not sob my way through this book, but there may have been a tear or two. And I was completely rooting for Tens and Meridian as a couple.

There was no question I was going to re-read this book and I will most likely read it again before Wildcat Fireflies.

***

How I “discovered” this book:

Meridian is a “Just Discovered” re-read book.

This is another book that was suggested to me by my purchase history on Amazon. I wasn’t pulled in by the cover, although I did like the skulls mixed in with the roses, but it was the summary/synopsis that caught my eye.

I bought this eBook early in 2010, and as it’s been awhile I decided that it was due for a re-read, especially with the next book in the series coming out this summer.

***

To read an excerpt from Meridian from Teens@Random click here.

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