Meridian by Amber Kizer (Canada) - (USA)
First in a series
Pages: 305 pages
Finished: May 12, 2010
First Published: Aug. 11, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal, romance
The first creatures to seek me were the insects; my parents cleaned the bassinet free of dead ants the morning after they brought me home from the hospital.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: I was attracted to the angel aspect of the story as I enjoy paranormals involving angels.
When Meridian turns sixteen her family has planned for her to be whisked away to live with "Auntie" for an undermined amount of time. It is here that she learns that she is only half-human, the other half is angel. In fact she is a Fenestra, a window to the 'other side' that the dead seek out, if she is near, to make their passing easier. Auntie is also a Fenestra and Meridian has been brought here to learn how to open and close the window properly without getting sucked in herself. But time is short and their evil opponents, the Aternocti will do anything to destroy Auntie and Fenestra before the information can be passed on.
The premise of this story is very exciting and I feel the book could have been so much more than it was. The only character I really connected with Meridian herself, even though there were plenty of times when her behaviour didn't quite ring true. I'm of two minds when it comes to this book. I feel as though my words will make the book sound worse than it was because I really did enjoy the story, became quite caught up in the plot and read the book quickly.
Besides the lack of fully developed characters my main irritant with the book were the religious issues. The author went to great pains to repeatedly let Meridian know that in (the book's) world their is no Christianity. Meridian would ask questions about Heaven and would be given answers like religions have many names for it. She'd ask about God and be told "the Creators are known by many names". This type of thing is mentioned so much you are hit over the head with it. And yet, the bad guys are masquerading as Christians. We are told once at the beginning of the book, before we meet the bad guys, that they are a cult, after that they are simply referred to as Christians. However, throughout the entire book all the detailed descriptions of this group, their practices and church celebrations are all based on The Old Testament. The self-styled preacher quotes Biblical phrases often and their are notes for the reader to look them up (all Old Testament). There is no mention of Jesus or Christ, except once when someone mentions they voted to keep the Christ in Christmas. This just really irked me. The two issues together come across as being anti-Christian. This isn't the first I've run into this. If an author wants to make the bad guys a group of Christians, so be it, but at least have them follow the The New Testament where Christ is found i.e. the term "Christian". As far as I would say, 'Christians' who only follow the Old Testament would actually be Jewish.
Back to the story, remember I did say that overall I did enjoy it. It has a very strong beginning and the Fenestra creation, with the other mythos created around it is unique and interesting. The book ends satisfactorily but the two main characters are ready to set off for their future, making a sequel more than obvious. I would read a sequel should one be written.