Immortal Game #1
Paranormal Young Adult
Feiwel & Friends
Available August 6th
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Mortal Danger is a story that starts out on a literal edge, Edie ready to leave life behind in the hope that death will be less cruel, only to be stopped by an enigmatic young man who offers her a different type of escape. The first few chapters make us as readers incredibly uneasy, Edie’s thwarted suicide and the fact that her first request from Kian is to be made beautiful causing us to fear what this tale has in store for us in terms of the message carried by her actions. While the synopsis suggests the revenge aspect is a focal point though, where Ms. Aguirre takes us (thankfully) instead is far beneath the hell that is high school and into one much more befitting of the name.
As mentioned previously, Edie has us a touch worried in the beginning chapters, wondering if her story is going to be one where we spend the entire time fearful the next chapter is going to be the one where her need for vengeance will result in an action we simply cannot forgive. What we find in place of a single-minded drive for revenge on those who broke her (the means by which we don’t discover until much later in the story), however, is a fierce intelligence and a beautifully level-head, her dealings with the popular crew surprisingly free of the venom and vitriol initially expected. Edie instead approaches them in a much more reasonable way, her anger and hurt still present and palpable, but she never seeks to actively shame or humiliate them the way they did her.
Perhaps most surprising about Mortal Danger is just how small a role Edie’s revenge plays in the overall plot. Once she makes her deal with Kian, the teenage bullies who forced her to the bridge in the first place suddenly pale in comparison to the immortal ones who now hold all the cards in a game she never wanted to play. Edie is the type of heroine we crack the spine of every book hoping find, her initial insecurities replaced with a confidence, sharp wit, and extraordinary problem solving ability (all traits it’s made clear to us come from within and are not simply side effects of her newfound beauty). She tackles her numerous problems head on, self-reliant to an admirable degree but not so much so that she doesn’t know when to ask for help, and so very careful as to where she steps on the gameboard that has suddenly become her life.
Overall, Mortal Danger is a stunning start to a new series, giving us a heroine who makes mistakes and is riddled with flaws in the most beautiful way, and who despite a rough start, comes to fully appreciate all life has to offer even in its darkest moments. The ending lacks a touch of the excitement and action promised all along as Edie faces off with one of the game’s top players, but that’s a minor quibble in an otherwise gritty and darkly entertaining story. Ms. Aguirre never fails to impress with her characters and her creativity, and Mortal Danger is yet another reminder of how fascinating (and also terrifying) her mind is.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.