Korrigan: Definitely a Better Love Story than Twilight
All right, that title may not set the bar high for this review, but believe me, we’re going big with this one. I make that comment in part because I thought it was a catchy title, but also because for every second I was reading Korrigan, by Rebecca F. Kenney, I was thinking, “Why does a book like Twilight get a multi-million dollar movie deal, and not this book?”
Anyway, let’s dive into the review!
I’ve had Korrigan on my “To Be Reviewed” list for months, since well before Rebecca gracious crafted a blog for The Book Builder’s Blog! As many of you know, my review list is crammed with books, so it took me awhile to reach Korrigan.
I don’t read a lot of young adult novels. And since diving into the world of independent literature, I’ve not been particularly impressed with the young adult works thrown my way. They’ve not been bad, per se, but nothing has yet blown me away.
I think Korrigan may have hit the mark, but we’ll see what the scores say below.
The novel follows two POV characters: Aislinn, a seventeen-year-old girl trapped by her guardians because she (SPOILER - well, not really, it’s in the Amazon description) turns into a beast every night. At the same time, we see the narrative through the eyes of a young man named Zane, a regular human who’s path intertwines with Aislinn.
Like any good young adult novel, a love triangle forms. A mysterious character known as the Far Darrig appears, goading Aislinn into various dastardly situations with temptation and power. And throughout the tale, Aislinn learns more and more about her true nature, her family’s history, and a world (or really, more than one world) kept secret from her for all seventeen of her years.
The story’s pace draws you from chapter to chapter, and the crisp, first-person present POV keeps each scene grounded through the eyes of the POV character. The closeness of the story to both Aislinn and Zane was both a strength and weakness of Korrigan, for Aislinn’s chapters definitely outshined Zane’s.
That’s not to say Zane’s chapters were bad. They were necessary to provide an additional POV in moments when Aislinn wasn’t around. But they definitely felt like secondary chapters, and Zane’s voice was much weaker than Aislinn’s. It made me want to push through them to reach the true power of Aislinn’s story!
What makes Korrigan truly shine, however, is its ability to tackle an incredibly complicated and heart-wrenching concept: abuse. I don’t want to spoil how everything goes down by the end of the book, but Kenney expertly weaves elements of stockholm syndrome into Aislinn’s mind, ensuring readers don’t truly understand how broken she is until the right moments.
Kenney deals with a few interactions that might make some readers uncomfortable; but that’s the point. Aislinn is broken. She’s working through her brokenness. She’s not ever experienced real love from anyone, and so her emotions and mind are a jumbled mess.
So in her search for a future and freedom, Aislinn’s story will stick with me for quite some time.
So - a better love story than Twilight? Absolutely! Now when’s Kenney getting her movie deal?
Writing: 9/10. Writing in first person present for two different POVs is incredibly difficult, just as writing in present tense effectively is difficult! And Kenney pulls it off. I didn’t notice a single typo, grammatical mistake, or moment where the writing pulled me out of the scene. Well done!
Character: 7/10. Aislinn is a character I’ll always remember; as is the Far Darrig. In some ways, even Maeve. But Zane and the rest of the supporting cast didn’t hit home for me. They’re written well, but they lacked their own distinct voice to latch onto.
Plot: 9/10. The characters drove the plot. The whole way. I never felt like there was a destination we were headed, and into the final moments of Korrigan, I didn’t know how it would end. That’s how you write a compelling plot.
Setting: 9/10. Kenney seamlessly weaves Irish mythology into the present day, pulling from the old and expertly inserting the new. It felt natural to the story, and nothing felt out-of-place, essential to a “real-world” fantasy.
Overall: 8.5/10. All right. I’m in that sticky situation where I must decide between a four star review and a five star review. I’m going to give Aislinn 5 stars, and Zane 4 stars, and since Aislinn is the true main character, Korrigan receives 5 STARS!
If you’re looking for a young adult fantasy with romance, fantastical magic, and an ever-expanding mythos, then Korrigan is a must-read!