Publication Date: September 12, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: SupaGurl Blog Tours
The last thing Laken Stewart remembers is the oncoming car, then bursting through the windshield.
Two months dissolve without her knowledge and she finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings with strangers who not only profess to know her but insist she’s someone else entirely.
Laken discovers her long dead boyfriend, Wesley, has been thrown into this alternate world as well. He is quick to inform her she suffered a horrible fall and that her memory hasn’t fully returned. According to Wesley the other life she had—her name, her family, they were simply a side effect of her brain trauma.
In her quest for answers she meets Cooper Flanders, the son of her psychiatrist who readily believes every word she says.
Laken Stewart knows she died on that hot July afternoon, but now she’s alive—or is she?
I’m not going to even try to pretend that things didn’t happen in Ephemeral that didn’t make me go back pages to try to figure out what just happened or that I didn’t wish I’d have kept a steno pad next to me to keep track of all of the names, but I’m going to go with my gut on rating it. I just couldn’t put it down.
After a car accident and a strange violent fight in a forest, Laken Stewart wakes up one morning perfectly healthy, except she’s Laken Anderson. Every single thing she knows about her life is different – she’s at a fancy boarding school with a sister she never heard of and her beloved older brother who died is alive and well, hanging out with his best friend Wes, who drowned. In this new reality, Wes isn’t the boy she wrote love notes on leaves to and she’s a walking scandal. Any mention of a life as Laken Stewart is waved off as a byproduct of a fall from a fall from a treehouse and she’s warned that if she keeps insisting it’s real, she’ll end up in a psychiatric institution.
After having it hammered into her that she’s currently a little crazy, Laken would believe it, except her roommate shares her own crazy, impossible story. At school, she sees a boy she remembers from the terrifying scene in the woods after her accident, before she became Laken Anderson, and he doesn’t pretend not to know what she’s talking about when she confronts him. He tells her one story, her roommate tells her a different story, Wes tells her another story and Laken doesn’t know which of them, if any, are telling the whole truth. Nothing is what it appears to be and none of the relationships she’s made are as simple as she wants them to be.
I have a feeling that if I’d read Moore’s Celestra series I may have gotten the paranormal elements in Ephemeral a little better, sooner. I picked it up after I read this and from the reviews, it looks like Moore may have tangentially related the mythology. Towards the end, parts of it started to make sense but don’t quiz me on the rest. There were Nephilim, Counts (countenances), Celestras, Spectators, Fems, tree-things that bite, rotten ghost things and a bunch of..other things. I have no real idea what any of it means except Celestras can read minds because it’s in their blood and Spectators are nasty things.
I’m honestly not poking fun at people’s names here, just making a small point: Grayson. Jax. Cooper. Casper. Carter. Blaine. Flynn. Kresley. Want to pick out the guys from the girls? I had the worst time keeping some of the characters straight because they mostly all have unisex names. I know it’s kind of cute (and I like all of the names), but only a few characters had names that were easy to pull out of the book and quickly identify. It didn’t help that Grayson, Jax and Kresley were stereotypical rich mean girls, boarding-school style. The only way I could tell them apart was by which person’s boyfriend they were going after. Don’t ask me what any character looked like because I can’t tell you. On the plus side, I have a great imagination and have a terrific cast in my head for them.
Now that I’ve gotten the worst past, I can tell you why I still recommend Ephemeral – because I do!
Laken: I love how real she is (well, as real as she can be). Half of the time she doesn’t know whether to believe herself or the people around her but she’s not willing to just forget that she has questions about her memories. She’s quiet but underneath, is always thinking and watching people.
The Guys: Wes and Cooper are both pretty great. The thing is, you never know what’s real and what isn’t with these two, especially Wes. Laken loved “her” Wes so much, a lot of the way he acted toward her is colored by it and he seemed very boyish and flirty. There’s something not right about him though. Whether it’s not right because he’s keeping something dark from her or because he’s trying to protect her, I guess I’ll have to keep reading to find out. Cooper is also an enigma. I’m just not very trusting anymore (burned by twists), because although he’s appeared to believe her and be on her side, he doesn’t want her with Wes and may have his own motives for getting her to help him. There’s a love triangle, yes.
The Action: The story starts off fast and stays moving. Things didn’t slow down much after a bang of a start. If anything, there were times when I thought a chapter of doing nothing would work. This is a moderately long story and I just couldn’t put it down, so with the action it meant carrying my Kindle into the kitchen with me from time to time. There’s some scattered violence and near the end, something gory, but I’d still rate the book around PG-13. It doesn’t end on a straight cliffhanger but definitely in a place that’ll leave you wanting to know what happens next.
My Summary: Addison Moore was new to me before Ephemeral, and I’m glad I had the chance to read this and find her. I loved the way she built Laken’s story and added in the two guys pulling her in opposite directions mentally and emotionally. I may not have really gotten the paranormal part down pat yet, but I’m hoping the second book (and reading the Celestra series) will make it go down a little easier. I can’t wait to pick up where this left off!