Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Improbables by Jonathan Charles Bruce

Book: Improbables
Author: Jonathan Charles Bruce
Series: Standalone
Genre: NA paranormal
Publisher: Scarlet River Press
Pages: 336
Release: January 29th 2016

Abigail Wren's new life fresh out of college is dull, even with her (almost) dream job at the local newspaper. The only real excitement she can get is found between the pages of an endless stream of paranormal romance novels she can't help but love. Then, on a snowy night in December, Abigail catches a glimpse of what could only be described as a werewolf. Enamored with the possibility, her investigation leads her to discover a paranormal population-improbables-harmoniously living in the midst of humanity. Between making eyes at a perpetually grumpy werewolf and hanging out with a vampire with a lust for life (and liquor), Abigail's life takes a shaky step out of the ordinary and into the fantastic. Just outside of the sleepy town of Whitewater, however, a force of rage is building. Born of hate and delusion, a living cataclysm threatens to devour everyone in its path-human or improbable.

**I received a free ecopy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way.**

After freshly finishing up a degree in journalism, Abigail Wren takes a job in the small town of Whitewater. Though she's a heavy fantasy and paranormal reader, she doesn't expect anything to happen in the small town...until she discovers the paranormal books she loves to read are, in some aspects, real. But as she investigates more about the world, something dark begins forming, and Abigail finds herself caught up in something beyond her world...

I immediately latched onto Abigail's character at the beginning. As a student studying English at the post-secondary level, I completely got what Abigail meant about English major friends saying they read fantasy or paranormal books as a "distraction," and how they would always be able to apply a critical lens to it afterwards to undermine paranormal or fantasy books. It's demoralizing, so it was so nice to read about a character who understood the feeling. I also particularly liked her take on the world, how she would have an overreactive imagination. Her character was so very well-written, and her reaction to her discovery of the Improbables is the closest to what mine would be. I really liked her personality, her spunk, her methods to handling sticky situations both paranormal and human, everything. Plus, she was 100% human, nothing special, which made her even more relatable.

The world of the Improbables was quite creative in a very realistic way. Improbables as simply people who just happen to have a supernatural ability--it's like a gene, nothing spectacular, just normal. It felt like obsessing over Improbables was as ridiculous as obsessing over people with different coloured eyes: not common, but not unheard of, and nothing to ogle at. It really gave me a different perspective of things. However, I did think the discovery of world seemed to fall right into Abigail's hands a little too easily, and her acceptance of it too. There wasn't some big reveal or shock, but I think that was part of the point, that there sometimes just isn't anything particular interesting about being paranormal.

The plot was interesting to follow, but didn't quite pick up until mid-way through the book. Though it didn't bother me too much, it was noticeable, and I felt like I was constantly waiting for something exciting to happen in the beginning. I also would have liked a bit more information about the world of the Improbables, as well as the other Improbable characters, just because some of them were quite intriguing to read about. What can they do? What do they do to blend into society, if at all?

This book wasn't very heavy on romance, much to my relief. The majority of NA books I've read have all contain a more mature romance aspect to it, so this was such a relief to read and a break in everything I've read. But on the topic of romance, I found this book exceptionally well done in terms of LGBQT. It's done in a very light manner, nothing to make a fuss about--as all real life LGBQT should be. It's not a big deal whether you're straight or gay or transgender, but the world insists on making it a big deal, like how you discover it, or how you reveal it. It's personal, and it shouldn't have to be the shocker we expect it to be! Similarly, the author delved into issues of race, and of the difference between positive and negative work relationships using some very realistic cases. It's sad to think these things are happening to real people, but the way Abigail handed everything was definitely something to admire!

All in all, a very interesting idea mixed with some great social issues! Worth a read if you're looking for something different in terms of paranormal stories!

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