on 4 February 2014
Cora Sandoval's mother has been missing for 12 years, she vanished without a trace when Cora was 5 and they where living in Ireland. Since then Cora and her father moved to the US and her father's become overbearingly overprotective, and Cora's beginning to want to rebel. After a serious illness, Cora miraculously survives, but weird things start to happen. Cora can now see strange coloured lights surrounding people, and a strange silver light surrounding her.
Cora fast realizes that she is seeing people's aura's but she can't work out why hers is silver and never changes colours. Upon finding some secret documents of her father's, it becomes apparent Cora's mother didn't abandon her like she's thought all these years, she was working on something very dangerous, and knew there was a chance she might vanish. Cora fast begins to realize she might be in danger, and her father has known all along.
Amongst these discoveries Cora finds herself drawn to the Irish exchange student at the school, Finn. He makes her feel safe, and their attraction to each other is instant, inescapable and powerful. However, Cora's father disapproves, mostly because he's Irish, from the land that Cora has ties to and where her mother was caught up in something dangerous. Once Finn's mother learns he's fallen in love, she immediately orders him to come back to Ireland, never to see Cora again. After a monumental fight with her father about what really happened to her mother and the aura's she see's, not to mention her lack of freedom, Cora hops on a plane to Ireland, with the hope of seeing Finn, but mostly to look for her missing mother, and other's like her.
Once in Ireland, Cora meets Giovanni, another person like her, a silver aura'd person. He tells her that they are what's known as Scintilla, and the man Cora has seen with the white aura, killing people by sucking their arua's out, is what's known as an Arrazi. Scintilla are potent to them, the best food to feed their survival, and they will kill the both of them. Cora and G decide to work together to figure out who exactly they are and what is going on, and when they find Cora's mother's journal in a library, the danger to them becomes clear, as well as things they never knew about themselves.
They learn that the bad guys have a plan for them, a plan that will change the world and end their lives. When she finds Finn, something's not quite right with him, or his parents. After a devastating accident, Cora is kidnapped by someone close to her and Finn, someone she trusted, and she finally finds her mother....but at what cost? What do they want with her? And what does her father mean about dark energy?
Scintillate is the first book I've read and reviewed in a while that has actually wowed me and made me excited in a long time. I went in with trepidation about being let down as I have so many times recently, only to have my expectations surpassed.
The world created is truly astounding in scale, and I really got a feel for Ireland and a clear picture in my mind from Clark's prose. I was encased in to the world, and didn't want to leave. The characters themselves where so well written, with depth and many sides to them, the inner strength in Cora was inspirational, and all of the characters jumped off the page. Clark is the first author to be able to use UK/Irish slang words and swear words, and not throw them in everytime the character speaks. I really grew to love the characters purely from how well they where written, and how relateable and humanised they where.
The world building is concise but powerful, and the background is presented in an interesting and engaging way, and we learn everything as Cora does. The pace of the book is fast, and flows smoothly from location to location, and plot point to plot point. The mythology that is the main point of Scintillate is unique, and unlike anything else in the YA genre, and truly drew me and intrigued me, I wanted to know everything about it, and we learned the mythology at the same time Cora does, as she goes along, we learnt more and you have all the same questions as Cora does. This prevented the book from having pages laying out the mythology hurriedly or in excruciating detail. We learned everything quickly, concisely and it didn't upset the flow or bore you to death.
Scintillate is however, truly heart breaking in places. You never see any of the plot twists coming, you never know what's going to happen next, and everything is a shock. The ground has been laid for what looks to be the continuation of a rich mythology and plot, as well as what could be an intriguing and complex plot. Scintillate has a story all of it's own, with a point to make, as well as setting up the next book, but setting up the next book is merely an undercurrent and not the main focus of the book as it is with so many first books.
Scintillate is the book that has given me hope for the YA Supernatural genre, when I was despairing of everything being the same. Scintillate is a refreshing, and unique read, truly unique to the genre, with complex and intriguing mythology woven in to a complex mystery of a plot. Scintillate will make you laugh, make you cry, make you go aaww and make you mad, the hallmarks of a truly brilliant author are all present when you find yourself so invested in the characters of the book and unable to put it down, as I was. I didn't want it to end, I wanted to know everything, and I've found myself gutted by the wait until the next book.
And that's the good news folks...this is the first in a trilogy, so get ready, because Scintillate is the first installment of a trilogy which promises to be a roller coaster ride of emotion, full of intrigue, and potentially one of the best trilogies of the year! You don't want to miss out. I'm off to mourn the wait for the next book, and try to find a book to match up to this...I think that will be impossible.