Saturday, 28 April 2012
Rippler (Ripple Book 1) - Cidney Swanson
Author: Cidney Swanson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
"Rippler" by Cidney Swanson isn't the type of book I would normally read; a young adult urban fantasy novel usually leaves me with cold sweats as I fear it will just descend into standard paranormal romance territory! However, I took a gamble anyway and, luckily for me, it did actually feel like an urban fantasy novel with out a trace of love triangles or vampires anywhere.
The story itself follows Samantha Ruiz who, due to a genetic abnormality, has the ability to ripple which means that she can actually become invisible and without substance. Unfortunately she is unable to control this ability and when she is accidentally spotted vanishing by a classmate named Will she fears that soon her secret will be revealed. However, luckily for Sam, Will actually is aware of Rippling and becomes a friend and confident who tries to help her find a way to control her ability. However, there is more at risk than the ability to ripple being discovered and her life becoming one big science experiment. It also appears that others with the same genetic abnormality have been dying in suspicious circumstances which could mean that Sam's own life is at risk.
It was nice to see a Young Adult novel that felt a little bit unique compared too many of the others out there at the moment. The ideas behind the novel were also very interesting although I found it a shame that Sam's abilities weren't teased out as the story progressed, they were pretty much all just dumped on the reader in one early chapter. Therefore, at first I have to admit that I wasn't sure about the novel as it looked to be concentrated around Sam's struggle to control her ability. However, as the story progressed it became obvious that there was a much greater mystery here that she was getting caught up in. This overarching mystery was enough to keep me interested in the story and the feeling of danger that grew steadily as the story progressed did help to create an enjoyable read.
I really wasn't sure about the characters; Sam herself is actually reasonably likeable with her insecurities and fears helping to endear her to the reader. However, I found Will to be a little bit bland; he just seemed to be there as a font for information on rippling and a love interest. Whilst I actually found that the relationship between Sam and Will progressed at a more realistic pace than I have seen in other books, I am not sure I understand what personality Sam actually saw to make her like him in that way.
The one relationship I did really enjoy and understand was the one between Will and his sister, Mickie. It was very well portrayed and I could feel the elements of sibling rivalry co-existing with the love and warmth they felt for each other. I can imagine many brothers or sisters recognising some of the love filled antagonism present here. In addition, I found that Mickie herself was an entertaining and multi faceted character as well. Whilst seemingly lacking any sense of humour and full of fear, it was always wonderful to then see the warmth and support that she possessed underneath.
I will be honest now though and add that there was one element of the novel that did irritate me quite a bit and this was in regards to Will witnessing Sam disappearing. It just seemed so far-fetched that of all the people there, the only one who saw her was the one person who seemed to be an expert on the ability to ripple. I understand that there has to be some form of suspension of disbelief when you read novels like this but this lucky happenstance was just a little bit too much for me.
Overall, this was an enjoyable young adult novel that felt a little bit unique and different from the usual fare. It does have the odd little niggle here and there and there was no real conclusion to the novel but there is enough to keep most people entertained and personally I will more than happily pick up the sequel in the future.