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Review: Misfit by Jon Skovron

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2 Stars: An Okay Read
Hardcover: 384 Pages
Publication: August 1, 2011 by Amulet Books

Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn’t exactly help.
     But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.

Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school.

In the flurry of paranormal reads, readers will find a unique story with Jael Thompson, assuming that you like stories about a half-demon attending a Catholic school. Skovron takes religious stories, myths, and legends and explains how they came about through the existences of demons.

Now, the story is told in third-person present tense. I don’t have a problem with third person. It is needed here because of the backstory surrounding Jael’s parents and for this one scene later on with one of Jael’s friends. However, the story always felt off to me because the story will be told in third-person present tense and then suddenly switch to third-person past tense and feed me facts about Jael.

Jael finds a lot of things a bit too easy in my opinion. She’s always pushing for things to go her way and doesn’t listen to others if they don’t say what she wants to hear. She doesn’t think about the consequences, like the time she calls on Uncle Dagon when he’s in the middle of work instead of letting her father help her. When something’s going wrong, something else happens to help her out of a crisis. I know that half-demons are powerful, but Jael seems to come into her powers too easily. She usually gets the elements to follow her bidding on her first or second try.

I was able to relate to Jael’s father and mother much better. They face a powerful enemy and actually have to work and plot against him, and they share strong bonds with their allies. With Jael, she doesn’t spend enough time with any one person for you to really gear any empathy towards her; at least, I had a hard time understanding her—except for her interest in Rob. Rob is a cool guy and a refreshing romantic interest. He’s a skater guy with a love for math and chemistry. How cool is that? He’s sweet and funny, and he really understands Jael.

Note that the story does involve a lot of religion and exorcism, so I wouldn’t recommend the book for very religious readers who might be sensitive to the manipulation of religious stories. Also, Jael is constantly rebelling against her father, and her friends and uncle encourage this rebellion. I myself found it an affront to my familial values. It’s true that her dad is very cautious and has a lot of household rules, but he does it to protect her. Deep down, I think that Jael understood this, but Skovron doesn’t really develop her relationship with her father. In the end, Jael’s rebellious nature—and her succeeding in this rebellion—didn’t work well with me.

Through concluding events, Skovron hints at more to come. If there is a sequel, I hope to find more action and even more powerful enemies to come because Misfit hasn’t proved to have much of either with Jael coming into her powers so easily as of the events of Misfit. I hope to see more father-daughter time and more cool allies, as I really liked Dagon and Father Aaron. I recommend Misfit for readers who are looking for another kind of paranormal read with a slight fantasy edge to it. I don’t recommend it for those looking for action or for those who are very religious.


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