Review: Revel by Maurissa Guibord

Maurissa Guibord
Series: None
Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 4.5 stars

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There’s an island off the coast of Maine that’s not on any modern map.

Shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef, Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn’t her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? But Delia’s not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night.

Sean Gunn, a handsome young lobsterman, befriends Delia and seems willing to risk his life to protect her. But it’s Jax, the coldly elusive young man she meets at the water’s edge, who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. Delia is going to have to fight to survive. Because there are monsters here. And no one ever leaves Trespass alive.
Two large, scaly animals gripped the bottom of the Widowsong, their shapes like the dark silhouettes of a nightmare. Webbed hands. Claws. Spiked tails. One of the monsters swung and fixed me with reptilian yellow eyes. Its jaws unhinged like a bear trap, showing rows of curved, sharp teeth, and it screamed at me. The obscene roar reverberated through the water and suddenly the creature swam toward me, with rapid undulating movements and a bobbing motion of its head.

I'm terrified of fish. Not so much that I'd break into a hysterical fit of screams upon the sight of a goldfish (but if it touches me, that's a completely different story), or so terrified that I'd ban Finding Nemo from my household (it's not banned, it's just not welcome...), but I am terrified of fish enough for Revel to make a remarkably lasting impression in my nightmares on me, thanks to the passage above and many, many more throughout the novel.

Don't let that pretty dress cover fool you - Revel is a thoroughly haunting and creepy read, with rich and incredibly descriptive detail of sea monsters (or, as I'll be referring them for the remainder of this review, 'evil fish', because it fits the monsters better than 'sea monsters' and I don't want to spoil what they really are) throughout the entire novel. Along with the horrifying descriptions and equally as horrifying happenings, however, Guibord managed to incorporate a good amount of humor interwoven with the horror, garnering quite a few laughs from me, which, I'm sure you could imagine, was a refreshing break from the expressions of shock plastered on my face for the remainder of the novel.

Revel is one of my fastest novels I've read in quite a while - the opening pages being the main character, Delia, looking for a way to get to Trespass Island, and from that point on, this novel is one nonstop thrill-ride full of shocks, revelations (I'm sorry, I had to) and truly gruesome and disturbing moments. Trespass Island itself is just as mysterious as its name and this book's synopsis would suggest, with mystery after mystery about its past and present being revealed with every page. As well as that, the atmosphere of this secluded and bordered-by-evil-fish island is just as hauntingly beautiful and chilling as the entire novel, and the world-building and mythology (that's right - mythology) behind the 'evil fish' is both interesting and original.

The characters, however, while likable, were not met with much development, which is the one and only reason Revel isn't receiving the full five stars from me. Each of the characters that we're supposed to like are very likable, and the relationships between the characters are well-paced and believable. On their own, however, the characters themselves aren't met with development - only their relationships. And, on the topic of relationships, it should be noted that the romance aspect in Revel does not take up a large part of the novel in the least, with the romance only really budding in the last quarter or so.

With extremely creepy villains *cough* evil fish *cough*, an incredibly well paced and developed plot, great writing, mystery practically seeping through every page, and a breathtaking ending, Revel is by no means a novel to be missed by fans of Elizabeth Fama's Monstrous Beauty, or fans of sea-creature horror in general. With the exception of the lack of character development, Revel is practically perfect, and I can assure you that if you go into it with expectations of a fun, quick, and original adventure, you will not be disappointed.

(Ichthyophobics proceed with caution.)


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