Mar 22, 2012

Review: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne

Title: Harbinger
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Publisher:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR
Publication Date: 2.2.12
Pages: 309
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Series: No
Source: ARC from author

Rating: B+

Summary (from Goodreads):
Plagued by waking visions and nightmares, inexplicably drawn to the bones of dead animals, Faye thinks she's going crazy. Fast. Her parents beleive Holbrook Academy might just be the solution. Dr. Mordoch tells her it's the only answer. But Faye knows that something's not quite right about Dr. Mordoch and her creepy, prisonlike school for disturbed teenagers.

What's wrong with Holbrook goes beyond the Takers, sadistic guards who threaten the student body with Tasers and pepper spray; or Nurse, who doles out pills at bedtime and doses of solitary confinement when kids step out of line; or Rita, the strange girl who delivers ominous messages to Faye that never seem to make any sense. What's wrong with Holbrook begins and ends with Faye's red hands; she and her newfound friends--her Holbrook "family"--wake up every morning with their hands stained the terrible brown of dried blood. Faye has no idea what it means but fears she may be the cause.

Because despite the strangeness of Holbrook and the island on which it sits, Faye feels oddly connected to the place; she feels especially linked to the handsome Kel, who helps her unravel the mystery. There's just one problem: Faye's certain Kel's trying to kill her--and maybe the rest of the world, too.

It takes a lot for a book to spook me, which is why I don’t recommend reading this one at night when the rest of the house is asleep. Sara Wilson Etienne scared the crap out of me in Harbinger—and I loved every second of it.

Faye is a complex character. She hasn’t had an easy life—far from it. She questions everything and has lived under the assumption that she’s insane for years. She took a little while for me to adjust to, but by the middle of the novel, I genuine came to care for her, and the members of her “Family”—her fellow asylum inmates.

I am a horribly impatient reader by nature. I tend to like knowing exactly where a book is going, and I really had to let that control issue go here. I was often times just as confused as Faye was, and had to wait for things to be revealed to me as they were revealed to her. I sort of got irritated by that at first, then I quickly let that go and gave myself over to this novel.

This book is a page turner. Etienne gives just enough tantalizing details to keep you guessing and intrigued. I had to get to the end to find out what was happening. This book gets down right freaky in some places, but it’s totally worth the read. I can’t wait to see what she writes next because I will definitely be reading it.


  1. Wow, you've made a fan out of me. Glad the book taught you (to have more) patience. Harbringer sounds super creepy and mysterious. My kind of out of the box book. Excellent review.

  2. I love page turners and creepy books. Looking forward to reading it. Great review!

  3. I'm creeped out just reading the book description! Thanks for the review. I might give it a try, as long as I can read it in broad daylight!:)

  4. This book looks like is should be great. Thanks for the review!

  5. Now see I needed this recommendation a few days ago when I had someone looking for a "scare your socks off" type of book. *jots down for future reference* Sounds like an interesting read (and the cover is already curious indeed)....think it just might have made its way to my wish list. Thanks for sharing...and happy reading!

  6. I've been contemplating reading this book! I'm a big cover whore and this cover just doesn't do it for me... >.<

  7. Ooo this book sounds good. I really want to read it! Thank you for the awesome review.

  8. this book sounds great I have to know what is going on at that school and I would love to read it at night and scare myself silly

  9. Harbinger has been on my TBR list for a while since I've seen it on so many book blogs, though hearing that it's that frightening is a first...and it makes me even more compelled to read it!

  10. I really enjoyed this book. I loved being surprised. I loved the mystery. I loved the characters. I was disappointed in the very end of the ending, but I was still mostly just impressed. I would look forward to reading more from this author, and I hope she writes more soon.
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