The Otherworldlies is the first book of a young adult vampire series by Jennifer Anne Kogler. Mrs. Kogler's first book, Ruby Tuesday, received good reviews, so I had high hopes for The Otherworldlies. Sadly, it is a horrible book. I have not read Ruby Tuesday, so I cannot say how they compare. But this one is bad.
The Otherworldlies mixes Greek mythology and vampires -- which should be a winning combination in today's market. Unfortunately, the writing is awkward, irregular, and amateurish, and the setting and plot are hackneyed and insufficiently thought out. Unnecessary sentences and even paragraphs are everywhere, the characters change moods for no reason from one sentence to the next, the author can't seem to decide if her readers are rather dim or unusually bright, and the narrative voice changes suddenly and without warning. I found it hard to hear the story over the sound of my inner critic, and the few hooks were not enough to overcome the poor writing.
The story follows Fern McAllister, who has had strange powers since she was a child. She can predict the weather, talk to the family dog, and hear when people are talking about her. Her family is in denial about her abilities, and the entire school, teachers and all, is convinced that she is an unredeemable looser of no use other than the occasional mocking. (Yes, it is a bit angsty.) As new powers make themselves apparent, things are posed to get even worse. Fortunately, there is a secret and ancient network of vampires, and they take her into the fold. As it happens, there are also cyclops and goblins and hecatonchires; tradition holds that vampires are actually the descendants of the titans. And of course, there is a bad vampire, named Vlad, who wants to use Fern's powers to his own ends...
This book does have some redeeming features. For example, it is a teenage vampire novel without any cheesy romance. None. It is totally inexplicable, but welcome. It is also reasonably interesting; if you can get over editing it in your head as you read, it is engaging enough. The plot is not surprising, the characters are not particularly interesting, but it is an adventure, and it is gripping at points. Not that I'm recommending it.
The sequel to The Otherworldlies, The Siren's Cry, is expected out July 5, 2011. You can find out more (although not much more) at the official Jennifer Anne Kogler site.