One of the perks of being a book reviewer for a website like this is we get access to books, often ahead of schedule. Throat, by R. A. Nelson (released January 25th, 2011) was one of those books, and not one I would have necessarily read on my own. It is called Throat for goodness sakes, which immediately made me think of vampires (and I wasn’t wrong), and the cover is a girl bending her head back. None of this seemed very unique or exciting. But I read the blurb, wanting to give this book a chance, and my interest was immediately swayed. Something that looked typical turned out to be a smart, creative read with unique ideas on an over-done theme.
From the start this book is a little different than most YA urban fantasy with paranormal romance overtones. The main character, Emma, has epilepsy. It is basically ruining her teenage years, making her a social pariah and even killing her chances at driving like every other normal teen her age. One night, in a fit of frustration, she takes the family car and escapes, only to crash, driving the car off the road into the woods. Scared and lost, she wanders to a nearby cabin, where she asks a dark mysterious stranger for help. Of course he isn’t as he seems, and next thing Emma remembers is waking up in the hospital, having no idea of how she got there.
This is where the story really gets interesting. The creeper was a vampire, and she is starting to get his traits… but only some of them. And as she realizes what is happening to her, and discovers that the baddie is still after her, she runs to save her family, ending up on a nearby NASA base, which she uses as her new home while she can figure out exactly what is happening to her and how to stay alive in the process.
This story in some ways is basic in its plot. The protagonist does something stupid that alters her life. And then because of the results of this bad choice, she is basically being hunted, and needs to either run or face her accuser. However, I didn’t feel any of that ordinariness when I was engrossed in the story. This book was incredibly intelligent. Those simple details were flushed out with interesting characters and unique ideas. Written by someone who works at NASA, the scientific details were accurate and really fascinating. Science makes magic more believable, in my humble opinion, and there was also a nice balance of that in the story. A part of me wanted to believe this story, that’s how well the science was infiltrated into the fantasy elements.
I also enjoyed the love interest being a really bright geek with a good heart, and it was a great way for the author to get scientific information across to the reader without blatant telling, which is generally a writing no-no. It was such a nice change of pace from the dark, handsome brooding hottie or the werewolf who has the hots for the protagonist. Sagan was a breath of fresh air, and I really enjoyed the dynamic between him and Emma.
This was a great book. I haven’t read a book in a while that excited me like this one did, and it is one I will surely read again in the future. Don’t let the simple title or stereotypical vampire romance cover throw you; there is a lot of amazing substance between the covers, and it is definitely worth a read!