Publisher: Delacorte Books (2011)
Format: Paperback | 513 pages
Genre(s): Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
WARNING: Contains Minor SpoilersDescription (GR): "Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can't dance, she lost everything important to her in one missed step.Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment, and shipping her to Alabama is her mother's solution for Sylvie's unhappiness. But life might not be any more simple down south. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can't stop thinking about.Then Sylvie starts seeing things. A girl down by the lake. A man peering into the window. And a graveyard with an oddly placed headstone. Sylvie's lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?"
The Splendor Falls is another one of those books about which you don't really know what to say. One of those books that falls into so many clichés along the way but in the end there is something brilliant about them that makes you like them.
Two good words to describe this book: atmospheric and beautiful. I loved the descriptions of the South, of the archeological dig, of anthropology and folklore... of course I myself am an archeologist, so that may be why, but I like how the author always seems to incorporate the history of the land, so to speak, in her books. And how her prose seems to evoke something magical in the most simple of things, like grass, trees and a river.
I liked the story and I thought it was properly developed (not rushed as so many YA books are), but I think the author lacks a proper sense of pacing (sometimes the book was almost boring). I noticed the same problem with her other book, Texas Gothic. Both books start out ok (although I did take a while to warm up to Sylvie, this book's heroine), the pace is great at first and everything develops slowly and mysteriously enough. But then, just before you reach the most interesting part, the book speeds up and everything feels rushed. So all the plot lines, mysteries and happenings seem to have very anticlimactic resolutions.
I didn't care all that much for the romance (because it wasn't as fleshed-out as I thought it should have been). The connection between Sylvie and Rhys was badly explained and I must say I'd have liked Rhys to appear more and not be there just to be a mysterious hot guy that says "strange things are afoot" or whatever. I felt like the character wasn't well developed enough and the old "we've met in another life" part of the story was too much; I'd have preferred if they were just normal young people. Shawn was also a bit of a disappointment. Sylvie grew on me throughout the book but I never warmed up to her enough. I guess Gigi was my favorite character.
Overall, a good book within the YA paranormal romance genre. I liked reading it, but thought that like her other book, the author seems to have some pacing problems and also character development issues, especially in the 'romance department'. Her characters never seem to have very believable feelings; their motivations for doing things seem mostly false. Still, the plot was mostly good and the writing was great. Recommended.