Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Review: Savannah Grey by Cliff McNish
Format: Trade paperback
Released: February 4th, 2010
Grade rating: A-
It's a difficult time for fifteen-year-old Savannah Grey - she's settled into her latest foster placement, but her body is acting strangely. Then other strange things begin to happen: nature, it seems, is exerting an overpowering force on the world. Birds behave erratically; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away. And Savannah discovers she has supernatural powers. Meanwhile, she feels drawn to the new boy Reece whose life is even stranger than hers. Quickly Savannah and Reece realise that nature has a purpose for them both. For they are on course to meet the vile and evil Ocrassa, who wants to destroy the world by corrupting nature. And it wants Savannah Grey to help realise its savage intent.
Savannah Grey isn't at all what I was expecting, but I loved it anyway. It's a perfect blend of mystery, horror and suspense, and even has a bit of romance thrown in too. It's wonderfully written, with a well-executed story that twists and turns like a winding road.
It's clear that McNish has a particular interest in the horror genre, and I like how he mixes things up and adds new elements, in turn making Savannah Grey a horror/sci-fi/romance that even the most reluctant reader will be hard pressed to ignore. Evolution plays a part in the proceedings, with a huge period of time revisited and woven into the story. It's fascinating stuff, with something new to discover on every page.
I'd really like to say that Savannah was my favourite character, but she wasn't. That particular accolade goes to the monsters of the book: Ocrassa, Nyktomorph and Horror. These monsters aren't your average creatures of the night; they're deformed, creepy, and downright weird. They have a fantastic story to tell, which makes their chapters enthralling, intriguing and the most enjoyable of the whole novel. Savannah and new friend Reece are brilliant too, and are harbouring a secret like no other I've encountered. To say this book is unusual is an understatement, but that's part of its charm and appeal.
At times lyrical and haunting, Savannah Grey is by far my favourite offering from Cliff McNish. The horror lover in me is happy, and I'm glad I've found a book that is both gruesome and romantic. It's a rare mash-up, but it works incredibly well. I hope more authors have the confidence to try something a little bit different, as it's like opening the door to a breath of fresh air.