I love anthologies, especially since that’s how I generally find new authors to read. It’s also a great way to try several authors in a genre one doesn’t typically gravitate towards. For me, I’m not a big young adult fan, so I don’t go looking in the young adult section for something to read. However, it seems like urban fantasy has taken the genre by storm and there’s a ton of fabulous new series out there to explore. So when I was given the chance to read the upcoming anthology Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions, which features stories from 16 of today’s YA stars, I jumped at the chance.
The first story in Enthralled is Claudia Gray’s Giovanni’s Farewell:
Giovanni’s Farewell is about fraternal twins, brother and sister, named Cairo and Ravenna. (They debate which one of them was more screwed over by their parents, who named them after the cities where they met and honeymooned, respectively.) They’ve always been closer than close, but in the last few months, that has changed. Or, rather, Cairo has changed. Ravenna is terrified that he’s going crazy, ranting and raving about his supposed ability to read other people’s minds. It doesn’t even enter her mind to believe him — until they’re on a trip to Rome, where her psychic powers kick in.
While this was a good story, I have to say that it wasn’t that exciting. Giovanni’s Farewell is definitely a short story, but I don’t think there was a plot and that just made it really easy to skim. According to the blurb I found on Gray’s website, or at least my impression is, the whole point of the story is that these two twins are experiencing something new. This was the really easy part in my opinion. While the premise was good, it just seemed like Ravenna and Cairo accepted the changes a bit too easily. Granted, Ravenna didn’t accept the changes in Cairo, but once they started happening with her, then it must be true.
As for Ravenna and Cairo, as characters they were okay. I would have liked to see them developed more, but for a novella, they were good. We get enough background information on them that we get an idea on how they grow up, but there is a lack of information of how they are currently living. We’re told that they are experiencing something new, something different than how they’ve lived prior to this, but no information is given how they’re adapting. How they’ve gotten to the point where they are. Granted, this is a novella and you can only develop a character so much, but the connection between the characters current lives and what they are going through just seems disconnected.
Overall, Giovanni’s Farewell was a good story, just not captivating. I guess I just would have liked to seen more conflict than what there was. There was no intense feelings or conflicts with other classmates, no danger to escape or mystery to solve. It was just another day. While it was a good break, Giovanni’s Farewell just isn’t that memorable consider it is already slipping from my mind as I start thinking about the next story in the Enthralled anthology.
Other stories reviewed from Enthralled: Paranormal Diversions: (*the stories are being reviewed in order, so the links for stories after this one won’t work until it’s done.)
Giovanni’s Farewell by Claudia Gray
Scenic Route by Carrie Ryan
Red Run by Kami Garcia
Things About Love by Jackson Pearce
Niederwald by Rachel Vincent
A Mortal Winter King by Melissa Marr
Facing Facts by Kelley Armstrong
Let’s Get This Undead Show on the Road by Sarah Rees Brennan
Bridge by Jeri Smith-Ready
Skin Contact by Kimberly Derting
Leaving by Ally Condie
At the Late Night, Double Feature, Picture Show by Jessica Verday
Iv League by Margaret Stohl
Gargouille by Mary E. Pearson
The Third Kind by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Automatic by Rachel Caine