Top positive review
It surprised me.
Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2014
This book (or books, actually) surprised me. The beginning didn't hook me at all. As much as I can sympathize with the POV character's outcast status in high school, I didn't find him an interesting POV at first. But the book was well-written enough that I didn't immediately put it down as I will do if the narrative, diction, grammar, etc. are irredeemable and the characters don't do anything for me. Fortunately for John Corwin, I kept reading out of curiosity to see where the story was going, and got hooked at about the point were Stacy first slinks into the story (what can I say, I like cats). I usually don't like books written by men because male authors typically don't build characters that hold my interest, but this book came together for me. Justin is pretty unbelievable at times, and the "Princess Bride" true love with Elyssa is a bit hard to stomach, but overall, I found the two books to be enjoyable reads and actually hard to put down at times. Though the series is obviously written by a man for a male audience, I can't give it a bad review simply because I'm the wrong gender to truly get into the story. The world building was quite good, the book was well-written, and though I caught a few errors here and there, I do that in just about every book I read, so I won't hold that against the author.
If you like urban fantasy with a nerdy twist, you'll probably be able to enjoy these books (once you slog through the pre-spawned Justin). If you're not hooked by a chapter or two after Stacy appears, though, then the book is probably not for you.
One thing that I was disappointed to see was the break in Justin's first-person POV to provide one crucial chapter from Elyssa's third person perspective. I understand why the author did it, but it completely broke the consistency of the voice of the books, and demonstrates to me that there was some lack of planning involved in how to tell that bit of the story. If you're going to break voice once, do it consistently. If Elyssa is important enough to carry the story for one chapter, she needs to have that burden more often, in my honest opinion.
Be warned, if you haven't looked up the series, that it's a long one. I was able to get this 2-book compilation for free, and to be honest, if there were only a couple more books, I'd probably buy them and finish the series, but the sheer size of the series actually turns me away. I'm not sure I like the characters enough to stick with them for that long.