Review: Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Vesper by Jeff Sampson
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Released: January 25, 2011
Summary: Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that … the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.
The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell … there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?
As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want? —Goodreads
I enjoyed Vesper quite a bit. The very first page is a transcript of an interview (or should I say “questioning”) in which chains clank and our protagonist, Emily, is very obviously being held hostage. These snippets, placed ideally throughout the book, provide excellent foreshadowing and suspense. I felt that this addition to Vesper made it almost impossible to put down. I kept wondering how (and why) Emily would be captured!
Likewise, the rest of the story, told through Emily’s point of view, is fast-paced and intriguing as well. Jeff Sampson did an excellent job of writing through the teen female perspective. It’s really cool to see male writers get into a girl’s head. And Sampson kind of had two heads to get into—Daytime Emily (Emily’s usual personality) and Nighttime Emily (Emily’s new alternate personality who loves to be hot and dangerous)! You’d think that narration told through the voice of a girl with two personalities would be confusing, but it wasn’t! The shifts from Daytime Emily to Nighttime Emily (and vice versa) were very smooth, and it was easy to figure out who was currently in possession of Emily’s body.
My favorite thing about Vesper is its unique take on a certain paranormal creature. I’m not going to say which, because that’s a bit of a spoiler, but the combination of multiple personalities and this, ahem, creature was very refreshing. Plus, there is science involved, and I love when supernatural abilities can be rationalized. I was a bit confused as to why Emily was called a Vesper, though.
Vesper ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, so readers will certainly be wanting a sequel—fast! (I know I do!) Overall, the book delivers on multiple levels: it has an excellent concept, fantastic double narration, and it’s a quick and suspenseful read. The only reason I give Vesper four stars is because it didn’t totally blow me away. Still, I’d recommend the book to anyone who loves paranormal but is looking for something new.