I first read this *gasp* on Wattpad (a dark period of my life, don’t ask (so much bad fan fiction (I’m permanently traumatised))) and it was one of the few works which I truly loved. This, found on Swoon Reads and not yet published (my first action once it is will be to buy a copy!), is the slightly updated (I think), more finely edited version of the manuscript which I read there. First things first: this is a paranormal mystery/adventure/coming-of-age-novel/romance, and even though I tend to avoid approximately half of the items on that list like the plague, I absolutely adore this book. Saved from the usual vampire/werewolf/banshee/succubus romances by Alex Snow, an angel with a demon for a brother and some seriously awesome taste in music, Red Rain is a refreshingly original read in a genre which has become far too tied in with crappy romances. Don’t get me wrong—there is romance, and plenty of it, but it’s sweet, and honest (she says with no idea what the truth may be like) and (with a couple of exceptions) is exactly how I want to fall in love for the first time. There is a steady flow of humour throughout, which makes the characters pretty damn relatable (characters can do stupid things too—yay!), despite the slightly dark nature of most of the plot. Or maybe more than slightly dark. Some parts certainly made me cringe, although seeing as how I’m ludicrously squeamish about everything, that may be a matter of personal taste. Other parts made me cry, as characters who I had truly grown to love suffered and I had no choice but to see it through because it was just so addicting and I didn’t want to stop. They have so many sides to their personalities these characters, you can’t help but love them.
The basis for the plot itself is fascinating, if a little hard to explain. But there’s angels and demons and ghosts and elemental powers, and for all that it sounds like the most beautifully unfeasible idea in heaven, hell, or on earth, it works. Really, really well. It has this glorious blend of real life (so much pop culture and good music) and the absolutely fantastical, tied together with real, human emotions. It’s not overstated, and it’s just quirky enough to make it enjoyable without being too extreme or in-your-face (and the title alone is likely to attract at least some music fans). It is a book which I would definitely recommend reading, for anyone who likes the weird, the wonderful, or the just plain brilliant.
And of course there’s a Muse song on the first page*.
*I think that at one point this was New Born, but the title seems to have been cut.