So I recently picked up Downcast by Cait Reynolds. In the spirit of transparency, I am going to let you know we have the same publisher, but that in no way has affected my review. If I don't like something I don't review it, plain and simple. So here's my rave.
In Downcast we meet Stephanie Starr. You remember that poor girl in high school whose mother made all her clothes? That's Stephanie. But she comes with a whole world of other baggage, including an oppressive mother-daughter relationship that really is something of mythic proportions.
Pretty fast we meet Zach and Haley, two new boys who've recently moved to the area. Stephanie is smart, but she's insecure and convinced any motive behind a popular person's attention to her means they're messing with her, just waiting to humiliate her the moment she gives into the belief anyone outside of her small circle of friends would be interested in her. And yet, from the moment deep, mysterious, dark, and good-looking Haley lays his eyes on her, he seems transfixed, an interest she doesn't encourage, but one that draws her in the longer it endures.
Pretty fast the reader realizes a myth is being played out in modern day high school—Persephone and Hades. What I loved about Reynold's writing wasn't just how deeply embroiled I became from almost the first page, but I loved her characterization. Stephanie truly was one of the most interesting characters because she wasn't immediately the most beautiful or interesting girl at school. She initially is submissive, insecure, and only when Haley comes around does she seem to assert any sort of agency. And yet, as the story unravels, she evolves dramatically.
Outside of everything else involved in this unique take on an old Greek myth, the romance was STEAMY. I would love to date Haley ... if he wasn't a high school boy (in the book) and I wasn't already married (in real life) and deeply devoted to my long-time book boyfriend (Tarod from Louise Cooper's Time Master Trilogy). Reynolds is a master of the romantic build up, something that seems lacking or almost non-existent in so many books today.
I turned and turned those pages, and so should you if you're a fan of Greek mythology twists, YA romance, and interesting heroines to boot. You can find Downcast on Amazon for $3.99 in Kindle and $16.95 in paperback. While Reynolds is busy at work on the sequel in the Olympus Falling series, she has since released Angel Hands, a standalone. Stay tuned for an interview with the lovely Cait Reynolds later this week.
In honor of Downcast's one year anniversary, Reynolds will release a special director's cut of deleted scenes with the launch of her newsletter at the end of May, and it will feature almost 50k of content that never made it into the book!
**You can also read this review and others at Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews
What would you do when faced with an impossible truth? Written with heart and passion, Downcast by Cait Reynolds is ripe with twists you never saw coming and love that defies the odds in this intense new Paranormal Romance retelling one of mythology’s greatest love stories.
It’s the start of Stephanie Starr’s senior year of high school, but sadly, this is no life of the prom queen. Stuck at the bottom of the high school social totem pole, Stephanie is forced by her domineering mother to wear lumpy linen dresses and eat organic tofu for lunch in a world of mini-skirts and pizza.
What Stephanie doesn’t anticipate is gorgeous and cocky Haley Smith who breaks social convention and pursues her with a determination that is both terrifying and flattering. Afraid that Haley is simply trying to set her up for massive humiliation, Stephanie does her best to push him away. But the more attention he pays to her, the more she runs, and the more everyone else begins to notice.
Instead of a loving family to support her as the mean girls make their play, Stephanie’s mother begins to unravel mentally, her possessiveness of Stephanie spiraling to new and frightening extremes. Stephanie is forced to grow up, find herself, and learn the truth about her past in order to save her mother, her friends, and her town. When the truth is revealed, nothing can prepare her for the outrageous reality of her existence…and nothing can save her from her fate.