The Splendor Falls – Rosemary Clement-Moore
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Summary: Sylvie Davis, the youngest dancer to ever earn a lead role in her NYC Company’s production, had a devastating injury that forced her to quit dance. Heartbroken over the loss of her passion and trying to decide what to do next, Sylvie’s parents send her to Alabama, her deceased father’s home, to spend time with family she’s never met in hopes that her discontent will finally abate. Strange things are afoot in this small town, however, that add even more intrigue and uncertainty to her already confused life. Will she find out what’s causing all of these things to happen, and will she finally be able to create a life without dance?
Review: For the past few months, I’ve only been reading books I own, instead of checking them out at the library or borrowing them from friends. Not only has this been kicking my TBR pile’s butt, but it also had me on an awesome streak where I’ve genuinely enjoyed everything I was reading. Sadly, the majestic reading train of glory has halted for an unexpected delay, as I didn’t enjoy The Splendor Falls as much as I had anticipated I would.
I was really pumped to read The Splendor Falls, as the premise sounded so promising, but for me, it failed in execution. I never really connected with Sylvie, the narrator, so perhaps that explains my struggle with this book. At the beginning of The Splendor Falls, my heart went out to Sylvie as she grappled with the loss of her career, but it seemed like her feelings about it fell by the wayside much too quickly, especially since the story was told in the span of about three weeks. Yes, it’s important not to dwell and it’s great that she was able to think of other things, but her passion was taken away from her. Shouldn’t she have been upset about it for a little bit longer? When I think of my own passions and the prospect of them being taken from me, I feel like my mind would constantly dwell on it in a continuous loop of gloom for much longer than three weeks, even if I was doing other things, but maybe Sylvie is able to mentally bounce back quicker than I am? Either way, it is definitely commendable that she was able to do so.
I also didn’t really like the focus on her dog, Gigi. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love dogs, but with everything else going on in the story, Gigi’s constant appearance in every scene just didn’t make much sense to me. Instead of focusing on her, it would’ve been wonderful to see some of the other characters that were crucial to the plot, especially Rhys, Sylvie’s father, and the elusive Teen Council, get developed more fully so the reader could get a fuller grasp on their motivations.
As much as I didn’t like some aspects of this book, there were also a few things that worked really well for me. For one, the character, Rhys, was really interesting. As I noted previously, I wish the reader could’ve learned more about him, but I did enjoy the scenes he was in, and his story was really thought-provoking. I wasn’t too crazy about the instalove that existed between him and Sylvie as it didn’t seem all that authentic to me, even with the explanation (remember, this book took place over the course of three-ish weeks), but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the character and my wish to know more about him.
The paranormal aspects of the story were pretty cool, too, and I wish there was more of it. The guy lurking in the window was sufficiently creepy, and the story about the girl left me eagerly turning the pages so I could find out more about her.
While this book didn’t quite work for me, paranormal fans who are looking for a book that takes place in the Deep South may enjoy The Splendor Falls.
Read-alikes: The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen, Mediator series – Meg Cabot