Author: Cidney Swanson
Publisher: William Press
Published: June 15, 2011
Description: From Goodreads
My review: Rippler is a unique fantasy tale told through the eyes of Samantha Ruiz - the girl who can ripple. Cidney Sawnson creates a readable YA mystery, while adding a delicate helping of romance and historical fiction, and then ultimately creating the perfect blend to keep me intrigued and satisfied. I can safely say I enjoyed this book, perhaps not enough to call it one of my favorites, but enough for me to think it deserves some attention.
The idea of rippling was one of the main aspects of this book I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a completely new and original addition to the YA fantasy realm and hardly like anything I had come across before. For that reason, my expectations were set high. It sounded like it would be a refreshing and engaging read, and for the most part, it was. To ripple - or to turn yourself into something less than invisible and a little more than non-existent - is the ability our main character, Sam, tapped in to after her mother's death. For Sam, turning invisible is definitely not as good as it sounds. As death seems to be following those involved with Rippler's Syndrome, Sam is determined to keep her secret exactly that; a secret.
The rippling was portrayed well - the way it was triggered, the temperature fluctuations - but there were slight flaws in the system. The actual process of turning invisible was expertly presented, but while Sam was invisible, the details mentioned did lack plausibility. For instance, I had a difficult time accepting the credibility of the idea that once rippled, the rippler can almost flit from one pace to the another. I wasn't as convinced at times with that idea as I would have liked, but it was quite easily ignored.
The plot and structure of the story line were well done. I wasn't completely and utterly enthralled by the mystery of the book, but did find it quite engaging. I particularly enjoyed the integration of historical ideas and the strange contrast it bought to the fantasy-romance aspect of this book. I was gripped and equally horrified by the Nazi-style experiments on the children. There are diary extracts from the man behind the experiments structured well into the story. As awful as some of the extracts are, they added a little more intrigue to the plot.
My only major issue with the plot is the way it left off at the end of this book. Just as I was really beginning to hope for a gripping climax, we are left with something that, to me, felt a little half-hearted. I suppose it leaves some room for the sequel to pick up, but I was expecting an ending just that slight fraction more rewarding.
The characters drew a mixed bag of feelings from me. The beginning of this novel wasn't great - everything was a little too rushed - and so the characters didn't create good first impressions. I actually found a handful of them quite annoying, such as Will's older sister, Mickie, and Sam's friend, Gwyn. Those two are probably my least favorite characters, but they did manage to redeem themselves as the novel progressed. Sam's character also began to radiate more of a personality after the first couple of chapters. She wasn't a perfect protagonist, but she was interesting and likable.
The romance between Sam and Will is lightly touched on in this novel but very easy to root for. I liked Will's character more and more as the relationship between him and Sam started to change into something more than friendship.
'Will angled his face closer to mine. His cheeks were flushed and his dark eyes bottomless wells in which worlds could be lost. He wasn't in a hurry and although I wanted to kiss him more than I'd wanted anything, I didn't rush either. Did I know how to kiss a boy? I wanted to kiss this boy right. So I hovered, and he hovered, and we inhaled each another's shallow breaths, warm and sweet and salty with desire, and then when I knew I couldn't stand it anymore, he leaned a millimeter closer, like a runner trying to be the first through the ribbon.'
Isn't that a lovely scene? It's hard not too fall for Will. He is without a doubt my favorite character in the whole book and the character with the most likable personality.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It was an interesting read, relatively well written, with some really great moments. Yes, there are some flaws, but, overall, the good in this book manages to more than make up for any bad. The sequel to Rippler, book 2 in the Ripple series, is titled Chameleon. (Click the link to find out more.)
Rating: 3.5 stars