Anima* by Kim Kestner
Published by Arena on February 1, 2016
For Abby it´s the best time of the year: Every summer she spends the holidays with her family at the National Park Acadia. But this time the idyll is overshadowed. Engaged for entertainment magician Juspinn fascinated holiday guests not only with his show – he seems to manipulate them. With horror Abby discovers how her Family and friends change more and more for the worse. Virginia is at once madly. Abby itself feels not only the attraction of the stranger, but also the danger that emanates from him. Juspinn seems to be looking – for something that only she can give him.
My ReviewThe cover was the first thing, that I fell in love with and I have to say that when I took it out of the delivery box, I discovered that it looks live and in my hands much better than the cover picture does on the publisher´s website.
White, red and a black - that sometimes seems to be a mix between a dark blue and black – are the colors who build not only the cover itself, but the Yin and Yang symbol. This is on the German edition of the book illustrated as two wings combined with a beautiful glittering diamond.
The novel is put in two parts. In the first one you get to know the characters and the story is a great piece of how things can be between two sisters. Life at Acadia isn´t for everyone fun and so in the second part the author kind of makes a complete U-turn. All of the sudden the atmosphere changes, the behavior and tone of both sides turns into dark and something dangerous and Abby has to learn that not everything is as it seems.
Written in the personal point of view by Abby and sometimes Juspinn, the game between good and evil becomes more and more intense. The reader gets very early in the book the feeling, that not everything is at it seems, that some real bad things are happening and that only one thing can either save them or destroy them: Love.
The author brings up some things that are quite surprising. So is the huge ball scene of the movie Eyes Wide Shut on thing you will never see the same way after you´re read what Juspinn calls the “real” story behind it. Or the impression, that one person seems to kind of laugh about a certain lifestyle which Juspinn´s family shows to the world.
Virginia is an ice cold bitch, wrapped in beauty, which antagonizes the reader to the blood. She is a figure who gives the meaning of “blonde poison” a totally new meaning. At first I was alienated by her, then nauseated and towards the end of the book I felt disgusted by her. You end up asking yourself why in the world she feels such jealousy towards her younger sister and why she acts the way she acts. Her hate, her bitch erratic behavior and her ignorance against her parents is murderous and fantastic described.
Abby is the opposite of her sister. Yes, she is a beauty too and yes, she doesn´t sees herself that way, but the rest is absolutely different. She has a heart where Virginia has only ice. But after a few pages I started hating her for her need to clean up behind every person, that she felt the force to help everyone whether they want it or not and that she never stands up against the bad behavior from Virginia towards her. That was no showing of the differences between Black and White, no this was the ultimate display of purest, blinding White and deepest and blackest black.
*This title was at time of review only available in the German language.
Kim Kestner, born in Gifhorn 1975, studied visual communication and managed a marketing-agency before she started writing. Since then she published successful Young Adult novels. Anima is her first book at Arena. Kim Kestner lives with her family south of Hamburg, Germany.