First Impression:Harbinger came onto my radar due to the boarding school theme. I don't know what it is about these types of books, but I love the boarding school setting. The summary also promises lots of mystery. Sounded like something I just had to check out.While Reading:Harbinger completely unlike anything that I have read before. A bit creepy. Plenty of mystery, suspense. And just enough misdirection to keep my attention. The story starts with the introduction of Holbrook Academy. On the surface, it appears to be a school for kids in need of help. A beautiful setting. A place of serenity. A school that seems to genuinely want to assist their students. Well, that is if you take everything at face value. But, of course, at Holbrook Academy not everything is what it appears. What is below that shiny veneer is the stuff of nightmares. Faye... Kel... and all of our secondary characters make this one heck of a tale. No two characters are alike. I loved how each add their own little bit to the main story. Each have their own pasts that they are running from. And some are definitely darker than others. The beauty of Harbinger is in the details. Sara Wilson Etienne crafts her tale so perfectly that I will now forever think of her as the Queen of Misdirection. Throughout the novel, the reader is lead down path after path. Searching for the truth of what Holbrook Academy really is about. Whenever I thought I was finally about to have that "Ah-ha!" moment, another layer, another twist was added. While, on some levels, it was beyond frustrating. It was also exactly what made me love this book so much. It was like nothing I had encountered before.Final Verdict:I knew going into Harbinger that it was not going to be one of those 'happy-go-lucky' type reads. I knew that it was probably going to be a bit dark, filled with plenty of mystery. But what I didn't expect was all the history, the lore regarding Holbrook Academy and our characters. It added a nice layer to the book that really surprised me.And the cherry on the top regarding Harbinger?It is a standalone. No frustrating cliffhangers here. If I hadn't already enjoyed Harbinger so much, that would have definitely sealed it for me.