Cover Blurb: Yes or No? The cover art doesn't do a whole lot for me, and if I hadn't already read some of this Author's books - and enjoyed them - I p...moreCover Blurb: Yes or No? The cover art doesn't do a whole lot for me, and if I hadn't already read some of this Author's books - and enjoyed them - I probably wouldn't have taken much interest in this one. It looks like a street-teen angst novel (and it is).
Characters: I didn't care for any of the characters, except for Lucas, and he wasn't in the book for very long. Flick has serious attitude and a pretty short temper. He's a punk, and I don't care what circumstances led him to his current life of crime, I don't like punks as protagonists. Especially when said punk doesn't show any remorse or moral struggle with breaking the law. Not to mention that Flick has a very foul mouth. I was willing to finish the book to see if maybe Flick has a change of heart; maybe he tries to better himself. Spoiler: he doesn't. He does whatever it takes to get what he wants without a single thought about whether or not he should. And I suppose that that was the whole purpose of the story, and if I had felt like Flick learned a lesson in the end, I would have been okay with it. But it honestly didn't seem like he learned anything in the end. I never connected with Joi, even though she did seem to have some semblance of morals and hesitated to do dirty work when it was required. Maybe it was because she liked Flick so much. Everyone else in the story were slimeballs of one form or another, and while I like stories that is mostly made up of villains, the Author also has to give me a protagonist that I can root for. That said, the Author did do a bloody good job of making me hate the slimes. She did almost too good of a job, in fact. There is a large assorted collection of pervs, creeps, punks, crooks, and whathaveyou in this story, and they are all amazingly realistic and horrible. However, I still didn't have a protagonist I cared about.
The Romance: Joi and Flick like each other, and Flick is forced to pretend to like Gwendolyn while he's at the school in order to stay on top. Because I didn't care about Flick or Joi, I didn't became emotionally invested in the romance. And because Joi and Flick really only seemed interested in sleeping with each other, I had a hard time accepting it as love and not just plain lust.
Plot: Flick is the son of a wealthy, button-down, upstanding businessman of society. The sort who people could never see doing anything wrong. But when society doesn't know is that this upstanding businessman regularly beat his sons when he was drunk and terrorized his wife. When Flick's younger brother, Jude, has an "accident" and dies, and his mom overdoses on drugs, Flick takes to the streets of New York City, making his living as a darn good pick pocket. Then the owner of Mandel Academy approaches Flick with a peculiar proposition. Mandel Academy is known as the most prestigious charity school around. It takes in problem teens and prepares them for an Ivy League education. At least, that's what everyone thinks. But the truth is that Mandel Academy prepares troubled youth for a life of high-end crime. Embezzlement, fraud, trafficking, how to start wars. Only nine students graduate from Mandel Academy every year, and those graduates go to prestigious colleges, where they are educated to become the next generation of CEOs, politicians, and bankers. The owner of this academy has made a bet with Flick's father: that Flick will graduate at the end of the year, as the top student. And if Flick agrees to join the academy, Mr. Mandel will provide him with proof that his father is responsible for his brother's death. Flick can't pass up such a opportunity for revenge. But Mandel Academy has a much darker agenda than Flick realized, and he's caught right smack in the middle of it. Flick will have to choose between his own survival and the survival of the other students' - and either choice could end in his or a loved one's death. The official summary really doesn't tell the Reader the actual gist of the story. And when I first read it, and having known Kirstin Miller's writing through her Kiki Strike series, I was expecting a dark comedy. Sure, there's some sarcastic humor in Flick's narration, but this is mostly a gritty and grim story which completely lacks any true laughs. The Author doesn't shy away from the dark side of the criminal underworld, and she's not afraid to make Mandel Academy's policies downright horrific. A lot of people would probably find this book disturbing; I mostly found it depressing because I don't care to read about teen crime. But it definitely has its dark moments, where there isn't a single thing to induce even a slight giggle. I kept reading because I wanted to see what the point of the story would be; how would it end. But as it progressed, it went from the realm of gritty to the realm of weird, and finally to the realm of ridiculous. (view spoiler)[Mandel's true purpose at the academy is gene research. He's convinced that there is a gene in everyone that is either born turned on or off. If it's on, it makes the person a "predator," and if it's turned off, it makes them "prey." But Mandel is convinced that given the right stimuli, the gene can be turned on. His theory is linked to evolutionary natural selection. This is when I started rolling my eyes. (hide spoiler)]
Believability: Not applicable.
Writing Style: First person, present tense, though sometimes it switched the past tense at odd and abrupt moments. And yes, it got a little confusing. There was nothing special about the writing at all, which with a story like this, isn't surprising. A book like this isn't going to have poetry; it's going to be gritty and modern.
Content: 38 s-words, 36 f-words, and 19 g--damns. The f-words were what I call half f-words. Rather than writing out the whole word, the Author wrote: f---ing. However, the character wasn't saying "effing;" they were saying the f-word, and for whatever reason, the Author decided to actually blip part of the word out. In some ways, it made the profanity a little better, because my mind automatically read it as "effing" and not the actual f-word. However, the intent was still there. Sex trade, homosexuality, drugs, and rape are all addressed in this book, though never in detail. Many of the characters make rude comments and innuendos, and Gwendolyn makes a lot of suggestive comments about sleeping with Flick.
Conclusion: The final showdown wasn't as ridiculous as I was expecting, but the end still left much to be desired. It didn't feel like Flick had learned anything, and I personally thought his dad's comeuppance was too convenient. When I read the last page of How to Lead a Life of Crime, my only thought was what was the point.
Recommended Audience: Guy-read, eighteen-and-up, fans of teen angst and teen crime stories.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My copy of Winter Fire was given to me by the Author. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is my full and honest opinion.
Cover Blurb:...moreMy copy of Winter Fire was given to me by the Author. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is my full and honest opinion.
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? While not the most attention-grabbing cover I've seen, I do like its simplicity. The title alone would make me pick up the book.
Characters: In a story like this, protagonists such as Jenna are very often highly annoying and shallow. So I was a little surprised to discover that Jenna was neither. She makes no real attempt to fit in to the new crowd, despite pressure to, and instead stays true to who she is. She also doesn't quit when she sets her mind to accomplishing a task, gets over her hurt and irritations quickly, and takes what happens in stride. While Jenna makes plenty of mistakes, she learns from them and tries her best to rectify her poor decisions. In short, Jenna was a very realistic, down-to-earth protagonist, and I appreciated that. I liked Bren right off. He has a quiet personality, but also has a great sense of humor and is very protective of his friends. He affects arrogance, but it's so obvious that he's teasing that I actually liked it rather than finding it annoying. I didn't form a great deal of attachment to any of the other Bergans (though I still liked them), except Skye. A girl who threatened to have a real Attitude, I ended up really liking Skye. She could have been an absolute jerk to Jenna, but instead looks after her right along with the other Bergans, and seems to have a real practical and independent streak to her. Meanwhile, on the "characters to hate" side, we have Tyler, Brianna, and - of course - Loki (who actually falls somewhere in between). Tyler was a joy to hate, the little creep, and Brianna rubbed me the wrong way the moment I met her, with her overly bubbly personality and a penchant for flirting with most of the guys she ran into. And then there's Loki, the true villain of the piece (or is he?). Naturally Loki is bursting with personality, from his quick wit, suave manner, cool temper, and tendency of quoting famous poets. But at the same time, we glimpse a side of Loki that I was able to sympathize with; a tortured soul that has been driven to desperate acts - and yet is still quite evil. And those are my favorite kinds of villains: those that we can understand and sometimes even agree with, but are still evil to the core.
The Romance: Need I really point out the obvious fact that of course Jenna and Bren fall in love? For the most part, I was okay with the romance. While there was more smooching and cuddling than I like (and descriptions of Bren's scent and tasty minty breath), I did still like both Bren and Jenna as characters. What lovers' quarrels they have are resolved long before they can become annoying. The romance starts out at a practical pace. It's obvious that Jenna is attracted to Bren, but it isn't an automatic "Oh my gosh, I can't live without him, even though we have known each other for, like, an hour!!!!!!" It's more of a "He's cute, he seems interesting; I want to know him better." Of course, with the story only being 140 pages, the romance does become accelerated after a while, but again - I still liked Jenna and Bren enough to not be as bothered by it as I usually am.
Plot: After moving to Yew Dales Resort in Pennsylvania, Jenna has pretty much decided that her life sucks. She doesn't have any friends, she'll be the new girl at school, and forget about snowboarding or skiing, 'cause Jenna and sliding down a snowy slope don't mix. That is, until Jenna meets Bren Bergan and his Norwegian cousins. They're instructors at Yew Dales Resort, and they're also strange, going out for after-hours snowboarding, sometimes disappearing for days on end into the snowy mountains. But it's how Bren snowboards that catches Jenna's attention, because it isn't normal. The air, the snow, even the trees seem to obey him, and time seems to slow and stop altogether. It's breathtaking and frightening all at once. So when Bren offers to teach Jenna how to snowboard, logic says that she should refuse. But she doesn't, and as her friendship with Bren deepens into something more, it's the beginning of the end - in more ways than one. Bren is forced to reveal his secret to Jenna - that he and his cousins are Norse gods, who have left Asgard in an attempt to stop the destructive cycle of Ragnorak: living life over and over and over again. His affection for Jenna turns her into a target for the mischievous Loki, who comes down from Asgard for some mysterious purpose. But what is he up to exactly? Bren and Jenna must find out before it's too late - for them and for the mortal world itself. Winter Fire is more of a paranormal romance that it is a story about a Norse god rebellion, so the plot begins very sedately, with lots of snowboarding and sorting out of Jenna's feelings for Bren. And then . . . more snowboarding. Now, snowboarding isn't my thing, so for those Readers who understand that special zen that comes with the sport will probably appreciate this part of the book far more than I did. And to be fair, the snowboarding scenes weren't totally pointless; something happened in each part, whether it was further character emotions development or Jenna noticing small, strange details about how Bren and Co. could snowboard so bloody well. And once Asgard and Loki's arrival are all introduced, the plot picks up and becomes faster paced and (for me) more engaging.
Believability: Not applicable.
Writing Style: First person, past tense! Yay! Jenna's sense of humor is very subtle, so having the story told in first person worked really well. We Readers are able to enjoy her slight sense of sarcasm this way. The writing style itself was actually rather nice. I'm not a big fan of modern styles, but I did like this Author's style. She had some great descriptions of mountains in the winter - an ambiance that is much harder to capture in writing than one might think. Sometimes the writing is choppy, but that's to be expected in modern stories, and what typing errors I found were mostly unnecessarily capitalized words at the end of dialogue (like "He said") and a very few spelling errors. It was nothing that obstructed the narration's flow.
Content: 1 s-word, 1 f-word. Jenna is almost raped (pg. 34-35), but the scene is interrupted long before it gets far (the dude doesn't even get his or her trousers unbuttoned). Bren and Jenna cuddle and kiss quite a bit, but Jenna keeps their cuddles from going any further, and Bren respects her wishes.
Conclusion: As Loki carefully lays his trap, Jenna is faced with some very difficult decisions, and either choice she makes could end in her and Bren's separation forever - or the earth's total destruction. For Loki will stop at nothing to get what he's come for; failure for him will come at a very high price. Where Winter Fire began sedately, the climax is anything but. I was very near on the edge of my seat, quite uncertain how things would turn out. And the conclusion did come as a surprise, nicely setting up the book's sequel at the same time without creating a killer cliffhanger. I'm not normally a fan of paranormal romances, but Winter Fire was an enjoyable and quick read, perfect for the weekend or a few hours at the coffee shop. With likable characters and a great climax, it delivered in areas that most paranormal romances don't.
Recommended Audience: Girl-read, fifteen-and-up, good for Readers who are looking for a paranormal romance that has likable characters, a non-aggravating romance (and no love triangles!), and a plot that does speed up as the story progresses.(less)
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I'm not a huge fan of it, simply because there isn't really anything about it that catches my attention. The title definitely...moreCover Blurb: Yes or No? I'm not a huge fan of it, simply because there isn't really anything about it that catches my attention. The title definitely caught my attention, but in the wrong way. When I first saw this book, I thought it might be a YA version of Fifty Shades of Gray. World War Two didn't even enter my mind.
Characters: While there are plenty of characters that I attached to, I would definitely say that this is a fact-driven story. Lina has an innocent and caring personality, even though she struggles to love and forgive the enemy like her mother does. I never thought Lina an uncaring person. The other people who populate the story are all equally memorable - not by name, but by certain ticks or events that happen specifically to them and forever define their characters. So while like me you may struggle to recall so-and-so's actual name, you will remember the character and what made him/her memorable.
The Romance: Even amid the turmoil of being ripped from home and thrown into a brutal labor camp, Lina finds a guy to fall in love with. Enter Andrius - a young man that I immediately developed a character crush for. He looks after Lina's family in the labor camp, smuggling extra food and whatever else he can to ease their harsh new life. I even managed to forgive him ripping a few pages out of a book, though it certainly took me a while. ;-) Because Between Shades of Gray is fact-driven, not a whole lot of time is spent on the romance. It's sweet, it's inevitable, and it's the exact sort of romance that I like: it's there, but not invasive.
Plot: The official synopsis sums the story up pretty nicely. There isn't a whole lot of a "from Point A to Point B" plot. It focuses on the sort of things persecuted Lithuanians and other victims of Soviet Communist rule endured. This isn't an escape story or even a spy story; it's a well-researched, emotional journey through one of history's most tragic and horrible events - an event many people sadly know nothing about. It explores what life was like in the labor camps and the indignities the Baltic peoples suffered. There is no central villain, no main goal (other than staying alive); it's a very linear, very personal story full of emotion.
Believability: The Author has done a lot of research, and while I did know about the awful things the Communists did the Baltic nations, there were facts the Author presented in this book that I didn't even know, though I wasn't surprised.
Writing Style: First person, past tense. The first-person narration made the story that much more emotional, that much more personal. While Lina doesn't focus too much on her own personal feelings, her blunt narration of what's going on brings a stark reality to the story. The Author portrays brutal treatment without going into excessive detail. Nor does she shy away from the facts; she states what happens in simple, blunt words, and it has an effect that no amount of gory detail would accomplish.
Content: Women being forced into pleasuring the guards at the labor camp is alluded to, but there are never any actual details.
Conclusion: With how the story was going, I anticipated a truly depressing end. And while it's not exactly roses and sunshine, it does have a positive and hopeful note. It's also very abrupt in its conclusion, but it somehow fit. Between Shades of Gray was a beautiful and brutal read. The Author doesn't sugarcoat anything, but she also populates her story with strong characters who fight as hard as they possibly can to retain their humanity and their right to live. It's heartbreaking and inspiring. It's also a real eye-opener to a forgotten bit of Communist history. Read this with tissues on hand.
Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up; adults will enjoy this as much as teens, if not more. Great for historical fiction fans!(less)
My copy of DiSemblance was given to me by the Author through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is m...moreMy copy of DiSemblance was given to me by the Author through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is my full and honest opinion.
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? My opinion of the cover art is somewhere in between. I like the whole descending mirrors and I don't even mind the character impersonator reflections. But there's almost something about the whole thing that kind of makes it feel bland. It just catches my interest, but only just.
Characters: I didn't dislike any of the characters, though my first impression of Isaac - Jason's brother - wasn't exactly favorable. There was something about Isaac that struck me as being a little mentally unstable. The sort of mentally unstable that can lead to becoming the villain in a story, not "he seems a little slow" mentally unstable. I re-read the part where Isaac is first introduced, to see if my impression changed after reading the book, and it didn't, even though I'm pretty sure that that's not the impression we Readers are supposed to get. Maybe it's because when we first meet Isaac he essentially traps Jason in the hologram room and puts him in the Sahara. Maybe it's because Isaac has been spying on Boston, their next-door female neighbor, and is constructing a holographic imagine of her. Just a bit weird and creepy, right? Or it's possible that it's just me, and that no one else will feel that way about Isaac, but that is how I felt about him and quite honestly, I still don't entirely trust Isaac. I don't really know why; I just don't. The other characters - Jason especially - didn't really make an impression me either way. They weren't cardboard; Jason had a very believable personality that made it easy for me to imagine meeting him in real life, and Boston was not nearly as useless and annoying as I first thought she might be upon reading the synopsis. But I personally didn't become all that emotionally attached to them, and that's just because I don't connect to "every day normal girl/guy" characters. Some Readers will find it very easy to like and understand Jason; others won't. I tried very hard to connect with Bruce, the police detective, but I couldn't see past his NCIS cop personality. There was also the fact that he had no personal struggles that I could relate to, either. Bruce's biggest struggle is balancing his work with his marriage life, and as a decidedly single 21-year-old, I couldn't connect with that.
The Romance: Jason and Boston have it for each other, naturally, but amazingly the romance actually isn't all that annoying. It's a bit rushed, but the book doesn't focus on it too much, and neither Jason nor Boston became utterly ridiculous around one another.
Plot: Jason's dad is a genius inventor, having built a real life - and working - version of the holodeck in Star Trek. People can enter it either physically or mentally and experience virtual reality like never before. But Jason's dad is super paranoid that someone will try and steal his invention, and so he has isolated him and his sons entirely from the world. Living in a house surrounded by the best security systems to ever be built, Jason isn't allowed to date, have friends outside of the family, and has never gone to a public or private school. Not that he's needed one; he was able to learn everything he needed at home, on the Internet, or with the holodeck. But when Jason's father is murdered and then implicated as the Comfort Killer - a serial killer who's been murdering terminally ill patients - Jason's world comes crashing down. He's forced to destroy his father's work and flee with his brother Isaac and the girl next door, Boston. Jason tries to discover who framed - and killed - his father and why, all with Detective Bruce Durante hot on his heels - and the person who might be responsible for everything that's happening to him. While I did not connect with the characters, the plot kept me engaged, which makes this book - in my eyes - more plot-driven than character-driven. But my opinion of the plot - or at least it's presentation - is as divided as my opinion of the cover art. The story itself is interesting. We have a serial killer who has framed the protagonist's dad for his crimes, and then killed him. And we have three teens on the run from the police and some mysterious person determined to catch and possibly murder them. Part of the story's revelations are told through Bruce's investigation. His superiors are convinced Jason has something to do with the murders, while Bruce is certain that there's much more to the whole thing than meets the eye. The problem I had with Bruce's chapters were 1)I got tired of reading about his marital problems, and 2)I couldn't shake the TV cop show feel, which caused the whole thing to feel cliche and a little cheap. And that, in turn, rather irritated me, because it wasn't cheap! The plot, as a whole, is interesting. There were lots of "what the heck" moments, which was both a good and bad reaction, and lots of good chase scenes. The Comfort Killer was an intriguing serial killer with a unique style (unless it's been done on a TV show, which is possible; I actually don't watch that may TV cop shows, so it felt unique to me). But there were times when the plot also got really confusing. At some point in the story, Jason is captured by the villains who are responsible for framing his dad, and then suddenly Jason is hallucinating. And then he's in a hospital, people are telling him that his brother and Boston died in a car crash, that he's mentally unstable, and then he's in a high speed car chase, and then the car is overturned and blows up, and then he's back at his house and . . . . Now it all does get explained in the end, and I knew what was going on about halfway through, but I still found it to be extremely confusing, to a point that often left my head spinning. So the presentation wasn't the best; I think the Author could have made things more clear while still keeping the "twist" secret.
Believability: Not wholly applicable.
Writing Style: Third person, past tense. I did like that the Author changed the font every time Jason or someone else was in the holodeck; it helped clarify what was real and what wasn't. The writing style for the most part was fine, though it was at times difficult to follow (as stated previously).
Conclusion: The plot stopped being confusing once the climax came about, because things are explained and become coherent. There were a couple of aspects that seemed a little too simple for me (view spoiler)[releasing the people from the holodeck by just making them realize they were dead seemed a bit too smooth, and Bruce just taking Jason and Isaac in like that too simple. There would be some legal complications (hide spoiler)], but I accepted them easily enough. So while DiSemblance did not strike a chord with me when it comes to characters, and the presentation was very difficult to follow at times, I did enjoy the plot itself. It was exciting, intriguing, and coupled the crime genre with science fiction in a very fun way.
Recommended Audience: Guy-read, sixteen-and-up, great for science fiction mystery fans.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My copy of Finding Angel was given to me by the Author through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is...moreMy copy of Finding Angel was given to me by the Author through Goodreads First Reads giveaway. I was not obligated to write a positive review. This is my full and honest opinion.
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes, I do like it. It's simple yet intriguing - and I love lockets. :-) While it's not exactly indicative of a fantasy novel (I actually thought it was some inspirational tween story when I first saw it), there still is something attention-grabbing about it, and once one reads the story, one can definitely see the "fantasy" in the cover art.
Characters: Despite her name, I really liked Angel as a protagonist. She was curious and not overly emotional. She wasn't constantly flying off the handle at Gregor for not immediately telling her everything, and when she did get angry, for the most part she kept it to herself. Perhaps Angel was a little too quick to accept everything that was happening to her, but given that all her life she had had a sort of "premonition" - a feeling - that things weren't all that they seemed, it was relatively easy to believe that she would come to terms with her new life faster than most people. The only real thing that bothered me was how readily she left her foster family behind, knowing that she may never see them again. I understood her eagerness to find her real parents and to learn about her forgotten past, but she was close to her foster family; maybe she could have shown just a bit more turmoil over her choice? My opinion on Gregor was on and off throughout the book. Overall, I liked him, especially since he's too old to become a romantic interest for Angel, and their relationship settles into brother-sister affection. Gregor was kind and patient and very helpful. But as the story progressed, his temper grew short, and he started getting angry at Angel for no reason. Oh, I understood perfectly well why he was always so upset - I wouldn't expect him to be otherwise, given the circumstances. But he shouldn't have taken it out on Angel, nor should he have dismissed Angel's theory on the Prophecy so swiftly. Still, what's a good character without their flaws, right? In general, Gregor was awesome and I never disliked him, even when he was being a pill. Now for the villains. While Dawric wasn't a "pure awesome" quality villain (few are; villains have to work hard to make it into that category), he worked for Finding Angel. Power hungry, manipulative, and maybe just a bit like Voldemort (in the fact that everyone is convinced he can never return to Toch, when in fact that's exactly what's happened), he has enough cold ambition to be a guy I wouldn't want to meet.
The Romance: Gregor is in love with an Elfin girl, and I admit that I became rather invested in their emotional turmoil. Gregor and Siophra love each other dearly and want to get married, but Siophra's father won't allow it. This is probably my favorite kind of "love against impossible odds" scenario, right next to "our countries are at war." And the Author pulls it off very well.
Plot: Angel can't remember her life from before she was taken in by the Masons, when she was six. All she has is a beautiful silver locket on a charm bracelet, along with five silver letters, which is where she got her name. All her life, though, Angel has been fascinated with fantasy worlds - art and literature and mythology. And though she loves her foster family dearly, she dreams of being in one of those novels herself. When Angel's brother Zack finds a curious beetle and she goes to the library to look it up, she meets the mysterious Gregor, and before Angel knows it, her entire life is turned upside down. Gregor takes Angel to Toch Island - a magical British Isle closed off from the rest of the world because technology interferes with magic. There, Angel remembers her past and realizes her special powers - and discovers that she might be part of an ancient Prophecy. And with Angel's return to Toch Island, an old enemy who once tried to kill her - and was responsible for her escape into the real world - may have returned to finish the job. At first Finding Angel takes a little while to get into the Prophecy and the return of Dawric. For a while, Angel is busy learning how to use magic and her own special Talent - a specific magical ability that everyone is born with. Gregor's is opening portals through trees, and Angel's is an ability to find things no matter where or how far away they are. Hers is a rare Talent, and one that Dawric is desperate to have for himself. But the book doesn't feel slow, because the Author presents the Reader with a fascinating and engaging world. Somewhat reminiscent of J. K. Rowling's universe, Toch Island is a charming and exciting place, with strange creatures, adorable dragons (I really want a pet dragon now!), exotic plants, and bizarre animals. The magic rules even make a bit of sense! At least, as much as "magic rules" can. The Author tries to inject a bit of scientific law, and it somehow works. Once the Prophecy comes into play, events pick up, though not really until the climax. But it never gets boring; that is a word I would not apply to this book. Maybe some Readers will get tired of the pace, but I was all right with it. The world and characters kept me engaged.
Believability: Not applicable.
Writing Style: Third person, past tense. The style was very pleasant, with pretty descriptions, but not an excess of unnecessary detail. I found it to be very relaxing, and relaxing reads are always nice.
Conclusion: As events pass, Angel becomes more and more certain that the ancient Elfin Prophecy is indeed coming true, and they are running out of time before Dawric can be stopped. I'll admit, the Author pulled some fast ones on me. There were a few major twists that I was not wholly expecting. The conclusion of Siophra and Gregor's romance was surprising, as well as who the real villains were, and the very climax itself. The arrival of Angel's parents was rather sudden, but didn't detract from the overall ending. Finding Angel is one of those fantasy reads that is great for the weekend, but also shows a lot of promise as the series progresses. The Author has set up a world that I am eager to learn more about, and a world which she can expand as much as she wants. I found it very easy to care about her characters, and I look forward to reading more of their adventures.
Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, thirteen-and-up, great for Harry Potter and fantasy fans.(less)
Cover Blurb: Yes or No? With the scope zeroing in on a fleeing figure, this screams teen spy novel, and while I have yet to find a series as good as A...moreCover Blurb: Yes or No? With the scope zeroing in on a fleeing figure, this screams teen spy novel, and while I have yet to find a series as good as Alex Rider, I still enjoy teen spy novels. The cover of Boy Nobody is exciting and very indicative of the genre, so yes, I like it.
Characters: Boy Nobody - or Benjamin, as he's known for his current mission - is no Alex Rider, that's true enough. Alex Rider was a really nice and decent kid who wanted to do what was right, and was entirely forced into his circumstances. "Benjamin" isn't too different in the fact that he, too, was forced into his circumstances, and while he makes a living being an assassin, doing what's right is a continuous battle for him in this book. But I wouldn't exactly call him a decent young man. He sleeps with girls, even when it isn't part of his cover, and he bordered on being too flawed to be a good protagonist. That said, there was something about "Benjamin" that I did kind of like. He was so very matter-of-fact about his job as an assassin, he was good at what he did - very good, - and while his emotions start to get in the way of things in Boy Nobody, he generally isn't emotional. He also has a rather fun sense of humor and can hold his own in a fight; in fact, he literally kicks butt. So while not a favorite like Alex Rider, I didn't really dislike him, either, and I enjoyed his character growth. All of the characters, though, I really didn't care about at all. Sam was too much work emotionally, Erika was a slut, and Howard was actually too much of a nerd. He amused me at times and I intensely disliked the big jerks who beat him up, but I didn't really attach to Howard in general.
The Romance: While "Benjamin" begins to grow close to Sam in a way that could potentially hinder his assignment, I wouldn't say that the romance was especially annoying or even especially prominent. It's there and it does play a key role, but it never felt like it was in my face.
Plot: As far as society in concerned, "Benjamin" doesn't exist. He's a kid who can take on any role, any name, any occupation wherever and whenever he wants. The day his parents died and he came to work for the Program, he ceased to exist. And it's the perfect situation to get close to important people's kids, so he can eliminate them and never have the murder traced. That's Boy Nobody's job: integrate himself into a school, get close to his target's kid, eliminate his target (who are usually traitors to the US in some fashion), and leave. It's a lonely life, but Boy Nobody is used to it. Until he gets a new assignment. His target? New York City's mayor. He's to befriend the mayor outspoken daughter, who is also emotionally traumatized from her mother's death, and kill the mayor. The difference, though, between this assignment and others is he only has 5 days to complete it. Disguised as a rich kid named Benjamin, Boy Nobody doesn't expect it to be too hard of a job. But what he doesn't count on is the mayor's friendly manner and Sam's relateable loss to stir up memories and emotions that he had long since buried. Suddenly, this isn't just about eliminating a potential traitor to the United States; it's about ripping another hole in an already-damaged family. My biggest question throughout this entire book was: why, out of all the missions, is this the one that sets "Benjamin" off? He's been at this assassination job for two years. This can't be the first time he's met a nice father or a family that suffers from great loss. Why is it this mission that rattles him so thoroughly? Other than that, I found the plot to be enjoyable. Both character-driven and plot-driven, this is a very fast read and a surprisingly emotional one. While I didn't connect with any of the characters, and therefore didn't really care about anyone, there are still a lot of emotions running through it. But there also isn't a lack of action and suspense; hand-to-hand fights, chases, guns, and the like. All very exciting. But it also isn't the story's main focus. Here is a spy novel that takes the time to develop its characters (something that Alex Rider didn't always do).
Believability: Nothing of which to complain.
Writing Style: First person, present tense. I didn't particularly care for the style. There were a lot of really short and choppy sentences, which is very common in action novels.
Content: 8 s-words, 1 g--damn, 1 f-word.
Conclusion: The other thing that bothered me was how long it took "Benjamin" to solve who "the Presence" was. The Presence is what "Benjamin" called an unidentified person that shadowed him during the mission. "Benjamin" never got a clear look at him, but always knew when he was there. But as soon as the Author began to drop hints about who the Presence could be, I knew who it was. But it took "Benjamin" well over half of the book to figure it out. He's a good assassin, but not a very good detective, I guess. Boy Nobody was very interesting, with a somewhat unique concept. It was entertaining and quick. Definitely a great weekend read.
Recommended Audience: Guy-read (and girl-read, of course, for those girls who like spy novels), seventeen-and-up, great for fans of spy and action novels.(less)