I got this for my birthday from one of my friends who hadn't read it but had seen it at Indigo and thought I might like it. As I opened it, another onI got this for my birthday from one of my friends who hadn't read it but had seen it at Indigo and thought I might like it. As I opened it, another one of my friends panicked, telling me that I simply had to read Kelley Armstrong's other series first before reading this one. Since this book looked far more interesting than the other series, I decided just to give this one a go. Maybe I'm missing something, but this book definitely didn't feel like it needed another series to back it up. It was very much its own story. Kelley's books never intrigued me enough to pick one up, and I would never have chosen this for myself, but all in all, it was a rather enjoyable and quick read.
This is one of those books where there is an equal amount of things I liked about it to make up for what I didn't like about it.
The culture incorporated was great. The native aspects like the birth-mark, legends and tattoos were interesting, as were the wildlife populating the novel. For a paranormal romance novel, it was surprisingly new and refreshing. Starting it you didn't know exactly what it would be about, and it was great to see a new paranormal twist. The setting was fantastic. Finally a teen book set in Canada! Though I'm Canadian, I've never been to BC, but two of my best friends are from there and it has always fascinated me. This is real wilderness, not the pathetic wannabe wilderness I have at home, but the sprawling, massive, thousands of acres of untouched forests wilderness that is very much Canadian. The small town concept is nothing new, but it was interesting to read about such a small town. 200 people. And I complain I live in a tiny town. I have nothing on Maya.
Despite loving the setting, it felt very much Twilight. Shape-shifting natives, small town on the Pacific Coast in the middle of the forest, brooding hot bad boy with a dark secret, protective boy best friend, sound familiar? Though this book did have one edge over Twilight; a great heroine. Maya definitely was the superior heroine over Bella, much stronger, smarter, and with real interests. Maya felt much more real than Bella, more of typical teen girl who (yay) loves animals. Daniel was my favourite character and I wished Maya would realize he was the one she should be with, since it was clear he liked her. He was sweet and protective and simply a great friend. I didn't like Rafe quite as much, the bad boy act bugged me, and even the deeper, hidden Rafe wasn't my definition of swoon-worthy. Maya shouldn't have fallen for him like she did, after knowing he was a player. It didn't make her look smart at all.
One thing that the book did get right, however, was the teens. They felt real, and Kelley got the dating and friend stuff just right. Another thing was how well she built up a great mystery. I tore through the pages eager to find the answers to all the different questions, wondering how so many threads were going to be weaved into one master mystery. The book was also much darker than I expected, with deaths and murders and even some gruesome and intense scenes.
Unfortunately, there were two main issues with the book. One, was that the mystery started out great but got absolutely nowhere. A question or two were answered, but almost everything else was left open for future books. This may work trying to get readers to continue on with the series, dying to know what would happen next, but for me, it simply annoyed me extremely. There were far too many loose threads and unanswered questions, including new questions added right up until the very end. I understand the appeal of a cliffhanger, but at least wrap up what you've started before tossing in more and more mysteries, making the story confusing and lessening the suspense of the important mysteries. The climax didn't build up well, and wasn't particularly climatic at all.
My second problem was the writing. Simple is to put it lightly, since the writing in the story was anything but lyrically beautiful or descriptive. Living in such a gorgeous part of the world, it would have added to the story if Maya had described her town and the surrounding woods with a little more passion. The writing was rather wooden and to the point, which is fine, but didn't add anything to the story.
All in all, it was enjoyable light entertainment, nothing memorable or special, but not groan-worthy. It could have been better, but it did excel in keeping me entertained. 3 stars....more
I'm going to break my review down into the aspects of what in my mind are a good story:
Characters: I liked the characters and they're what really soldI'm going to break my review down into the aspects of what in my mind are a good story:
Characters: I liked the characters and they're what really sold the story for me. The main characters are very developed and interesting, especially Perry and Talon who were my favorites.
Plot: The plot was ok. I loved some aspects of it, and it seemed to move well at first, but my main problem was that it never really mounted into any sort of climax, it just kept flowing steadily throughout the entire book.
Action/ Adventure: The action was good and fast-paced. The cannibals were just the right level of creepy and the Aether storms were a great action scenes without an enemy you can fight. The powers were great since the heroes had powers which let them have some special ability without being 'unbeatable' which is the worst (think sparkly vampires).
Romance: The romance was nice in one way and not so nice in another. It was great to see characters whose romance grew slowly instead of bam! insta-love! On the other hand, I didn't feel their connection as strongly as I wanted to, they didn't seem the best match in my opinion.
Writing style: The writing style was a huge low for me. It's very wooden, choppy and never mounts to anything lyrical or well described. Sentences are always cut off instead of using commas and the author had a tendency to tell and not show.
POV: Third person perspectives are never my favorite (despite the fact that my fave book of all time pulls it off flawlessly) since you don't get deep enough into the characters thoughts and senses. This book does it decently, and I managed to understand the characters but never felt like I actually was the characters, feeling their pain and suffering, their joy and love.
Plot twists: Decent amount of twists and surprises though no jaw dropping revelations or events that make you absolutely need to continue.
Page-turning ability: This is by no means an addicting page turner but it is a fast and engaging read where you will have a hard time putting it down.
Locations: The location was pretty good especially the Realms which I loved.
Names: This is stupid, but names matter to me a lot. I had hoped for a greater separation between Dweller names and Outsider names but that lacked a little. The Outsider names tended (not always) to be shorter (or with short nicknames), more abrupt and more nature-oriented like Peregrine (falcon), Talon, Brooke, Roar, etc... I love the name Perry but I have mixed feelings as to whether it suited this particular Perry. When I think Perry, I think a secret undercover agent/ adorable pet platypus with a trademark growling sound and a little hat perched on his head. And when I think Peregrine, I think an equally adorable little hobbit named Pippin. Neither of those descriptions match the savage yet gentle hero in a teen-dystopian.
Dystopian/ Fantasy/ Sci-fi/ Paranormal/ Mystery aspect: This is the first dystopian society where I would have absolutely loved to live in. The realms sound so much fun (and yes, I know the point is that real is better, but who wouldn't want to feel like they're flying, visit anywhere in the world with a single thought or change your hair a different colour than back again?). The dystopian society isn't really the focus of this novel, and it isn't even a dystopian novel really. It's more of a fantasy/sci-fi blend which isn't usually a good combo, but works ok in this novel. Not perfectly, but not cringe-worthy.
Similarity to other books/ Uniqueness: People have compared it to Blood Red Road, which I have not read since the writing style turned me off, so I can't say how it compares. It does remind me however of Graceling, (which I despised) in the aspects of the senses, the journey, the way the romance builded, and the way the story never came to a proper climax. It is however, far superior over Graceling in many other aspects. It's a pretty unique book, not much like it out there. Update: I've now read Blood Red Road which I enjoyed more than this book, and I found that though there were some similarities, in the end they were very different kinds of books.
Title: Love this title! One of the reasons I chose this book in the first place!
Cover: Again, love this cover and the use of colour, it perfectly complements the novel inside.
Overall: 3.5 stars for being interesting but not amazing....more