Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book
Rate this book
Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets...

For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.

Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate's mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate's body, and love might end before it even begins.

240 pages, ebook

First published December 9, 2014

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Shawntelle Madison

44 books413 followers
Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
37 (25%)
4 stars
57 (39%)
3 stars
32 (22%)
2 stars
15 (10%)
1 star
2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 90 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,560 reviews5,818 followers
December 25, 2014
This book just was not for me. I couldn't get on the kool-aid train.

Under Tate's skin and in her mind was a very boring place for me. The inner dialogue just never clicked into place. So many questions that I had just didn't get answered fast enough. I HAS no patience. I want all the answers!
This book didn't need any stinking romance. Why throw in romance to every young adult book? Why are the resistance dumb as a bag of rocks?
Why am I so nosey?

It is a good premise for a book and this author doesn't write badly. I just didn't connect with the main character. I may just be a bitch.

I'm giving it 2 stars because the writing didn't suck and that cover is awesome.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,573 reviews1,462 followers
December 9, 2014
I really enjoyed this book and it is available today

4.5 Get Out of My Head Stars

If you are like me you have started some # of dystopias excitedly thinking that they will be about a post-apocalyptic future filled with a great story and world building only to find out that it is a love triangle thinly veiled in an underdeveloped world OR it is basically a romance filled with insta-love and inner dialogue about the ever changing color and dilation level of the love interests eyes OR it is about some special snowflake girl/boy who learns they have enormous power and then easily defeats there nemesis after some inner turmoil of accepting their power. For all of you readers who have suffered through those dystopias like me I want to you meet TATE.

Tate doesn’t have a superpower, she isn’t really special in any usual quantifiable way, she isn’t the most beautiful girl in the land (she actually has a scar on her lip) and she doesn’t have a tragic past. She has grown up poor but utterly loved by her family. In fact most of her thoughts about the future, before being chosen by the guild, are of what profession she can chose to be able to help her family financially. The only thing we find that is truly special about Tate is her will to fight to survive.

Tate has been chosen by the guild to become a Water Bearer, a position so shrouded in mystery that no one outside the guild seems to know exactly what that entails. Tate finds out the hard way when she starts hearing a voice in her head and knows the smile she just saw in the mirror is not her own. She must fight with someone else for control of her body and no one has won that battle before.
To me, war used to be merely words in books. I read about fighting and death, but I had no context. Living with General Dagon in my head had taught me that war wasn’t powerful words used to convey conflict, but it was something else far more frightening, far more deadly. I was an unwilling passenger with the General to the battlefield.

Tate fights with him every day just to stay conscious and have any control of her own body. They are so different and he has conquered many hosts over the years. The General might have the advantage in this fight. Him being in her head is degrading and his favorite game is to lull her into thinking she is safe only to show up again when she least expects it.
I clasped my left hand over my mouth. The sensation was nauseating. The way he used me was such a violation of my free will that I couldn’t stomach the idea of letting him speak again.

What I really liked about this book:

Tate is never over the top. She is a normal teenage girl caught in a horrible situation. She is a little shy and unsure of herself but she is also strong. Not in a physical sense but in resolve and character, she never gets super human strength or can take over the general’s experiences to be effective in combat or anything like that. The only thing that she can rely on to save her from the General is her will and her brain. Thank you. You do not need to have a superpower to be important in a story.

Tate grew up loved so she values family and people over things. She is devoted to those she loves and will do whatever is necessary to protect her family even if it costs her.

I love that the Shawntelle Madison used a real book The Art of War to help teach Tate tactics and help her to find ways to combat the General. Madison changed the title and a few of the words to fit better into her story but the ideas were the same.
Know thyself and thy enemy. If you do, you should not fear any battle you encounter with them. If you only know yourself, for every battle you have won, you have also lost. If you do not know yourself or your foe, you will suffer defeat every single time.

There is a smidgen of romance, but just a smidgen, enough to keep the hopeless romantic in me at bay. There are no declarations of undying love or I saw him across the room and my knees buckled nothing too cheesy. There are two people working toward a common goal and they happen to have a few feelings for each other over time. It was simple sweet and just enough to help Tate by knowing she wasn’t alone, there are people who wanted to help her.

I enjoyed the premise of the story. One of my biggest fears is that my mind will go and I won’t have control of my body. It would be so much worse to be a passenger along for the ride while someone makes decisions for me that I would never agree to. Worse still is blacking out and waking up not knowing what my body did while I wasn’t there. It built up a delicious tension that made my stomach knot.

The technology behind how they prepared the water bearers for the transfer of consciousness and how that came about took something very real in nature and tweaked it a bit. It was an interesting foundation that I hope the author builds on in following books. She gave just enough information to peak my interest and not so much information that I got bored with it or tried to pick the science apart.

For me this was a great beginning to a series. There is an introduction to the world with a bit of backstory and you are shown what life is like currently. The problems with the current society are slowly introduced and there was no info-dumping. Right now there is a really good foundation to build the rest of the series on and I’m excited to see what will happen next.

A few of my fears:

There were some things that are touched on in the book but left a little vague. This is the first book though so I hope in next books these are fleshed out a little more.

I have a love/hate thing happening with dystopias currently in that sometimes they start out really strong and then by the third book they crash and burn. So that is always my fear with any new dystopian I read since there have only been a few that I have ♥♥♥ed until the very end. BUT this isn’t Shawntelle Madison’s first rodeo. She has completed a trilogy before so I’m really hopeful that like Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series she can complete a really strong story all the way through.


I found this an easy story to fall into with good pacing and interesting characters. Tate is my Girl and I will gladly be following her on the rest of the journey.

Thank you to Crushstar Multimedia LLC via Netgalley for the arc

Profile Image for Anne.
3,786 reviews69k followers
December 18, 2014
2.5 stars

I wanted to love this one, but I just couldn't get into it.
The gist of the story is that in this dystopian world a group of people referred to as the Guild basically run everything.
Water Bearers are people who are 'chosen' as their servants through a draft-like screening process. If you get chosen, your family gets taken care of, and you supposedly live a relatively luxurious life.
Conspiracy! Conspiracy!
Yes, yes...of course there is.

Without spoiling too much, whether or not you like this story is going to come down to whether or not you like Tate, and her inner monologue.
I didn't.
I found her dull, uninteresting, and somewhat annoying.
There's a romance between her and the General's Blade Dude, but there was seemingly no reason behind their feelings toward each other. Or at least none that I could see.
They are both in a situation that they don't like.
And they are both THERE together.
Eh. I just wasn't feeling it.

I also found the rebels to be a bit idiotic.

There were several things they could have done to weaken or even cripple the Guild, and I was a little surprised that nobody mentioned it.
At the very least, I thought it should have been discussed.

On a positive note, as I was reading this, I had no idea it was a self-published title.
Kudos to the author for doing such a good job! I love it when indie authors manage to look as glossy and well-edited as the authors from a big publishing house!
And while I'm at it, I have to give a standing ovation for that beautiful cover!
Several of my friends did love this book, so don't be afraid to give it a shot if it looks like something that would interest you.

I received an digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,633 reviews448 followers
February 9, 2015
12/9/14 - Now Available!

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from the author via Net Galley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

4.5 Stars!

I picked this book up and was immediately hooked. It is a very good thing that I did not have any plans on the day I started this book because this was the kind of book that is almost impossible to put down. This book first came to my attention on Goodreads where I noticed it was getting great reviews so I immediately requested a copy from Net Galley. I avoided reading any reviews that gave away any part of the plot and I am so glad that I did because this book really surprised me with the direction it took.

I loved the characters. Tate Sullivan is a tough 16 year old girl. She is in no way helpless and is willing to fight when necessary. She has not lead a life of privilege prior to being thrust into the world of the Guild. Where other girls would be dazzled by fancy dresses and servants, Tate misses her family and her previous life. Her cousin, Zoe, whose life has taken an almost identical path as Tate's, is equally tough while other girls, like Eva, are eager to enter the world of the Guild.

I was so happy to read a Young Adult novel that did not have a major focus on romance. There is just a bit of romance in this book. I really wish that the romance was not a part of this story. I actually think that it took a bit away from the main plot. I honestly do not believe that Tate would have been worried about any romantic feelings in the situation she is in - just my opinion. The bit of romance is really what stopped this book from being a 5 star read for me but it is really so minor in the total story that I think most readers will not be bothered by it at all.

I recommend this book to everybody. I suspect that this story can easily be the next big thing. I was only halfway through this book when I told my 14 year old that she needed to read this one. I really think that this book is one that can appeal to a very wide audience. This is the first book by Shawntelle Madison that I have had a chance to read. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,827 reviews5,503 followers
December 14, 2014
Close, but no cigar.

In the sea of young adult dystopian books out there, I think this one really stands out. The concept is truly fabulous and wholly original. I've not read anything like it in this genre. Though it isn't hard to suss out what is going to happen after the first few chapters, and the blurb gives it all away, I think it is more exciting if the details of the plot are left to a surprise.

For the first 30% of the book, I was fully engaged. Honestly, it is creepy as hell, and I was good freaked out. I was preparing for this to be a 4 or 5 star read... then things started going a little wonky.

First of all, I'm just going to throw this out there: Not all books are made to be a romance. I HATED the romantic aspect of this story. What a contrived, circumstantial paring Tate and Quinn were. Just strange. I would have much rather this book have no romance at all, or have the romance come in book 2. The covert kissing and holding hands when these two have nothing in common and don't talk at all was just ridiculous to me.

I also thought that resistance was dumb as rocks. Seriously, rocks. Why on earth would you tell Tate anything when you know that Dagon could be listening at any time. He had moments when he was paying attention and Tate didn't realize, why not when she was with the resistance or when she was talking to her servant girls?

My biggest issue with the book was how underdeveloped the world-building was. What happens to the people who don't get bid on? Do they get killed? Become other servants? Why would the Guild like stronger people? Doesn't that seem risky? Because we know things can go haywire, because of Quinn's story. And that side plot with Quinn's brother? Weird.

It all just became the same tired YA dystopian stuff that I've read before. What was a really interesting and unique concept was totally wasted. I wanted more danger, more creepiness, more consequences, more difficulty, and LESS ROMANCE (and I never thought I'd be saying that!).

Maybe I'll have better luck with my next one in this genre.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Marga .
290 reviews323 followers
December 14, 2014
Actual Rating: 3.5/5 stars

And I'm rounding it up because of this book's ORIGINALITY.

WOW. This one was freaking amazing! I wasn't really into this at the first 25% of the book but afterwards...just.. OMG.

The blurb made this book sounds mostly about a romance but NO. The plot is fantastic. Holy craaap. My heart is beating so fast. I really liked it!

I will not go into the plot because I might spoil it for you guys but the plot was the sure WINNER here.

The characters:

Tate. She's a determined girl, I'll give her that. She wouldn't go down without a fight. I giggle when she's acting like the general. I mean, it's funny. Her inner dialogue rocks sometimes.

Quinn. Or shall we say, 'Master of Blades' is 'meh' for me. Or maybe it's just because this book didn't really work because of the romance aspect but because of the plot's brilliance? Basically, he's a knight in shining armor just.. not shiny enough, I guess. XD I wish we could see him more on the next book.

General. HOLY SHIZZZ. Seriously. I, myself, was freaking scared of him. I love a well-built villain. I mean, who doesn't? I was like, 'No NOOO NOOO' when he's coming back. I'm so weird. Anyway, there's goosebumps whenever he's making his presence known.

This book deserves 5+ stars if only for the creativity and storytelling skill of this author. The added romance kind of ruined that, though. The heroine received a few eye rolls from me at some parts of the story. I'm not the biggest fan of their her relationship with Quinn.

Definitely recommended. Just.. don't go into this book if you're particularly looking to read a romance.

**ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchanged of an honest review.**
Profile Image for Anja H..
697 reviews450 followers
August 22, 2019

Despite the lower rating, I wouldn't say this was a bad book, not at all actually!
I loved the imagination the author clearly has. The whole thing with the dystopian world, the Guild, the Water Bearers, it was great!

However, did I mention before that I absolutely hate unnecessary romance in a book? This was a prime example!
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, until Tate fell for Quinn that is. I mean, she wasn't even herself half of the time, how the hell could they be in love?? They didn't even talk much! They were just both in a crappy situation together and decided this must be love.

Received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Kristen.
166 reviews77 followers
January 19, 2015
4/5 Stars
Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Bid on me? My swallow got stuck in my throat. I fought to take in a breath as my chest constricted. “What are you saying?”
“Congratulations are in order, Tate. You’ve passed the test.”

The skinny:
The day of the test is upon her. Tate, a 16 year old girl, will either pass or fail. If she fails this test, she will return to her family and live out her life, if she passes, she will be taken from her family to begin her service as a water bearer. No one knows exactly what a water bearer is, but Tate knows that it involves some sort of service. What no one realizes, is that being a water bearer will require service, but in the most horrific way imaginable.

The review:
I didn’t think I would like this at first. In fact, within the first few pages I thought my eyeballs were going to roll out of my head. Why? The clichés.

Clichés in the first 5%:

-A bunch of 16 year olds need to take a test.
-The test could be potentially life changing.
-Something “surprising’ happens when the main character takes the test.
- If the main character does pass the test she will be taken away from her family never to see them again.

These reasons ^ did not bode well for the rest of the book. YET, very quickly I came to the realization that there was much more to the story than I first thought. My questions started to pile up: why is everyone touching the main character’s hand? What is the purpose of the red credit cards? I could not guess the answer to these questions, and when they were revealed I was left feeling some pretty intense emotions. The seemingly tame story I had been anticipating was consumed by something far more demented and disturbing.



Tate is the main character of the story and she really kicks ass. At certain points in the story I was expecting her to be overcome by the absolute shit she was fighting against.

“All I wanted to do was shrink to the size of a dandelion seed and float away with the wind.”

Although it would have been so easy, and was for many of the other 16 year olds facing the same situation, Tate refused to back down. Even when there was only a shred of hope, Tate kept fighting and plotting. I’m going to be honest; if I were in her situation I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it.

Master Dagon AKA The General:

Master Dagon was such an amazing villain. He was a total bastard with a capital B. I can’t really go into too much detail because I will give away important parts of the plot, but just know he is a creepy, disgusting, demented, ahole of an OLD FART. As a villain he had absolutely no redeeming qualities. More than once I wanted to jump into the book and strangle him.

The dementedness of the plot:

This book really got to me. I mean really. I started to question whether something like this could happen in the future of our world. I started to think about how twisted people can be (including how damn greedy people can be). The feelings that I experienced reminded me of those that I had while reading Unwind. Twisted I tell you, twisted.


I only had one major complaint, besides the clichés at the beginning. I felt as if the “romance” in this book was extremely strange. Without giving too many details away, I don’t know how a relationship was able to form considering what Tate was going through .


This was a pretty thrilling, and surprisingly (despite the beginning) original novel. I will definitely be reading book number two because I need to know what happens to Tate and the other water bearers.

Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews292 followers
January 31, 2015

Finally something fresh from the Dystopia genre. The concept for this story is really cool, I love that this book actually surprised me. I did have a couple concerns, although they were more logistic concerns than any actual dislike of the book.

Okay now after all that bitching it probably seems like I hated this novel but I really didn't! I think my moaning on was just because I liked this book so much, that the little things I didn't look just stood out that much more. Some things that I did enjoy with this book was the world building for one, I though that it was an interesting and believable Dystopian society. I also really liked the villain (or rather I hated him, but that is what makes a good villain!). And last but not least, my favourite part of the story was the moment of“omg what the heck, this is crazy plot twist”. It was really unique, and I can't imagine being forced into that type of situation.....so I guess I should cut the mc some slack.

Overall I do think this is a good book, with the creativity of this author I think that this series will go far.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow Buy *But shit it was 99 cents

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

* Close enough
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
828 reviews3,676 followers
December 1, 2014

Well, well... How can I do justice to that original and alluring book?

First I think I can say without a doubt that the writing is compelling, as it was such a page turner for me - even with the sleepy way I acted the whole week - Last event : falling asleep on my couch and waking up in the middle of the night, believing my boyfriend who said to me it was 7a.m. Yes. I was that tired.

Second I grew fond of these characters : We follow Tate's journey in the Guild, and well, that's difficult to tell you more without spoiling you - really difficult - but let's say she has a hard time staying herself and to see her fight for her believes is truly fascinating and heart-breaking, as slightly creepy her situation is. Because trust me, that's fucking creepy. That kind of horror which brings me chills. Not ghosts. Not vampires. Not even a doll or a clown, and the whole world knows how much I'm afraid of those bulging eyes - What? Aren't you?

No. Just the very kind of monsters I despise the most, the regular ones : those who walk on two legs, you know, humans.

So, Tate. She's not far from the kind of heroines I love the most : strong-minded, courageous, yet relatable because she goes through moments of doubts - and trust me, she does has valid reasons to. Yet she's a fighter, and I'm always incredibly pleased to see that side in a character.

Therefore, do I want more female leads like Tate in the books I read?
Yes, pretty please.

As for the love interest, hummm. 3 words, guys : Master. Of. Blades.

"Die trying?" Wow, he was a piece of work.
"Isn't that a bit harsh, Captain Belfry?"
" That's the reality of your situation. The name's Quinn, by the way."

Whaaaat? Don't you see where I go with that? Come onnnn. Master. Of. Blades. Nope? Is it only me? Naaaaah, I can't believe that. Okay, let's move on.

Quinn is such a mysterious character. Apart from the fact I told you before (master of blades, you know, and no I'm not obsessing here. Nope.), I must admit we spend the major part of the book without learning many information about him. But even if I get it can be taken as a flaw, it never really bothered me because I loved every single apparition of him. He even succeeded in waking me up when I struggled to keep my eyes open. Yes. He had that effect on me.

I sighed. "Still offering me an out? You make a great hero, Quinn."
"All in a day's service."

Plus, I kind of share his vision of the dreadful effect the power has on people, even if well, that's pretty pessimistic : it reminds me of Stello, a classic French book from Alfred de Vigny I studied when I was in college : one of the main character, the "Docteur Noir" - black or dark doctor, explains that in his opinion if we'd choose any person and give him too much power, that person could become a tyrant, no matter how kind he's been at first.

Yes, that's depressing and yes I think it's almost always true.

"He laughed. "You still believe in the human race. I like that about you. But that's not the way the real world works."

Oh, and before I forget : no instalove, no What-is-the-plot-I-don't-care-I-saw-a-cute-boy-let-me-dream-of-his-eyes. Quinn is here, he's interesting, even adorable sometimes, but he never owns the show. Tate does.

Let's talk about the plot : In a word? Captivating. And, yes, that's the only thing you'll get because I strongly believe the book is actually better if you begin it without any clue. So nooo, that's not because I'm lazy. I guess.

Why didn't I give it 5 stars though?
- The lack of world-building. No, that's not right. The lack of world exploration : I might be harsh about it because the plot is wrapped in a way which leaves no room for a world exploration so what I see as a flaw can easily be explained and more than that, justified. But that's a dystopia and in that kind of book I'm willing to discover a new world and I'm not very indulgent with the lack of details, where many readers might not care about it. Yet this is the first book of a trilogy, so I might change my rating in the future if the sequel provides what I missed here.
- I didn't laugh. I know, I knooow, all the books aren't written to make me laugh but still, it stays something I seek out in the books I read and that's definitely a plus this one didn't offer me. How can I explain? In dystopias, and harsh stories in general, I need bubbles of laughter to reduce the pressure. What can I say? Funny comments are one of my main peeves.

With this being said, let me answer to the two most important questions :
Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
Will I read the sequel? What don't you understand in the words "kind of heroines I love" and "Master of Blades"? Huh?

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Sophia Sardothien.
155 reviews524 followers
December 29, 2014
I really wanted to like this book.
I really did, but I just can't.
3 stars because I finished it?
I'm changing it to 2

I don't normally write long review, I tend to keep it short as much as possible because is easier to read and I won't have to think too much. But I got a million reasons why I did not enjoy this book xD

This book is a dystopian novel, AHA YEAH I'm not really the biggest fan of dystopians cus I got some bad experiences. It's like either it's going to be girl - found out she's special tries rebellion or girl - being treated as a slave I'm not trying to be stereotype here but common. Plus the tormenting endings of dystopians.

I picked up this book expecting it to be unique and different. Well when I first started reading it, it was pretty interesting and exciting I really wanna know what is happening with everything.
The world building was really unique but it did not make sense to me, considering there will be a sequel I guess the problems would be solved in the second one. Anyhow I was not captivated by the world the author set up, as it was not nicely explained.

THE FUN OR IDK INTENSE? it only lasted for like a couple pages and then it well downhill all the way. I'm serious, the book started off really decent and nice then it just became plain and boring.

Same as the characters, except the fact that in the beginning the female lead is already boring and dull.
I won't say I hate her
I won't say she's weak
She doesn't even have a personality that defines her, not in the way she's complex in the way she's plain.

Oh HAHAAHA In a point I think I love the villain the most as he is literally the most interesting character in the boring world of boring characters.

Ahh and we got the "handsome" love interest, another dull character that is not worth my time talking about.

With such plain characters, the romance in this book is just boring and forced. It feels like the guy is just using the protagonist all along but no he actually "loves" her. screw it. It feels so fake.
Their relationship was not well developed as the author literally force them to "love" each other.


It feels like INSTA loves. Damn. Most importantly I think that the two characters did not know each other long and much enough to actually fall in love.

Conclusion INSTA LUST ;)

I guess the only thing I did enjoy much in this book is the fluent writing style, it immediately click with me as it was easy to read. However there's a lack of depth in her writings, therefore it did not gave me any strong emotions at all.

Aha overall I don't recommend to read this book, but if you're looking for something a little bit different then maybe give it a shot? XD

p.s I did not intend to offend anyone :)

Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,975 reviews194 followers
November 22, 2014
Thrilling, adventurous, heart breaking and suspenseful.
A young girl, Tate, with dreams of a life filled with college, dating and normalities finds herself living nightmare beyond her imagination. One moment, one touch and everything she is may be lost forever. Her world is so naive to the ways of The Guild, the ruling class, her world is blinded not but stupidity but by concealment and fear. When the most vile of creatures intrudes on her body, her dream is crushed. Tate, is not going to go easily down the path so many have gone before, she opens her eyes and kicks that grey matter into gear. This girl knows there is a way to stop this, she can not let this happen anymore, and she is willing to give up her own life to save others. There are others, does she trust, not completely, but she will have to stick her neck out there to have any chance and hope it's not cut off.
I really didn't know how it would turn out for her. The evil is so disturbing, so invasive and not apologetic. A true power, ancient and knowledgeable with centuries of patience to take down his prey. Watching her fight and get beaten down, lost and broken so many times, was difficult. The author did an excellent job of leaving some doubt in each of the characters personalities. Who does she trust ? Are any of these feelings real or is she being used for something ? I'm still not sure even after finishing the book. I love the wiggle room she left ! What was the real outcome ? We don't know and have to read the next book, which I hope is coming out soon.
Tate may have found love, or not. The romance was a brief moment nothing to secure it in the future. Wiggle room !
Cliffhanger ending, one I have been mulling over for a couple days now. Bravo, Ms. Madison, you have written an excellent story and I am hooked good.
Profile Image for Grace ☾.
30 reviews15 followers
May 1, 2019
This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review by NetGalley.com

"To reach the end, sometimes you must go back to the beginning.

"Under My Skin By Shawntelle Madison is the first book in the Immortality Strain series.

For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.

This book was so good! I couldn't put it down and had to finish it the first night I got it.
I found the premise to be so interesting and unique, YA dystopias tend to become repetitive after a while and I can say this novel felt like a breath of fresh air. The creativity and originality in this novel is rare to come by in the other more recent dystopias so Shawntelle's originality itself was a big reason I was hooked.

It is easy to see how thoroughly thought out the world-building in Under My Skin, and I enjoyed the characters in the novel. I applaud Shawntelle Madison for giving readers some strong-willed YA girl characters! From a feminist perspective, the way Tate always stood her ground and ensured that no one was entitled to her body was amazing to see.

I personally felt the romance wasn't anything exciting, and for such a strong concept the story didn't need it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to see where the rest of the series takes this story!

Profile Image for Allison.
394 reviews80 followers
November 15, 2014
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Add this to your TBRs now because this may be the next big thing.

Give me the next book now!!!!

Under My Skin is definitely one of the most inventive, dynamic, and fast paced dystopian novels I have ever read. The characters are awesome, the world building is great, and it will keep you hooked until the very last page. Is it as good as The Hunger Games or the first installment in the Divergent trilogy? Almost, but not quite. It misses that mark because while I LOVED (x 8 million) this book and think it's a fantastic start to a series that I will pre-order and stand by the mailbox on release day for, it under explains certain elements and seems to only touch on things that should be explored more deeply.

Tate and Quinn's friendship seems to come out of nowhere. I totally disagree with the claims of insta-love, completely, but I think their friendship would have seemed more natural to the reader had the author made the reader more aware of Quinn's presence in the story before he was on Team Tate. She does briefly mention him, but doesn't give the reader the impression that he's to be a main character and this kind of gave me whiplash when he was finally inserted into the story in such a vital way.

A lot of the major "story elements" (this is what I'm going to call them to avoid spoilers) are not explained until almost 80% into the story. This would have been totally fine except we are not given any indication that it's going to be explained at all. Tate never says, "but I don't even know what that is!" or "What's happening to me?! How did this happen?!" She just seems to accept nuclear bomb information about her ordeal without asking any additional questions. She also doesn't seek out any additional knowledge from people around her that she's beginning to trust. So throughout the first 75% of the novel I was thinking that the author just didn't want to do the work to come up with explanations for the major story elements and the reader was supposed to just accept it. I was elated to finally get some info at 80%, but it was a little too late in the story without some prior indication that it was coming.

I loved Tate. She's a nearly perfect female heroine. She's strong, but not overtly so. She's kind, cares about her family, doesn't hate other women for no reason. She's smart and resourceful. She's compassionate. The author did a great job with her characterization. She's the full package. You'll love her too!

Again, this book is absolutely fantastic and the issues I had with it are not enough to keep me from telling every person I know and meet how much I think they should read it. There were so many twists and turns in it (I audibly gasped several times!) that I wanted to read the entire thing in one sitting (damn you, responsibilities!). If you're a fan of the genre (or not), read this book!

Posted to my website as well: Crazy Something Maybe
Profile Image for Melissa.
355 reviews614 followers
December 28, 2014
First off, don't read the blurb. I found it so much more compelling diving into this without having an ounce of an idea of what was to come. I feel the blurb really spoils it for the book.

At first, I thought I hadn't read anything like this before. It was actually a breath of fresh air. As we read more dystopians you can't help but stack them all together because after a while they do tend so sound alike, just written by a different author. So kudos to you Shawntelle Madison.

I was really into this story up until 30-40%. I just realized this wasn't for me. I don't like slow paced books and this was very, very slow paced. There were moments this just dragged on and, ultimately, I felt that about 80% of the book could have been condensed into, like, 50%. I know that doesn't sound like much of a difference but it is once you're reading and trying to get through it.

I also had a problem with the world building. It's not explained enough. I have no feel of why they do the things they do or, at least, how they do the things they do. Who are the Water Bearers? Who are the Guild? How do they help? Why were they established? I was left with more questions as the pages kept turning. I felt it was rather shaky and the fact that it lacked complexity rather irked me.

Let's not forget the romance.It felt like...I can't...Why was there a romance? Why???
For the first time in forever I was rooting for no romance .

I love my romance in dystopians and fantasy but here it just didn't work. Quinn and Tate felt forced and unrealistic. Dry and insipid. When it appeared I was just flabbergasted as to how that came to be. It just appeared out of nowhere and don't be confused, it's not insta-love (which I give another round of applause)-thank God- but it just randomly appears.

What bothered me the most was

Also found on

I always forget to write this...
I received this ebook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm).
629 reviews72 followers
February 19, 2015
Thanks to Netgalley and CrushStar Multimedia LLC for giving me this book to review.

Tate was happy in her small town, with dreams of her own, but all 16 year olds must take the test to see if they are suitable to be a Water Bearer, a servant for a Guild member. Unfortunately Tate is accepted to be a Water Bearer and her life is thrust into the Guild world, but it hides a horrible secret. She is the new body of General Dagon, a man who is centuries old, and is fighting to control her mind, body and soul. Tate’s only hope to be free of Dagon is Quinn, a bodyguard for Dagon, who desires to kill the man inside of Tate’s mind. While Tate and Quinn grow closer, she is struggling to stay in control and fears that Dagon will destroy her and take over her body.

Under My Skin is an enjoyable YA dystopia which is a bit disturbing and dark. It has action and romance but it really lacks world building and I never felt any real tension or danger.

I really like Tate as she was a normal girl who acts like everyone else and has no special talent but is just unlucky. I liked Quinn but he was very similar to a lot of YA heroes as he has a purpose and a tragic past. General Dagon is a really interesting bad guy as he is really evil and he could not be fought in the conventional way.

This is an interesting book and I hope there is another book in this series. I would recommend Under My Skin to fans of The City Center by Simone Pond and Pawn by Aimee Carter.

This and my other reviews can be found at Amethyst Bookwyrm
Profile Image for Emma.
473 reviews20 followers
June 12, 2021
2,5 Sterne, davon 4 für die ersten 30-40%, dann sank es sehr plötzlich ab und hat mich verwirrt und ziemlich enttäuscht zurückgelassen.

"Under my Skin" ist eine Dystopie mit recht klassischem Beginn. Ein Staat mit striktem Gefüge, eine Welt, die viele Plagen und Kriege erlebt hat, eine Bevölkerung, die in Armut lebt. Bei einer Auswahlzeremonie werden die 16jährigen geprüft, ob sie sich für das Amt des "Waterbearers" eignen, eine große Ehre und Aufstiegsmöglichkeit. Tate ist von dieser Möglichkeit nicht begeistert, aber genau wie ihre Cousine Zoe wird sie ausgewählt und nun startet der wahre Horror. Denn dieses Amt ist keinesfalls eine Ehre und unter der Oberfläche lauern düstere Geheimnisse ...

Ab hier werde ich es NICHT SPOILERFREI schaffen, weiter zu reviewen!

+ + + + + + +

Das hauptsächliche Motiv des Buches, was Tate dann schnell entdeckt, ist ähnlich wie bei Meyers "Seelen" oder ähnlichen Werken. Die Führungselite hat einen Weg gefunden, ihren Geist in neue Körper zu transferien und die Auswahlzeremonie ist nichts anderes als die Suche nach neuen, frischen Körpern, die sie gut besetzen können. Tate wacht auf mit General Dagon in ihrem Kopf, der bereits ankündigt, sie in wenigen Tagen komplett verdrängt zu haben und dann in ihrem Körper weiter zu leben ...

So gut, so spannend ist die Prämisse erst einmal. Ich war wirklich hooked und wollte mehr erfahren und fand Tate und ihre Geschichte bislang sehr spannend.

Leider nahm das Niveau dann rapide ab. Die Erklärungen für diese Technik? Hmpf. So ganz logisch wurde es nicht. Vor allem, warum Tate so besonders ist und sich so lange gegen den General behaupten kann, denn anfangs ist sie so besonders, weil die Gilde eben glaubt, sie wäre so leicht zu ersetzen, bzw. hätte so großes Potential für einen fremden Geist. Wie passt das damit zusammen, dass sie sich dann als so widerspenstig zeigt? Hätte sie dann nicht bei der Auswahlzeremonie als kaum geeignet erkannt werden müssen oder zumindest nicht den höchsten Preis bei der Auktion bekommen haben? Für ihren Körper war es bestimmt nicht, weil sie eine Narbe im Gesicht durch eine Gaumenspalte hat, die sie in ihren Augen und auch denen der Gesellschaft unattraktiv macht.

Dazu kommt eine Liebesgeschichte mit Null Gefühl und absolut abstrus werdenden Plots.

Ein paar Zitate:

I'd thought about it for a long time as I'd fought the General. No matter how afraid I was, I had to go back. Revenge fed me now. For waht he did to me, to Quinn's brother, to everyone. I hat to take out the general und use his position to help the Water Bearers like Zoe. The General didn't trust me, but I still had to try.

"To try" - was? Tate hat also einen ungebetenen Gast in ihrem Kopf, der zeitweise die Kontrolle übernimmt und ankündigt, dass er sie bald verdrängen wird und bei ihrer ersten Gelegenheit, Hilfe zu bekommen, will sie zurück in das Leben des Generals, weil ... was? Wie soll ihr das bei ihrer Rache helfen, wenn sie ihm in die Karten spielt? Und der Satz, dass er ihr nicht traut? NATÜRLICH nicht! Hilfe, das war so dermaßen unlogisch.

Das geht dann kapitelweise so weiter, dass sie rumdenkt und Hilfe nicht annimmt und die Hilfe auch irgendwie dämlich ist. Die Rebellen verlassen sich nämlich darauf, dass Tate schon merkt, wenn der General 'erwacht' und sie ihn zurückdrängen kann. Das war so himmelschreiend unlogisch, wie sie ihr vertrauen. Immerhin verbinden sie ihr die Augen, wenn sie hingefahren wird, aber das reicht nicht. Natürlich erfährt der General von ihren Ausflügen, karrt ihre Eltern an und bedroht deren Sicherheit, bis Tate alles erzählt, was sie weiß, so dass ...


... der General die Feinde auf einer Seite vernichtet.
Eine Seite.
Das große Finale ist absolut episch unterirdisch und Tates anschließender Kampf gegen den General lachhaft. Plötzlich ist das Ende einfach da und alles gut.

Wirklich, das ist der Endkampf:
To me, war used to be merely words in books. I read about fighting and death, but I nad no context. Living with General Dagon in my head had taught me that war wasn't powerful words used to convey conflict, but it was something else far more frightening, far more deadly. I was an unwilling passenger with the General to the battlefield. I had to watch as he was shot in the shoulder and as he killed so many peoply with remorese. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine seeing his fleeing targets. I could taste their terror as their lives ended.
His troops stormed the Resistance base and the Guild's enemies fell with ease.

I feel cheated. Wozu habe ich diese ganzen ebook-Seiten gelesen, wenn Tate den General eigentlich schon auf Seite 50 hätte erledigen können, wenn sie nur genug gewollt hätte? Wenn die Resistance ohnehin keine große Rolle spielt, weil ernsthaft ... was war das zwischendurch mit diesem Pilz-Virus, der Tate und die anderen so viel anfälliger gemacht hat für die feindliche Geist-Übernahme?

Es fing so viel versprechend an und wurde dann nur noch abstrus, enttäuschend und ziemlich schlecht. Sehr schade. Keine Empfehlung.
Profile Image for Vivian Jane ✯.
167 reviews43 followers
November 11, 2014
**ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review!**
*Quotes may differ upon publication*

"To reach the end, sometimes you must go back to the beginning."

Every single sixteen-year-old is required to take an annual test decides their fate. If you pass, you become a Water Bearer and live a wealthy life where you had everything. If you fail, you return back home and continue to live a normal life.

Tate Sullivan and her cousin Zoe are taking the test and throughout the generations, "Not a single Sullivan has passed." The bad feeling in Tate's gut proves to be true when she hears the words that would change her life.
"Congratulations are in order, Tate. You've passed the test."
When her and Zoe both pass the test, they're introduced to the luxury of the rich.

Both have never worn such nice clothes or eaten such amazing food, but behind the beautiful facade the rich put up, there is a dark secret that's thrived for hundreds of years.

Along with the discovery of the secret comes with pain, anger, and ultimately death. However, Tate meets Quinn Belfry and he soon becomes the only person she can depend on, feelings of friendship bloom into something more.
"Don't cry," he said softly. "You're not alone."

Can Tate escape the inevitable and live her life in love or will she be crushed and destroyed?



Before I start, I would like to say... THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL COVER!!!!! You can even see Tate's lip cleft!

The book did everything right in a YA novel except for a minor problem.

What I liked:
1) Tate was such a badass, I mean she survived, she's a freakin courageous fighter that doesn't give up.
2) The side characters were GREAT. Zoe was awesome!!! Though Tate stole the spotlight for me (like she should be!). It really bothers me when I like a character other than the hero/heroine when I SHOULD BE LIKING THE MAIN CHARACTERS. Otherwise, WHY ARE THEY THE MAIN CHARACTERS?!
3) Plot that dragged me in almost immediately. The suspense and mystery was there and the author kept you hanging throughout the book. Also, the action scenes were captivating and EXCITING! (Thank god)

What I didn't like:
1) The ROMANCE. I can't believe I am going to be saying this, but this book did NOT need the romance. DID. NOT. NEED. THE. ROMANCE.
I know it's a YA novel, but if it doesn't work, IT DOESN'T WORK! There was just way too much going on and adding the little romance there was was unnecessary. I would have liked Quinn anyways and it was too insta-love for me.

The book was well done. I am looking forward to the books written by this author! :) Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel hehehehe
Profile Image for Leigh.
263 reviews18 followers
March 23, 2015
I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was pleasantly surprised by Under My Skin. It was a little slow at the beginning, but it quickly kicked into gear. Any book that has me screaming, laughing, crying or a combination of the three is a winner. Shawntelle Madison has created an interesting dystopian story that I fully enjoyed.

Tate Sullivan has dreams of getting her degree to help her family. She lives in a small town where life is hard. Like all sixteen year-olds, Tate is required to take the Water-bearer test. This test is to see who will be the next in line to serve the Guild, which is comprised of the rich, elite and governing officials. Who wouldn't want to be a part of the Guild? Tate is quickly thrust into a world she doesn't understand or want to be in. Can she find a way out before it is too late?

Tate was taught to value life and to help others. Her new life goes against everything she was taught. Can she stand tall or will she crumble under the pressure? I enjoyed reading Tate's transformation for the timid, self-conscious girl to a young lady who is willing to stand up for her self and others. This story had me on the edge of my seat. I am looking forward to see what happens next.
Profile Image for Carrie Mansfield .
392 reviews16 followers
December 9, 2014
eARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for fair review.

Review available on my blog 12/9. http://wp.me/p32oat-11l

Oh book, I wanted to like you. You easily have the most interesting idea I've seen for a YA dystopian in ages, and for a self-published title, you are polished to a T and proof that self-published titles can easily sit side-by-side with books from the big publishers.

On the other hand, you squander your idea by completely and utterly under-developing it. This book raises so many questions: if everyone wants to at least work for the Guild, then shouldn't it be common knowledge that your family gets a stipend if you get chosen? Whatever happened to the people we met at the facility who got chosen, but who weren't bid upon? Did they get to put to work as janitors or were they killed? The Guild's secret to immortality is body hopping in vessels like Tates, but it seems like Tate was wearing out pretty damn fast. If a body only lasted a year or two at most before they had to jump again, what kind of system is that? And if bodies last longer than that, why wasn't it made clear that she was an exception, not a rule? I get that it's set-up for future books, but it's kind of important for understanding how this whole thing works. Speaking of body jumping, wouldn't people notice? Like how did no one question that General Dagon suddenly has a daughter named Elsie or is the conspiracy so vast that the common person just doesn't even know that it's going on? How does Tate protect herself so damn well when the other vessels fell so quick? She have partial immunity to the virus or is it just because the plot demands? How does getting shocked by a machine once suddenly let you be able to "feel" who would make a good host? If Dagon is so good at controlling bodies he's taken over, shouldn't they have assumed that he was letting her do whatever she wanted? Why is there a Resistance any way? They seem to serve little purpose in this world other than to help explain things to Tate, we certainly see no other impact on the world at large.

You see how this is problematic.

Aside from the sense that all of this happening because the author wants it to happen this way, there isn't much else to talk about. Tate is your generic YA heroine: loves her parents, loves her cousin, intelligent and plucky, determined to stand up to The Man. Her relationship to Quinn is less love and more Stockholm Syndrome. There's nothing between them that can ever be constituted as romance; it's all business between them. It's difficult to shake the feeling that any emotions she develops for him are out of the fact that a) he's handsome b) not a creep and c) the only guy even close to her age in the compound.

Overall, I feel like there's promise here, but the premise just proved too elusive for the author to wrap her head around in a way that doesn't eventually make you start questioning it - and considering this is only the first book in a series, you have to have a more solid foundation to work on.

This was a fun book, until things completely fell apart for me, and ultimately my enjoyment of much of book wasn't enough to overcome the rather series problems with it later on.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,360 reviews50 followers
March 28, 2015
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I think in the end I just didn't want to be under Tate's skin. But the cover was so beautiful!

It's a Dystopian that starts with a simple aptitude test. Tate's results aren't normal, and she's selected for serving the Guild. No one seems to mind that selection is done via this very weird form of applying. It's more like a sort of slavery.

Immediately Tate, who's the special snowflake from around the corner, starts thinking something must be off. What exactly is a 'water bearer'? Why does the water taste funny? I don't mind Tate having a mind of her own (ironical pun intended) but what annoys me is that it's yet another novel where the heroin is the only person to have this questions. The rest is just a meek flock of water bearers.

The idea is of course shocking, distasteful and highly unethical, but these are not even my biggest problems with it. It didn't make any sense. I'm supposed to believe that no-one except a lucky few are aware that people are taking possession of other people's body in order to stay young? How do you explain the differences in person? The General for example now suddenly is a woman? What's the strategical purpose of that? Don't tell me it is because he likes to wear a dress.

And besides, if you're able to create this system, why not find ways to upgrade your normal body? It would definitely make more sense.

Then there's a romance. I did not see that coming! I didn't like it, that's all I'm going to tell about it.

The writing wasn't that bad but the story bored me quite quickly. It just wasn't for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Danna.
52 reviews10 followers
February 16, 2015
Advanced Reader Copy provided via NetGalley by Shawntelle Madison in exchange for an honest review.

In the past year, I've read quite a lot of dystopian fiction. I've developed quite a thing for dystopias after reading THG. It was a refreshing change of genre after reading vampire novels when the Twilight sensation was at its peak.

Most of the books in the genre, almost blur together with quite a few exceptions. So, this was actually refreshing. The plot was quite original. ALMOST. But why you ask? Let's list some of the parallels I've seen in other dystopian fictions I've read:

1. It always have to start with a test. ;)
What other novels had a test? Divergent and Legend did but the similarity ends there.

2. Battle of the minds!
Okay, I have to admit, this isn't a common thing in dystopians but it's a cross between Starters and The Host (Not that The Host is a dystopian novel) :P But still. It reminds me of how two minds battle for control over a single body.

I guess the list ends there. So, congrats to Ms. Madison for her ingenuity!

Moving on...

We follow Tate Sullivan, a 16-year old girl who's about to take her test. The test is the way for the Guild (the ruling community) to select new Water Bearers. The test itself is quite weird. The examiners need not do anything more than touch you.

She traced her dark-purple fingernails along the sensitive skin on my wrist. Goosebumps formed where she touched me...

...Her lips, which had formed a straight line, now offered a chilling smile. "My dear, you are a prize. I hope you're not snatched away before I have a chance to bid on you."

Bid on me? My swallow got stuck in my throat. I fought to take in a breath as my chest constricted. "What are you saying?"

"Congratulations are in order, Tate. You've passed the test."

Viola! You are now on your way to becoming the next Water Bearer for a member of the Guild. Little did they know that becoming one means leaving behind everything - your family, your friends, your life! After passing the test, the Aspirants are being checked out by potential "sponsors" to see if they who fits their needs best. They are then auctioned off to the highest bidder.

The plot: It's genius actually. By the very beginning of the book, we're plagued by dozens of questions. At some point, a few of the questions were answered although a lot was still unclear. There's a lack of explanation on certain things but given the fact that there's supposed to be a sequel, we could just hope that the answers we are looking for will be there. I originally planned to rate this 3 stars but I'm feeling generous and I did love the plot.

The characters:

Tate: She's an okay MC. She's not as whiny as some I came across in the YA world. She did not irritate me, at least for 75% of the time. I liked the fact that she refused to just hand over control to the General. She put up a fight.

Zoe: She is Tate's cousin who unfortunately passed the test too. I like her! She's an optimist. She always say that Tate's the stronger one but

Quinn: He is the appointed Master of Blades of General Dogon. I think his character played an important role in the book. He's supposed to be the love interest of our MC but I think this book could actually do away with the romance.

General Dogon: Manipulative, cruel, scary as hell! He's the kind of person who loved to be in control. He'll do anything to get what he wanted. He's the kind of villain you'd be happy to strangle.

Des: The General's nurse. She'd been nice to Tate and even helped cover for her.

The world-building: It's okay but needs work still.

I've got some minor issues with this book (as aforementioned). I must admit, some parts felt dragging and I had the inkling to skip through some paragraphs but I stopped myself for the fact that I might miss something important. But overall, I really enjoyed reading this book.
18 reviews35 followers
December 25, 2014
More reviews at deadlydarlings.wordpress.com

Seeing as there were a lot of great reviews , I really really expected to love this book. However, I was disappointed to find out that it was way below my expectations.

The premise was amazing. The idea was very original, and you certainly can’t find another book with the same plot. The world-building, on the other hand, wasn’t so amazing. The book left so much for the readers to imagine and guess about. I couldn’t really grasp where or when the book was set in. I also couldn’t understand what the world was like during that time. Not to mention that there were also too many unanswered questions! Who are the Guild? What are Water Bearers? Who are the invaders? How do the Guild help?

*insert super confused face here*

The characters were flat and really quite irritating. Tate seemed like a girl who had split personalities! One minute she’s cursing the world for giving her a little scar on the face and crying about how no one will ever love her because of it. The next thing you know, she keeps on boasting about how she’s better than everybody else because she reads real books! Quinn was even worse. He was really, really underdeveloped. I felt that he was very out of place and that the book would have been better without him. The only character I did like was General Dagon, because let’s face it, everyone loves a badass villain.

Next is the romance. This is normally the part where I start jumping up and down trying to explain my feels to everyone! For the first time though, I would have preferred that the book had no romance. It felt forced into the book ad extracted NO TINGLY FEELINGS!!! At all!

Lastly, is the writing. The writing wasn’t terrible, but it could have been better. Instead of describing every detail about Tate’s gown or something, the author should have been describing the world around Tate!

All in all, I really disliked the book. Aside from the idea, it was executed very poorly. However, it could probably appeal to those looking for a book with something new!
Profile Image for Ashley.
673 reviews22 followers
November 15, 2014
This book has an awesome premise, and I'm a sucker for a gorgeous cover, what can I say? The plot was unique and I really did want to know what was going to happen. However, the writing was less than interesting, and the characters drove me nuts. Especially the main character.

I wanted this world and it's characters to be fleshed out a lot more. We're sort of dropped right into the action without any explanation, and then the explanations we do get aren't the ones I wanted. I didn't care that Tate's father needed medication or who Tate's (fictional) favorite author was. What is a Water Bearer? Who is the Guild? Why are any of the seemingly random things that are happening, happening? That's what I wanted to know. Of course some of that was left out for suspense, I get that. But when too much is left out and I start feeling lost and like I'm just bouncing from one random unexplained event to the next, I get bored and stop caring.

The characters were too flat and one dimensional to invoke much interest from me. I had trouble keeping up with who was who at first, and honestly stopped caring. Tate did invoke one feeling in me, but unfortunately that was irritation. She came off as so better than thou about everything. She's poor so she's not snobby and stuck up like those other losers. She has a scar from a cleft lip so she's not vain. She likes to read and has read books about how things used to be whereas all these other stupid saps have only learned what they've been taught from the electronic government sanctioned devices. She's so enlightened and above it all. And yet she has no idea what's going on, so I don't know where she gets off acting like little Miss Know It All.

Although the writing wasn't amazing, this isn't a terrible book. I'm sure many people will enjoy it.


*I was provided an ARC of this title by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Stacy.
1,330 reviews63 followers
December 9, 2014
I had absolutely ZERO issue getting into UNDER MY SKIN. Not only did I really enjoy the characters, but the world was awesome and the whole concept of the story was unique and interesting. Even with the blurb I didn't fully GET what was going to happen. I had an idea but I didn't realize how much more there was to my idea. I don't want to spoil anything for the reader so I won't go further into the details.

Tate can't possibly understand why she was picked to be a water bearer. She finds nothing special about herself and has no clue what the fuss over her is. She had no want to be a water bearer, but she is thankful that her cousin Zoe was picked along with her. Tate was great. She doesn't do anything quietly and refuses to give up on herself and Zoe even though the odds are stacked against her. Don't get me wrong she has her moments of weakness, but she was a bad-ass and she knew it.

I wanted a little more out of the romance between Tate and Quinn. There were plenty of feelings there, but I wasn't totally able to fall into their story as a couple. I also felt the final showdown between Tate and General Dagon was lacking. The whole book leads up to this point. Tate has her chance to be free of him and it's just over in a few moments. I wanted more out of it.

I am very interested in seeing how book 2 will start out. Tate has some big shoes to fit into and I can't wait to see if she pulls off her deception.

* This book was provided free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ellen Gail.
826 reviews369 followers
June 11, 2015
2.5 stars. The beginning was so excellent, unexpected and full of promise. Then the second half lost me in a major way.

"It was all very much real. And now I knew the truth. Something bad will happen to me very soon."

Plot wise Under My Skin had me hooked good at the beginning. What had Tate been chosen for? Would she ever see Zoe again? Some creepy bad was brewing and it promised to be good.

And it was! I'm glad I read this unspoiled. When I realized what was happening to Tate, it was a quality oh shit moment. I couldn't wait to see where it would go!

And where it went turned out to be pretty boring. I lost almost all interest in the second half.

The romance with Quinn felt unnecessary and forced. How am I supposed to care about them as a potential couple when they've barely interacted?

"As much as I wanted to ask what was going on between us the past few days, I didn't want to ruin it. Was I his girlfriend? What kind of relationship did we have?"

Ugh. Priorities Tate. Survive first, then get your sexy on.

Overall, a great mysterious first half with an unfortunately dull second half.
Profile Image for Denise Hallauer.
334 reviews42 followers
January 27, 2015
Review can also be found on my blog.

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I liked the premise of it, it is original, and not something I’ve seen done often. However the book was seriously lacking in detail, it could have used at least another 100 pages, or more. The book felt rushed and I couldn’t believe how fast the author went through some things (the ‘training’ at the beginning, the scenes with the resistance, the battle with the resistance, etc). This book has a bad case of telling and not showing. I wanted to know more about things, I wanted more details, insight into the world, the people, etc.

Another problem I had was with the romance, it literally came out of nowhere. Quinn and Tate had two interactions, one he tried to kill her, and suddenly they’re in love. No sorry, that’s not working for me. There was very little character and relationship development, they felt a little flat. It resembled more Stockholm Syndrome than love. Quinn was really one of the only nice people, definitely the only nice male, in the house, it’s really not a surprise that she fell in ‘love’ with him.

Had this book had more detail I really think I could have liked it more, as it stands, eh, I’m not even sure I like it at all.

ARC provide on Netgalley
Profile Image for Tania Ray.
Author 2 books3 followers
April 24, 2019
2.5 Stars.
This is a distopian story with a great premise and some psychological aspects to it. All i could think while reading it was that it would make a great action movie.
I appreciated the scientific explanations of what was going on and i can see people liking it, but It wasn't for me.
The writing style and the carachters didn't capture my attention and the plot was predictable, at least to someone that loves to be shocked. It was still a good, ok book and i wanted to know the ending, but it didn't blow me away. Also, there is a tiny bit of romance.
Profile Image for SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews .
575 reviews334 followers
December 12, 2014
I really enjoyed this book and thought for a dystopian it had a rather unique plot to compare what is out there already.
I took me a few pages to get into the setting of the book, but once I was there it was really hard to put it down. It was a really compelling read.
You can find my full review here.
You can find my full review here:
Displaying 1 - 30 of 90 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.