Sandra "Jeanz"'s Reviews > Tarnished

Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch
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it was amazing

After reading and thoroughly enjoying Perfected I was really looking forward to reading Tarnished. the only slight worry I had was that sometime the second book in a series doesn't quite live up to the first!

So as I said at the very beginning of the post about the covers for this book series so far you already know I love the covers! The dress featured on the cover is Tarnish is definitely a statement dress and certainly catches your eye! The dress and it's colours had a lot of meanings within the book. I mean its a beautiful dress belonging to a pet, but it is also bright red! and whoever wears it is going to really stand out and draw attention to themselves. . . will they receive the type of interest they really want or maybe receive the wrong kind of attention. The dress kind of explodes on this cover and that is a great way to describe the whole subject of pets in this book. There is also a fantastic byline on this book cover "Freedom comes at a cost. . . " and we learn through Ella's story what price she has to pay for her freedom, a life without Penn? We also see Ella discovering the prive Missy is willing to pay to help her too. So, my usual question, would the cover make me stop and encourage me to pick it up from the book store shelf? Definitely yes!
At the end of Perfected we saw Ella finally escape being a pet, so part of her dream of freedom coming true. However Ella and Penn were separated on the border, her pulled to freedom on the Canadian side and Penn held back ny the police on the USA side. So though Ella has her freedom she is not spending it with the love of her life Penn. Tarnished quite literally picks up Ella's story a few days after the ending of Perfected. Ella is living or more like existing in a refugee centre with other pets. To Ella she seems as if she has exchanged on set of enclosing walls for a different set of enclosing walls. Ella is plotting to break out and escape the refugee centre, her dream slightly altered, she wants to return to the USA and be reunited with Penn, then flee to someplace new for them both where they are unknown people to start a life together with each other. Ella does not trust any of the other girls in the refugee centre, she is planning on going it alone with her plans. Ella tricks a centre worker into leaving her alone, though she hates doing so as she knows they are trying to help her reajust to life etc long enough for her to acquire items she feels will be useful to her escape plan. Ella repeats a mantra to herself over and over again to give herself strength to do what must be done "You need to find Penn. You need to make sure he is safe". Ella is drawn to the TV room when she sees the girls transfixed by what they are watching on the screen. It is Congressman Kimble, her owner, the one who gave her a collar as a gift. The collar/pendant is the only materialistic possession she has. Ella see's the other members of the Kimble family. Elise the Congressman's wife and their daughter Ruby, and Penn is standing near his father. John Kimble is saying their Pet, Ella has been stolen and how sad they all are she is no longer with them. They are appealing for her to be returned to the family and even offering a reward! John forces Penn to speak, to appeal for peace and the return of Ella. Ella can see Penn is not himself, he is not the loving Penn she knows and loves dearly. He is being forced or coerced into speaking, the bruise on his face is still quite clearly visible despite what looks like the attempts of a make up artists to cover it up. The reward for Ella's safe return is a large one! It's a hundred thousand dollars!!
Ella swiftly leave the TV room and returns to her dingy room, checking her other stolen items and re-hiding them out of sight, she now has a wallet, a folding knife, needle & thread and the map book she just stole too.
When Ella does manage to sneak out of the centre she has been living in for the past week she is somewhat disorientated and is almost immediately grabbed. Ella initially struggles but the voice belonging to the person who grabbed her tells her they are here to help her etc.
The mystery person indeed helps Ella to evade recapture and ends up playing a major role in the journey Ella embarks on as well as being a constant support to Ella and her plan of action. The mystery helper is Missy, the pet that lived with the neighbours next door to the Kimbles! The very pet that Ella still blames for ratting her out all that time ago when she went to her for help. The two pets have a lot to talk about and work through before they can begin on what turns out to be one heck of an adventure! Initially Missy attempts to talk Ella out of going back for Penn, but soon realises Ella is set in her decision so she decides to tag along and help Ella. Missy turns out to be a true friend to Ella on many occasions, from sharing her food with her, to helping her disguise herself and somewhat sheltering Ella from the harsher realities of being a pet on the run. Missy has to be stern with Ella and demands that she listens to her and does as Missy tells her too. To begin with as a reader you may think Missy is just enjoying being in charge but it soon becomes apparent that Missy's escape and travel to Canada was a hard, difficult journey with many compromises and sacrifices made along the way. There are many occasions where Ella's naivete irks Missy but the more street wise pet never fully reveals all she has had to endure to survive. In fact Missy is prepared to do all the awful "jobs" on the black market to keep Ella sheltered and remain innocent. It is only when Ella disobeys Missy and goes wandering off exploring alone that Ella discovers exactly how far Missy has had to go to secure their survival.
This book is full of action, mystery and intrigue galore. It keeps you reading long after you meant to put the book down for the night, and has you looking forward to the next stolen moment you can pick up the book to devote some time to reading it.
We learn even more about Nupet and how far they are prepared to go to make money and cover up past mistakes in the process. Nupet manages to stoop to even lower standards and deeds than we knew about in Perfected in this book.
I loved the origin of where the title comes within the book. A second hand pet is said to be "Tarnished". We discover the black market in this second book of the Perfected series. We get to revisit much loved characters from Perfected such as Ruby when Ella manages to sneak into the Kimble household once again. As well as meeting new characters to love, like Carlie whose talent is drawing. In fact it is Carlie's drawing of Ella that makes her determined to succeed in her plans. It is also that same drawing that Ella gives to Ruby as an apology for leaving and a token of love too.
In this book we see the good in some unlikely places, such as Seth (from the black market) helping Missy and Ella escape his Uncle's clutches and being bought back by the kennels they originally came from. This book also shows us the bad in the society in Tarnished, where pets have no rights and no one seems to care at all what happens to them. There's the seediness of the black market and of journalism too. The good things in the book are, the glimpses of friendship between the other pets. The eventual and strong kinship that grows between Missy and Ella, each prepared to sacrifice what ever is necessary for the well being, care an safety of the other.
This book takes us on Penn's journey too, the scales falling from his eyes as he see's the plain cruelty and true unscrupulous character traits in his father that have made him play along and even help Nupet in their quest for monetary gain over being humane.
There really is such a lot in this book, so many issues, brilliant characters both old and new and yet I feel there is still even more to come from the next book in the series and I am certainly looking forward to reading that one as soon as it is available too.
So did I enjoy the book? Really simply put, yes. Though just saying yes seems so inadequate. I hope you can tell from my review that I truly adored this book, the style it is written in and the characters and plot that unfold within its pages.
Would I recommend the book? Certainly, this book is so much more! It is thought provoking. It makes you wonder what you would do in Ella & Missy's position. Would you be pro Nupet? or be a Liberationalist who would protest against Nupet?
Would I want to read another book in this series? Definitely, I'm looking forward to even more, meeting certain characters you are given a little information about in this book as well as perhaps learning more about the Liberationalists in the next book too.
Would I want to read other titles written by this author? I do have another title by this author on my kindle which I intend reading as soon as time permits.
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Reading Progress

May 30, 2015 – Shelved
May 30, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
November 11, 2015 – Started Reading
November 11, 2015 –
1.0% "INITIAL THOUGHTS looking forward to catching up with Ella as well as Congressman Kimble and his family too. The byline suggests that though Ella has a form of freedom it isn't the type of freedom she had craved for."
November 11, 2015 –
5.0% "Though I was initially worried I wouldn't remember the facts from book one, I needn't have worried I slipped right back into the society and its quirks. It feels like "visiting an old friend" for a catch up."
November 12, 2015 –
18.0% "already action packed, fast paced, danger lurking around every corner for the two unlikely friends. What else is to come? more secrecy, more danger, perhaps deceit, betrayal a d disappointment? or can love and the righteous overcome evil?"
November 13, 2015 –
23.0% "Totally enthralled! Ella ponders when\how she has become so selfish as she looks and the young innocent dreaming face of Kat."
November 15, 2015 –
34.0% ""Be careful what you wish for....." Ella\Gigi wishes to see what happens behind the workroom doors, she wants to know what jobs Missy is doing, then when she finally sees behind one of the doors she is momentarily stunned, then runs!"
November 16, 2015 –
62.0% "Gripping, addictive read. Loving it!"
November 18, 2015 –
70.0% "This intricate plot gets even more complex, dire and strange as the book goes on. Enjoying every twist, turn and nuance of the plot."
November 19, 2015 –
87.0% "Can there really be a happy ending? I sense more trouble ahead. ."
November 20, 2015 – Finished Reading

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