I'm 50/50 about this book. I'll tell you a bit about it without spoiling it for those who haven't read it yet.
It's set in a dystopian society, in the city of Baalboden where Jared Adams is declared dead by the atypical ruthless A-hole leader. In Jared's will, his apprentice Logan is given the responsibility of being Jared's daughter's (Rachel) Protector. This is a city where women are expected to be meek, voiceless dependants under the protection of assigned Protectors. Anyway, Rachel and Logan refuse to believe that Jared is dead so they confront a daring escape/s through the Walls of Baalboden and set off into the Wasteland where they encounter many obstacles (of course), including the dreaded and feared 'Cursed One', which is essentially a fire-breathing dragon.
Hmm. I like the premise, but it's just missing something. Something. Something... Let me try to lay it out. Bare with me.
Ok, got it.
What really annoys me about this book is that it treats the reader like a bit of an idiot. Why, you ask? Well, there's no need to CONSTANTLY reiterate that Rachel is a BADASS. We got it the first few hundred times it's mentioned or demonstrated. I guess it's a little melodramatic, with the emotions described sounding a little ... manufactured? Rachel's voice is annoying (to me) because she goes on and on and on about how depressed she is and how she wants revenge and nothing will be right until she gets what she wants, and pretty much every character Rachel comes into contact with reiterates to the reader in one way or another how truly badass Rachel is and how completely unlike all the other girls in their city she is. Alright! We got it! Rachel is strong, fiery, can fight like a man, and takes no s*** from no one! I lost count how many times that was asserted in every chapter. Where's the subtlety woman! I'm looking at you C.J Redwine.
We're constantly expected to sympathise with woe-is-me-Rachel, because apparently she's had a horrible run, but it looks to me that all the other characters have had it just as bad as her, if not worse, yet Rachel seems to think that she has a right to feel like she's owed a debt to be paid in blood from the one who caused all her suffering, and no one can take that from her, even if it means committing suicide in the process and dragging others down with her. Honestly, I felt like punching her in the head sometimes ... okay, most of the time ... mmm no, I'm pretty sure the entire time. I think she takes the crown for most annoying character, which is saying something because usually the kick-ass characters are the ones I love and turn a blind eye to their misgivings.
Logan. Okay Logan is a little different in that he likes science and mathematics and can pretty much blow his way out of any sticky situation with a cleverly thought out science experiment. But wait, is it even possible? I mean, drilling your way under a wall? While you're being hunted down? Seriously? I don't know what to say to that. I ... just ... ... no. In terms of Logan's sexiness, well I guess he gets me hooked sometimes, like when he ... hmm ... no, scrap that. Romantic scenes in this didn't even feel romantic. They felt more like they had to be there, the chemistry didn't exactly blow off the page and into my heart, felt a little forced. The author is too busy telling us how kick-ass Rachel is.
Commander Chase. The leader of Baalboden. He is definitely a one-dimensional character, reminds me a little of bad 90s movies where the villain is the villain just cos. There are no other sides to him, he's an A-hole and that's all there is to it. Everyone hates him, he does horrible things for the sake of the story and we are expected to sympathise with the characters (ahem, woe-is-me-Rachel in particular).
Can I just say, tree-leaping. Really? What are they, superheroes? Nowhere is it mentioned that these characters have advanced abilities, so how can they tree-leap for long periods of time? I mean, have you ever gone to a forest and seen trees so close together that their branches create a sort of pathway enough for people to travel on them for hundreds of miles? Perhaps for five minutes before the average human becomes absolutely exhausted, not to mention the lack of superhuman abilities to leap from tree to tree and not break your leg because of a thing called gravity.
Anyway, enough knocking it. There's lots of plot holes, but I won't go into them. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it. It's just that I didn't love it, and I don't appreciate being served a whole lot of manufactured melodramatic b.s just so the protagonist has a purpose and the reader is FORCED to sympathise with her, which in my case did the exact opposite because I wanted to slap her silly. Oh, sorry, I said no more knocking it. Okay, I'll try again. It was okay. Still worth a read. If you can get past the self-righteous depresso inner thoughts of ... okay enough. Sorry. The premise was okay, I'm interested enough to read on to the next one, Deception, just to see what happens. Let's hope it improves dramatically and Rachel has some sense knocked into her.