- Gambit L. Denault. Relts Publications 2016. Netgalley. YA Dytopian. Book One.
Willow Kent has been hidden in the Lowlands for sixteen years, her adoptive parents knowing no more about her than a stranger showed up with her one night, and told them she was in danger. When Commander Reece shows up in the village, he lets nothing stop him from getting to Willow, including the tavern bouncer where she lives. Willow’s life is thrown into utter chaos with rebels trying to kill her for her organs. Being an heiress may be a world of pampering but it comes with a cost. Willow has to leave behind everything and everyone she loves. Can she find a way to make this new life work for her?
Willow is a brave, sharp-tongued girl who has grown up learning to manipulate every male around her. She longs for freedom and plans to disappear into the night but her plans come to a crashing halt when the brutal Reece arrives. He pegs her as the missing heiress right away. She challenges him at every opportunity, stabbing him in the process. But Reece is genetically-built to survive her. When the Surge hits, she discovers a guardian sent to protect her, but can he protect her heart?
I found the characters fascinating and well-thought out. Reece is particularly brutal when he’s introduced but over time, you come to understand him. Willow uses her manipulation to protect herself, not knowing the skills that lay beneath her surface that will explode and lead her to a new life. She and another friend try to hide their powers, but Reece tortures Willow’s friend until she gives Willow up.
I loved getting to know Willow’s Kent family, they were all fully-drawn. I laughed and cried with them when Willow is wrenched from their lives. Willow’s real parents are a different story. Fen seems nice enough but Morry is cold and withdrawn. That there’s a plot involving the switch makes things more interesting.
The world is fascinating as it houses both a medieval feel and a future tech. Both areas drew me in and kept my interest. I loved the fact that Willow is raised by down-to-earth tavern owners. It makes the ripping of her out of that life, that much sadder.
I highly recommend the book to you and can’t wait to read the next ones in the series.
I’m giving this 4 stars.
- Brilliance Marcus Sakey. Thomas & Mercer 2013. Netgalley. Nick Cooper is a DAR agent sent to kill the most dangerous man in the world. He finds an unlikely ally. What he uncovers along the way, blows his whole world apart. Suddenly, the man he trusted above all others may be behind the greatest conspiracy ever.
Cooper was a family man, drawn into the underworld in order to save his daughter. Abnorms are people born with powers in the future and have soon become enemy #1. Cooper tracks down and kills these sort of terrorists but they always seem to be one step ahead of him, always in the know. So, in exchanged for his daughter never being tested for her skills, he agrees to hunt down John Smith.
Shannon is the Girl Who Walks Between Walls. She’s a mystery and as far as Cooper’s concerned, a threat. In order to get to John Smith, he plays the part of a rebel abnorm with her as his contact. She tries to convince him that the abnorms he thinks are terrorist, he has all wrong. They strike a deal to get each other out of a bind, but who’s playing who?
There were all sorts of twists and turns in this book. A lot of action, a lot of fancy tech, but to me, it failed to connect me with characters that I cared about. Yes, they have stakes, yes this is high voltage play, but in the end, I just felt like I couldn’t identify.
I give the book 3 stars.
- Hell’s Bounty Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale. Subterrenean Press 2016. Netgalley.
Trumbullo Quill makes a deal with the devil if he’ll bring back his dead wife. He does and then she falls to ash in Quill’s arm. He’s goes on a drunk spree. Smith is just passing through, looking to collect a bounty. Doing so, lands him him in Hell. He makes a deal with Snappy to fix things for Hell.
Another book I had trouble finding a character to root for. I like westerns, I like horror but this has always been a problem when it comes to both. I haven’t given up on the genre yet but I want to read about a character I can identify with, or at least care what happens. In this book, I cared more for the poor salon girls on the wrong-end of abuse than either Smith or Quill. I guess that’s probably the point but it makes for a sad read.
I give this 1 star.