This was a book that, after the second chapter i thought: I can't WAIT to review this book. It's not just an excellent story, but the writing is refreshingly talented. Sorry, I'm fangirling all over the place. Let me get organized.
www.cjredwine.blogspot.com): Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader,
Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties,
and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness
and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier
mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her
father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years
ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing
but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find
him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what
awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
Story: what I liked most about the story is that protagonist and courier's daughter Rachel reacts 99% of the time like I would, which is so nice to read. She has authentic reactions and thoughts to things that happen to her. CJ Redwine also does an excellent job of having two different POVs with chapters being told either by Rachel or by love interest Logan. Each character had a very clear, distinctive voice, and moved the plot forward very well. Also, CJ Redwine went for broke - every time i thought: is she going to go there? She did. And how. This is not a light and fluffy happy ending read, so if you're of the faint of heart or get spooked at a little grit, this one might not be for you. But if you want one hell of a story that keeps you up til you finish it, then this is it.
Love: I found the relationship development between Rachel and Logan to be one of the best I've seen in YA novels to date. The dual-perspectives work really well, getting inside each of their minds and working through their doubts. It's fun to see the misunderstandings and the intentions that go quickly awry.
Writing: Author CJ Redwine has a vocabulary of words a rung above commonplace language, and uses them simply, sliding them into the sentences with ease. Loved this aspect of the writing. Her writing is also very visual, so the Dystopian world she creates is very easy to see and well developed.
Gripes: To be thorough, there were a couple of things that made me stumble every now and then. There's a big bad beasty that lives underground, dueling out fiery death whenever vibrations make it ornery. It's called "the cursed one," and while i started to accept the name towards the end, every time it came up in a sentence it took me a minute to move past it because I kept thinking of different things it could be called. It doesn't seem to cursed to me - seems like it's the one doing the cursing. Also, while the characters are most excellently developed, sometimes the emotional descriptions went a bit overboard for my taste. (Even though they were still supremely articulated.)
In conclusion: they better make this into a movie. And I can't wait for the sequel. A solid 5 stars.