Friday, June 20, 2014

REVIEW: Fractured by Karen E. Hoover

Series: Newtimber (Book 1 of 5)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Pub Date: June 21, 2014, Trifecta Books
Format: eBook (.mobi)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There was absolutely no way a black dragon hovered outside of Newtimber. Sianna rubbed her eyes, but the dragon was still there, clutching a round object that looked like a spotted egg. And then the egg fell, hitting the ground like an atomic bomb, sending out waves of a slow-moving fog that distorted everything it touched.

The citizens of Newtimber change. The old man down the street stretches into a screaming tree. Sianna’s skateboarding friend, Matt, transforms into a giant green dragon. Pegasus. Sirens. Griffins. Vampires. Zombies. Creatures from the myths of every culture come to life through the people.

Even Sianna changes, her skin becoming stone hard, and she gains the ability to travel from the human realm into the dimension of the fae, using it to free her father from prison and enlist his aid in battling the evil bent on taking over the world.

One person to heal a family, a town, and save the world. It seems an impossible task, but with the help of her new friends, it could happen.



Well, by now those of you who've been reading my blog over the years are probably aware of how much I enjoy Karen E. Hoover's books. I have a special place in my bookish heart for her ever since we connected after her publisher asked me to review The Sapphire Flute, which was Karen's first publication. (We can be on a first-name basis here, right, Karen?) Tomorrow is the official launch day of her latest book, Fractured, and since I'm too excited to wait, I am sharing my review today in celebration! For anyone interested, you can join the official Facebook Release Party that's happening on Wednesday the 25th! Ahhh... Look at that shiny cover up there, isn't it pretty?

Perhaps you've noticed that I haven't been writing reviews of any books I've read lately, much less taken on any official review books from authors or publishers. But I always like to make an exception for Karen and tend to jump at an early chance to read her books! Once again, with Fractured, Karen does not disappoint, delivering a fun, fast-paced read. I couldn't believe it when the story was over and naturally, I really wanted to know what came next. While this is the first book in the five-book Newtimber series, it does not end in dramatic cliffhanger fashion -- just enough to make you wish you could grab the next book, but it not enough to make you tear your hair out in frustration (for those of you who detest cliffhangers).

Though Fractured is similar to Karen's Wolfchild Saga in that it is a YA book dealing with elements of fantasy and mythical creatures, that is where the comparison ends. Fractured takes place during the present time, and as such, Sianna is very much a modern-day teenage heroine in a more familiar and perhaps more relatable setting. Sianna is spunky, but you will also see that she can be vulnerable and has a lot to learn about herself. Her supporting cast consists of some family and new friends she meets along the way, and they are made all the more interesting as they change into a HUGE variety of fantastical creatures that Sianna never dreamed actually existed. Truly, the premise behind the story is what helped to make it fresh, new, and above all, fun. I didn't feel like I was reading about the same old Fae world that you come across in YA books these days.

I only have two real "complaints" about this book. One, unless I missed something in the story, it appears that editing didn't catch a name change that must have been made for one of the characters. Natalia, one of the more prominent supporting characters in the book, actually began the story as Natasha. When all is said and done, it's a pretty minor complaint, I know, but since I was thrown for a bit of a loop when I came across it while reading, I thought it was worth mentioning. Perhaps it won't be in the final version of the book and was only in my copy.

What is my other complaint, you ask? The story was perhaps a wee bit too short! The Kindle page count estimates this book at 214 pages and I really think the story might have benefited from another 50-75 pages to flesh out some of the storyline and characters, as well as paint a more vivid picture of Newtimber and the Fae world. I love that Fractured was a fast-paced page-turner, but I felt like the character development and world-building weren't quite as strong as they were in Karen's Wolfchild Saga. Or perhaps the soft spot in my heart for that series has clouded my judgment -- it is certainly possible! :-)

The bottom line: Fractured is a fun, clean read and most importantly, a fresh take on YA Urban Fantasy. It's another of Karen's books that I'm saving for my daughter to read when she gets older!
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