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4.3 out of 5 stars
Two Halves
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2011
Fantastic!

Sarah and William are both half vampire, half human and haven't seen each other since they were babies. There is a prophecy which states that together, they will save the humans, vampires and witches/warlocks from the demons. Sarah dreams about William regularly but she doesn't know who he is. Their parents were best friends but Sarah killed her mother when she was born and has never seen her father. He has spent her life trying to protect her by leading the seekers away from her. She is raised by her aunt and lives mainly as a human, keeping her vampire side a secret. She is protected as she grows up by two sibling shape shifters employed by her dad. It is only when she is 21 and her aunt has died that William comes and makes himself known to her. The seekers have tracked her and he has to take her away.

I really enjoyed this book. It is SO imaginative. It is very descriptive and well written so you can totally picture it all in your head. Sarah is a great character who grows throughout the book as she explores her vampire side with the help of William who has never had to hide what he is. It is written mainly from the point of view of Sarah but does change at times to include some of the other characters.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a touch of romance. I loved it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
Sarah is young woman who was raised by her aunt Helen when her mother died after childbirth. She's always known that she was different. She's had to inject a serum her entire life to suppress the vampire nature, to seem more normal though she was never normal. Sarah has always looked younger than she really is, so she was always teased or made fun of, but with two unwavering best friends, Mira and Xander, she's lived a relatively normal life. But what Sarah doesn't know is that Mira and Xander are demons who were charged with protecting her since she was a baby. They could shape-shift their appearance so that they too could appear as if they grew up with Sarah.

William is the only other half-breed, and Sarah has had dreams of him her entire life. She's felt this strong connection and love for him that she couldn't explain. William knew all about her and knew that the two of them together were apart of a prophecy that would save both the humans and the vampires from the likes of a power hungry demon lord.

Although I think the book started out a little slow, it definitely picked up. It was kind of like an action movie in terms of everything that was going on. Sarah and William are on the run from seekers who do the demon lords bidding. They can't always trust those around them as they might be shape-shifters. In this book, shape-shifters doesn't necessarily refer to a man or woman that can change in to an animal such as a wolf. It just means that they can change their appearance. I found the story to be a rather exciting ride, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Since I'm such a fan of romance, I was a little bummed out about the fact that Sarah and William could hardly touch each other without causing themselves pain. There was a spell put on them to keep them apart. But I still enjoyed their journey to try to find a way to be together. And Sarah would flash back to dreams where her and William could be together without the pain, so it wasn't as if there was no romance between them.

Now, although I don't mind a book that is written from different perspectives, I found Two Halves to be a bit confusing at times because of it. That's only because when the perspective would change to someone other than Sarah, it was almost always clearly marked who's perspective I was now reading. However, when it would switch back to Sarah's perspective, it wasn't stated. So I found that kind of annoying because I'd be thinking about whether I was still reading the previous person's perspective or did it change back to Sarah's, and I shouldn't have had to wonder about it. It should have been stated at the beginning of the chapter or even at the break if in the middle of a chapter.

Over-all I did enjoy Two Halves and wished that it hadn't ended where it did. I would have loved more of Sarah and William's story. But as I mentioned before, it is rather action packed with demons, vampires, witches and warlocks.

**Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.**
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2012
So when I read the description of the book and was so lucky to get a review copy, I was thrilled. I was kind of dissappointed for the following reasons: It was hard to get into the story, for I found the characters very hard to relate to. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't even know the hair colour of the female protagonist until somewhere in the middle of the book - not to speak of other features (except for her oh-so-important-tattoo), or the male protagonist. However, the villains and bad guys were described in detail. The turns in the plot were kind of silly and I kind of knew what would happen next. Also, many things aren't really described properly (especially events that are only talked about and haven't been in the book) or the characters suddenly move from A to B without any sentence that says so. For example Sarah hides behind a door, because she hears people talking behind it. Then the door is suddenly half opened so she can put her hand outside and then suddenly she stands outside and is able to look into the other character's eyes.
Sarah's love interest William is kind of shallow. He is Mr. Know-it-all and treats Sarah like she's a baby. [SPOILER]And then he doesn't even realize that the evil witch Xela changed bodies with Sarah. Now with Xela's soul inside Sarah's body, she behaves really strange and a lot different than the real Sarah. If he really loved her, wouldn't he have realized? Who wants a boyfriend like him??? .
And what happened to the ghost of Sarah's mum and aunt? They appeared somewhere in the end of the book and it sounded like they needed to be taken care of, too. But nothing happened.[/SPOILER]

However, I finished the book and there were also some reasons to like it. The idea, the whole world this books takes place in, is very interesting! Witches, Warlocks, Vampires, Demons, Half-Breeds, ghosts, shapeshifters...also the serums Sarah has to take totally caught me. The siblings, Mira and Xander, Sarah's best friend also totally rock. I can't really say why I loved them, it was just the dynamic of the two of them, the way they interacted with each other and talked.
I don't think Sarah is too old for a young adult book (she's 21). I however think, the book is meant for younger (15+) readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
Love story of the year!

I'm not big on fiction but this is one, I recommend to all. Sarah falls in love in her dreams... she is destined to be with him... and then... they meet. I get goose bumps just writing about it. The way this story line evolves, the details, and the big twist at the end makes it a great novel. The author has a way of working our imagination, but staying true to our "human" feelings. The ending is just... one of a kind. Wow!

I know there will be more from Marta Szemik and I'll be the first one to get it.
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Marta Szemik's Two Halves centers around Sarah, the adult child a vampire father she has never met and a human mother who died soon after giving birth to her when the hungry baby vampire bit her mother and she bled to death. Raised by her aunt, she has fought the vampire side of her physiology with serums made from orchids. She blames her father for the fact that she had the vampire's traits that made her kill her mother.

She is friends with Xander and Mira, a brother and sister that have been in her life in their little town since she was small. They have grown up together and she and Mira share secrets and stories like most friends do. Xander sometimes looks at Sarah with eyes of a young male regarding a good looking young female.

William is Sarah's balance. His mother is human, his father a vampire. William was raised as a vampire by his parents and taught the skills he would need as he grew. He also grew to know he would eventually meet up with Sarah and they would have a very specific destiny, one that would place both of them in great danger and on a collision course with some of the most powerful beings of the underworld.

Sarah dreamed of William, nightmares and erotic dreams both. One of the nightmares awakens her senses and starts to show her a future of fear, demons with glowing orange eyes, burning buildings, and other things. And then she meets the man of her dreams, William, who tells her they have to run, that the demons are after her. And as much as she is drawn to him, they cannot come together because each time they try; they are electrocuted by a strange force within their bodies. So they have to try to work together while wanting to be more than friends.

Two Halves was a very good tale of vampires, shape shifters, witches, warlocks, demons and conspiracies planned and conducted. William and Sarah are very loveable and the plight of their love and not being able to be together is very well done. Her descriptions of places was so clear, I could see it in my mind without a problem. The story flows well from Sarah to the shape shifters and back again, between the underworld and the forces lined against them. The characters are well imagined and well defined; I was actually caring what happened to them.

Two Halves is marketed as a Young Adult book and I can see that teens and young adults would like the book. But it's not restricted to just the youth, anyone who likes a good fantasy story with a lot of imagination.
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on February 5, 2014
I won a copy of this book in Elle Casey's January Anniversary Indie Book Giveaway. There are some intriguing ideas here - notably the special plant-based serums and how they interact with the strange biology of the human/vampire hybrids, and the underdeveloped notion that humans, vampires and warlocks are more or less "good", fighting on the same side against "bad" demons - but overall this book really didn't work for me. For a start, the two romantic leads, Sarah and William, are meant to be about the same age (early 20s), but through most of the book Sarah comes across more like a lovestruck 12-year-old to William's adult svengali figure. It makes sense that since Sarah starts out largely unaware of her true powers as a hybrid, whereas William knows all about his, that he would have to teach her, but this does not necessitate the drippy tone of their interactions. Sarah is also not allowed to be her own fully-realized person, because she spends the entire book either ignorant, or as "William's other half". She is defined only in relation to him, and their shared destiny. There is also a lot of logistical stuff that doesn't make any sense - like the speed at which they travel (non-supernaturally) to the Amazon, and how they live in a cabin whilst there. Plus this book is kind of long, and padded with way too much telling and not enough showing: too much exposition and somewhat repetitive internal monologuing. There are also quite a few dei ex machina that annoyed me. But at least there weren't too many grammatical errors! Now, before I read this book, the author encouraged me to start with Marked: A Two Halves Novella first. As far as I can tell, Marked was released after Two Halves, as a "prequel", but the author retroactively decided to make it "Book 1" because,though significantly shorter, it takes place first, chronologically speaking. I wish that I had ignored the advice and started with Two Halves. I won't get into Spoilers here; I'll just say that what few interesting twists and reveals this book contains were ruined for me because I had read the prequel and easily saw everything coming. That was a real shame, because some of those twists and reveals may have helped to redeem this book a bit. I will put this in my review of Marked, as well, but to be clear - a "prequel" by definition works best when performing it's proper function: to deepen one's understanding of (and hopefully appreciation for) events and characters that you already know from the initial "main work". So for me, it was not allowed to perform that proper function. That being said, I did actually like Marked just slightly better than Two Halves, as it is a different beast altogether and revolves around secondary characters from Two Halves that are far more interesting than Sarah and William. And I probably would not have read it had I started with Two Halves.
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on July 4, 2013
Two Halves by Marta Szemik
4 of 5 stars

Sarah a vampire-human half breed, has been taking serums to suppress her vampire side to keep it hidden. She's not the only one with secrets. She thinks her best friends are human. When, in reality, Mira and Xander, the shape-shifting twins from the first novel, are tasked with protecting Sarah.

Sarah has dreamed about William her whole life. So when he shows up in town and tells her that her life is in danger, and she needs to run away with him, she does not doubt him. It is prophesied that Sarah and William will save the vampires and humans from extinction.

This is a fast-paced entertaining novel. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Two Equals.

Complimentary copy provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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on May 19, 2013
I really liked this book. Had genuine heart felt love, magic, vampires, shifters what's not to love. The main characters are very loveable. There were some good twist. Can't wait to read the next books!!
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on March 1, 2013
Very believable story due to the descriptions and characters. Great story, prefect characters and amazing ending. What else you need? I cannot wait to read more.
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on January 14, 2013
A great read for young adults who like paranormal.Many teens will be able to identify with Sarah,who feels different than the average person (because she is) and does everything she can to be a normal human. But forces of nature and her instincs take her on an adventure she would have never expected.Sarah grows through the story immensely and is a stronger and more confidant vampire who finally feels like she belongs in this world.

RICHARD B,
.
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