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Therian (The Bloody Crescent Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Paranormal romance is definitely my subgenre of choice within the huge YA umbrella, so when I heard about this one, I knew I had to check it out. I liked it! Interesting concept and great story. But there were also some things I didn't like so much about it.
Our main character is Amberlyn, a young woman who has been shielded from the outside world by being locked inside her home by her aloof father, Carmine. She has the gift of seeing someone's memories through her touch, which I thought was really awesome. But the way it was portrayed in the book most of the time kind of took away from the awesomeness. (But more on that later)
I couldn't really get invested with Amberlyn as a character. Though she's never been in contact with another human being her entire life, when she goes away to college she isn't in awe of the world around her or afraid to interact with people. She meets Taye and instantly feels an attraction to him (Twilight Alarm!), and her relationship with him is explained as their "soul being linked together." Don't get me wrong, Taye is a hotty worthy of fan-girling, but Amberlyn has never felt these sorts of things before. You'd think she'd be weirded out, confused...something!
The sense of suspense was sort of ruined for me as well in this one. Maybe I'm just smarter than most readers, but I figured out pretty much everything that was going on, lightyears before Amberlyn was even starting to pay attention. She's dreaming about ripping animals apart and having the "rush of the kill empower her." Even I know that's the quintessential trait of a werewolf. I also knew that *SPOILER ALERT* Lucard was a vampire from the very beginning. He reminded me a little too much of Edward Cullen, so maybe that's why.
One thing I thought was funky was how Amber asks for some random chick's address at the library and the lady just gives it to her without even blinking. Like...what? This is the twenty-first century. You don't just give out information like that unless you actually want to be an accessory to murder.
I, like many other readers, and a huge promoter of the "show, don't tell" mantra. And this brings me back to Amber's abilities. They are awesome, and really creative! But the author doesn't use them in a creative way. It's simply a tool to dump information about the characters' pasts on us without taking the effort to tease out those facts through their behavior. And when she did have all their memories flowing out, it was just a paragraph or two (or three) of telling me Taye's past (or any other character's) instead of showing it to me through the way he acted when his father was brought up in conversation or through the way he treats other people. Telling makes me bored, and I tend to skip the telling sections of books because they, more often than not, have no effect on the story whatsoever.
All in all, though, I really did enjoy the story. The ending was quite well done, and it has intrigued me enough to want book 2 of this series!
Amber herself is an interesting character with a strange gift that even she doesn't completely understand. I enjoyed following Amber though college life, including her first loves, meeting sexy young men, her first real best friend and the loss of her virginity. Of course, there is more to this story as it is paranormal romance: like many books of the genera there is a love triangle, possibly square: Taye, leaves her breathless but goes from hot to cold to hot again. Lucard, who is alluring but also slightly scary. Another boy name Tristian who never quite can who seems to be able to measure up to either Taye or Lucard. Without giving out too much away, there is also a dream man who excited and frightens Amber.
Overall, the book was a page-turner and there was some thought-provoking twists to the vampire/werewold legends and the storyline was interesting. My final negative comment at all is that there are many loose ends without enough foreshadowing at the end, however as this is the first book of a trilogy that is easily forgivable.
Amber has a strange gift that she tries to understand throughout the story. Her character is relatable and it was fun watching her go through the trials of first loves, experiencing college (which is such a nice break from all the highschool-targeted stories in this genre), and making a best friend who has a secret of her own. All the characters introduced throughout the story, I felt, really brought it to life. Taye who is fiercely protective and incredibly alluring. Lucard pops in and starts the questions rolling through Ambers mind about whether or not Taye is good for her. And then there is the mysterious dream man who takes away all of Amber's fears and dreams and shows her there is more going on than she knows. Add in the really bad headaches and blackouts and you're left like Amber, scrambling for the truth. You feel as if you are the one this is happening to.
About half-way in, I couldn't put this book down. I finished it in two days which is fast for me. I only wish the second were out so we could understand more about who the vampires were that rescued/kidnapped her in the end...and of course, to see what happens between Amber and Taye.
Roxanne has a talent for spinning a supernatural tale with her magical words. Her writing is beautiful and I felt every emotion Amber felt. I was scared, happy, confused, sad...which is the only thing I look for in a story. If you can't pull me in, it's over. She had no issue doing this. I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next. Hurry up with the second!!!
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