Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them. Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption. (From Goodreads)
“I had to go backward before I could go forward.”
So, first off, I want to thank the author Shannon A. Thompson for contacting me and asking me to review her book, or books I should say because I will be reviewing the second part of this soon. This is my first author requested review and I so appreciate getting requests! Now, onto the review.
I was told that at one point this was a complete book but has now been split into two. In my humble opinion I don’t really agree that was the best decision. It sort of cuts off abruptly at the end, just when things were picking up and I was getting into the story. All of that being said, this was still a good read.
While I enjoyed the overall concept this book had to offer I kept feeling like I was stuck in the X-Men universe the whole time without all of the action to grab ahold of me and really pull me into the narrative. It was basically like watching the mutants take classes and hang out with each other all day and learn about their every day lives. Now it’s not that an idea like that couldn’t be exciting, or even interesting, but for some reason I kept feeling like I didn’t know enough about how the abilities were obtained, how the world in which these kids existed came to be, or what the overall tension was that the characters were striving to overcome.
The characters themselves were interesting, although sometimes the way they spoke could seem a bit disjointed, and I liked the family dynamic that Thompson was going for. I honestly would’ve preferred reading this more as a Contemporary novel with no fantasy or science fiction elements, with the focus being more on the kids and their love for one another, than to have read it as a fantasy book which lacked some world development.
Thompson obviously seems to enjoy writing about the interplay between characters and how they form relationships with one another within these worlds she creates and the focus of the book is definitely character driven as it alternates between the POVs of Serena and Daniel. They were both good characters but since there were so many other side characters as well to fit into the “flock” dynamic that is important to the book, some depth gets lost along the way and nothing about them really sticks out. Robert, Serena’s co-flock leader was actually the character I found myself wanting to know more about throughout the book. Hopefully there will be more about him in the next one.
There wasn’t much romance to speak of, or at least not that I was intensely aware of. You get the hint that the main characters are likely going to be paired off into a relationship, but the way they speak to each other can be somewhat awkward at times (and not necessarily in a cute way), and then there are several secondary characters that have relationships as well. Again, the main focus of this book completely screamed “family” to me and what the characters were willing to do to protect each other while also keeping themselves safe.
The pacing of the book was good and I got through it at a pretty fast pace, the only issue was that the book isn’t high on the action or suspense so the enjoyment of the read comes from wanting to know more about the characters themselves and less about the resolution of the overall big plot.
I’m looking forward to delving into the next book to see what unfolds for the characters as I get deeper into the story, and I’m hoping that there will be a little more action, maybe some romance and more info on just how this world came to be cause right now I’m still feeling a little bit in the dark.