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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book Review: Bloodmark (Bloodmark Saga #1)

Release Date: November 1, 2013
Author: Aurora Whittet
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Length: 333 pages
Source: Finished Copy from Author

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known.

In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?

    

Review:

Protagonist: Ashling Boru, while described time and time again as an active, take charge, headstrong, and stubborn narrator and protagonist, fell a bit flat for me. Sure there were times when she would take action and be every bit the girl she's described as, but unfortunately she those moments were fairly short and I felt like I was being told more about who Ashling is rather than being shown it through her actions. As the book progressed Ashling's character became more defined and achieved a much better depth of character than she had in the for most of the book.

Romance: Insta-Love Alert! Yes, this book has a very tragically terrible case of insta-love. Honestly, I was a bit bored with this romance. Once again there was a lot more talk than action when it came to Ash and Grey's romance. All I would read was how much these characters loved each other, how much they want to protect each other, but I never really felt a true bond between them, and the chemistry was nearly non-existent. I just wish there was more description of what these characters feel for each other rather than just being told, because it all felt so superficial and had me wanting more depth. But, like with Ash's character, the romance gets marginally better toward the end of the book.

World-Building: The world-building of this book was off the hook. The politics of the werewolf culture were very detailed, and while there was a bit of confusion about them toward the end of the book, for the most part they were very concrete and plainly executed. My only problem was that some of the pack rules were taught to Ashling, which I didn't mind, but then she'd later bring them up with a detail that felt like she had known them her whole life which felt a bit inconsistent. In terms of action scenes, ironically the fights that seemed like they'd be longer, the "boss battles" if you will, were over faster than I could even blink even though they truly seemed like they'd go on for a while, but the far less significant battles were written longer with a bit more action and detail. As for the plot itself, I found that there were numerous similarities to both the Twilight series, minus the dysfunctional relationship, by Stephanie Meyer and the Firelight trilogy, minus the love triangle, by Sophie Jordan. These similarities weren't necessarily bad, more of an observation, and the similarities to Twilight were pretty much kept to the things I had initially enjoyed about the series and less the things that would later lead my disappointment about the series.

Predictability: Unfortunately, most of the twists and big reveals that I knew were supposed to be shocking, were really easy for me to guess. There were many smaller reveals and twists that became nice surprises, but that would really only be because of either the much more subtle foreshadowing or lesser mention of foreshadowing details. The over foreshadowing really ruined a lot of the surprises for this book. For the next books in this series I'm hoping the foreshadowing will be a lot less abrupt and the twists a bit less cliched.

Ending: If you couldn't tell the ending really saved this book for me and elevated it to a whole other level. The basic plot of this installment was wrapped up nice a few chapters before the actual end of the book, and the rest of the end set up a great plot tease for the next book in the series. There were a few things that ended up seeming rushed, or in some cases out of character, but what was written at a good pace was amazing. The very end did seem to come out of no where, but that doesn't change how much it's intriguing me. I can honestly say that I cannot wait to see what comes next in this series.

Rating:



This may have been the hardest book I've had to rate to date. On the one hand I did really enjoy reading this book, but there were a lot of glaring flaws. This book isn't perfect, far from it actually, but it's entertaining and I was genuinely impressed by the world this author has created. I can't wait for the second book, Bloodrealms to come out!

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