Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review: Unleashed

Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles #1)
Narrated By: Tara Sands
Published By: Random House Audio
Publication Date: November 2011
Audio Length: 11 hours, 34 minutes
Source: Library
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal

On the Story & Writing:

This is my first experience reading something crafted by Holder and Viguié. I wasn't sure what to expect and I honestly can't explain why I chose to start the journey with their writing with this book. I suppose it had something to do with a cool cover and an inkling that werewolves would be involved. 

Its not uncommon in YA literature for their to be a main character who is dealing the death of one or both parents. However, I haven't read about someone who loses both parents in such tragic ways in awhile. Katelyn McBride has lost everything - her father was murdered when she was a youth, her mother has been snatched away from her by a devastating earthquake that also destroyed her home and belongings. Katelyn must leave behind everything she has every known in Los Angeles to move in with her grandfather in the isolated Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. You would expect to feel sorry for a character who has had to deal with so much tragedy in their young life, but Katelyn was really hard for me to find sympathetic for long. 

Katelyn makes numerous jokes about being in the backwoods of Arkansas - while none of them are overly offensive - its still frustrating to see a character perpetuate ignorant stereotypes about the rural south. I can give Katelyn props for growing out of that mentality once she has been a resident of Wolf Springs for awhile. She soon realizes its not really the country folk she has to worry about - something much more sinister is lurking in the forest and there are two dead girls to prove it. I also just found the decisions Katelyn made throughout most of the book to be just plain stupid. It made it hard to be on her side. My rating of this book really came down to my feelings about Katelyn. I spent so much of the book rolling my eyes at her life threatening stupidity that it left a sour taste in my mouth. On a positive note, Katelyn did begin to redeem herself towards the end of the book. I have high hopes that by the time the trilogy is done I will be on her side.

I did really enjoy the portrait of small town life that is conjured up by Wolf Springs. I liked the feel of isolation and community. My family is originally from a small, isolated mountain town in the Appalachians of western North Carolina. I was able to see my experiences visiting that town as a kid reflected in Katelyn's experiences. Furthermore, I really loved the folklore that was worked into this one. The strong sense of place makes this novel really appealing to me and I will finish the series. 

In spite of my bleh response to Katelyn I did find the supporting cast of characters to be fascinating. Combined with the setting, they truly make this book worth your time. Trick, Katelyn's handsome neighbor, provides some of that artsy, sensitive crush material. I have a suspicion that there is much more to him than meets the eye. Although, I didn't get any support of this inference within this edition. Perhaps he's just your average teen guy - we shall see. In addition to Trick, there is another male character that will have your heart pounding - Justin. Oh, Justin - think resident bad boy who drives a motorcycle. Didn't we all have crushes on those sort at one point or another? He's also seriously covered in internal turmoil which makes him intriguing and dangerous. Finally, I loved Cordelia and her crazy family drama. I did find it interesting that Cordelia has a sister named Regan, which triggered memories of reading King Lear in my college Shakespeare course. I suppose its lucky that the other sister is named Ariel (another Shakespeare nod, I am sure) rather than being stuck with the tragic moniker of Goneril. 

On the Audio:

I can't recall if I have ever listened to something narrated by Tara Sands before. She did a decent job with the book. There were times when her voice made me cringe - I loathed the voice she used for Kimmy. I also wasn't impressed with her ability to do a southern accent. More than once I considered if my aversion to Katelyn was really because of the character OR if it was because of Sand's narration. The audio is mediocre; I probably won't listen to the future books. I'll pick them up in a more traditional format.


One Last Gripe: I didn't like the cliffhanger at the end. It just felt like this one ended too abruptly.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The folklore and Shakespeare allusions

First Sentence: I can fly.

Favorite Character: Cordelia

Least Favorite Character: Katelyn



Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything.

Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs.



4 comments:

  1. I have not read this book yet. I have read their other collaborative series Wicked and Wicked 2 that were amazing.

    I have to give this book a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read their other stuff so I can't compare there, but I ended up really liking it. It just had some bumpy moments.

      Delete
  2. I've had Unleashed on my desk since the week it was released! I REALLY need to get to it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling you're gonna enjoy Trick & Justin. :)

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