Book Review: Amber Smoke

Amber Smoke (The Escaped #1)
Published By: Diversion Publishing
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Page Count: 275
Source: Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: New Adult - Paranormal, Greek Mythology

I enjoyed the first few books of the House of Night series, so I thought I'd give this new series by Kristin Cast a go. I was also drawn to the premise. The Underworld is facing a severe crisis as some of the worst evil beings in history have escaped Tartarus and have fled into the modern world. The only hope humanity has left is Alek, the son of the Furies, and Eva, a human who is a descendant of Pythia, one of the most famous oracles in Greek mythology.

This sounds awesome, right? I was beyond excited to get to this one on my reading schedule. Perhaps I placed my expectations too high. While the premise has tons of potential, the execution fell flat for me. I didn't connect with the characters and the dialogue felt fake. I don't know many people who talk like these characters. I found myself irked by the dialogue throughout the entire novel. I kept rolling my eyes at the asinine comments; it felt juvenile and detracted from the seriousness of the plot.

I did keep plodding along in spite of not loving the novel. There is merit here, for sure, but this novel didn't hold my interest. There were some twists that perked me up, but the overall reading experience was just average.

The Greek mythology components were intriguing and I found that I preferred reading the segments with the Furies. The modern scenes were not as strong. I also struggled with the pacing; it felt slow as if I was trudging through honey. There was a considerable amount of things happening that should have created a frenzy of activity, but I didn't get that feeling from the pacing. I wanted things to move along at a faster clip rather than staying mired in the exposition.

All in all, this was an okay read, but I am not sure I will continue with the series. I can't justify spending my reading time with a series that didn't keep me riveted. I loved the idea behind this one and I do feel this will appeal to some readers, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm hoping Cast will introduce more action in the next novel as this novel truly felt like all world building and exposition. I also crave more of her Underworld writing. I feel is she had infused that intensity into the modern scenes, I would have enjoyed this more. I was frustrated when I had to be pulled back to the modern realm.

One Last Gripe: There was no closure in the ending.

Favorite Thing About the Book: The prologue

First Sentence: The ancients knew them as the Furies, seekers of justice.

Favorite Character: Maiden

Least Favorite Character: Bridget - she annoyed me almost every time she opened her mouth

There is a world that runs parallel to our own, a world in which the souls of the damned are caged, where they are looked over by the Furies, and where they spend eternity in torment, mirroring the devastation and mayhem they created when alive.

Someone has opened the cage.

The worst of terrors has crossed the barrier that separates our world from theirs, and the Furies send a great, albeit untested warrior—their only son, Alek—to try to bring those souls back. He is young and handsome, headstrong and impulsive, and he won’t be able to do it alone. 

Eva has grown up, beautiful and beloved, but surrounded by secrets. First, she will be hunted in an ancient feud that will threaten her life. Then, she will become the hunter.

With the police closing in and two worlds on the verge of crumbling around them, Alek and Eva must find each other, discover the limits of their powers, and work together to save everything they hold dear, including one another. Blending elements of mythology with the dazzling storytelling that her fans have devoured through the House of Night series, Kristin Cast weaves a spellbinding and passionate tale that starts a thrilling new series with an explosive charge.