Title: Amber Smoke
Series: The Escaped #1
Author: Kristin Cast
Source: NetGalley. Thanks for the approval, Diversion Books!
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Time for the promised ARC review of Amber Smoke 🙂
First off, why I even requested this ARC. I have read some of the House of Night series books (at least the first four or five) and I liked the first ones, but further on in the series I kind of lost interest (and the series is 10+ books!). But I thought – hey, this author’s previous works weren’t bad, wonder what else she can come up with. And, naturally, the synopsis of the book also intrigued me (who would request a book without being interested in it, anyway?). So I requested and was surprised by the approval. I mean, I’m still a newbie blogger, so I was not expecting to get approved on a title by a (as far as I know) well-known author. But, obviously, it’s cool being approved. Yay! Thanks, Diversion Books!
At the start, I was surprised by the text. It was in italics. It was just surprising that a book starts off with text in italics. And it goes on for pages. I almost thought that the whole book will be like that (never seen anything like it before, but how am I supposed to know what publishers come up with :D). But the italics were only for the prologue part, where the backstory/history is introduced for the main story. So don’t be scared by the italics!
I liked that the main female character, Eva, was 23. To me, this age just seems a bit unusual, you don’t see it often (at least I haven’t seen it lately). I mean, there are a lot more books (not counting sequels, because, obviously, people get older with time, even in books) with MCs that are under 23, like, barely 21 or around 18. But over 21 – not that many. Not that age really bothers me or mattered here, but it was a nice change.
I also have to add that the age didn’t really do much for the MC, at least it didn’t seem so. With her age difference, she didn’t feel any different from younger MCs from other books. Her age didn’t make her feel more mature or anything. I didn’t really fall and/or feel for Eva, overall. And the age most definitely didn’t matter for the male MC, Alec, who seemed kind of flat. There was something in him, but not much. Mainly, his looks was all he got going for him, which is a bit sad. And then his ‘warrior and saviour’ mantra. Please stop repeating that! He also seemed to have some self-worth issues. At one moment he’s all cool and warrior, the next – he’s not sure if he’s warrior enough and what not. Yes, that happens in life, too, but here it was quite annoying. And something was lacking in Eva as well, but she did feel more fleshed out than Alec.
The story had a lot of potential. That synopsis! And Greek mythology, which the book features, is cool and fun (if you don’t mind the weirdness and some creepiness). But the story does not really deliver. At least not yet, maybe the sequels bring something more to the table.
But there were some nice moments. I had some little laughs. Especially at that tiny nod to House of Night series where kids play vampires with crescent moons on their foreheads. That was kind of cool.
Otherwise the story was quite slow. At times it picked up, but then slowed again. Yes, stories tend to go that way, but here the slow part was quite long and the action part not long enough. And then there was weirdness and the end. Yes, the book ends in a quite “huh?” way. Eva and Alec meet maybe in the middle of the book. And they meeting is not particularly long. Shit happens and they’re separated, then some randomness, they see each other, some randomness. The end. It’s just that, to me, the synopsis seemed to promise so much more than I got.
All in all, the book was okay. It wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t great. The characters needed more, the story needed more. Overall, it felt promising, but just did not deliver. But it was likeable. Definitely not worth a re-read, but it is worth at least a shot.
Squirrel gives Amber Smoke 3 nuts because the premise was promising and some things were okay, but overall there were a bunch of disappointments. Give this book a go, if the synopsis speaks to you, but don’t forget to lower your expectations, since the book does not deliver what it promises.