Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Under my Skin by Shawntelle Madison

Book Blurb: Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets... For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn't something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate's result thrusts her into the Guild's world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself. Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate's mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate's body, and love might end before it even begins. One part Invasion of the Body Snatchers and one part Robert Heinlein's classic I Will Fear No Evil, Under My Skin blends glamour with terror. My Review: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
Genre: Supernatural, Dystopian, Another World-- Tate went to the testing as required, expecting to fail the test as a Water Bearer and be sent home, just like her parents were. Instead, she is chosen and must say goodbye to her old life forever. Tate has no idea what to expect, but the reality is far scarier than anything she could have imagined. I really like this author and her Coveted urban fantasy series so I was excited to pick up a fantasy/kind of dystopian by her. But the first 30 pages of the book made me very leery mainly due to the fact that it was incredibly similar to a ton of books I have read recently. Girl from a poor area gets selected for an honor that is mysterious but must be amazing. Girl is treated well for a short period of time before nefarious activities occur. I was really bummed and not very interested in what I was reading. And then something happened and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. What started as a boring overused plot turned into something sinister and original. I may not be completely in love with this story, but wow was I taken off guard by the turn the book took. I don’t want to say too much and give something away, but I am pretty sure I can guarantee the originality the story displayed. I personally was taken by complete surprise. I am not convinced that I like Tate. I will agree that she is a fighter when it comes to some things, but in other respects she is a pushover. Tate has a scar on her face from having a cleft palate as a child which was stitched closed, but not with the care that it perhaps should have been shown. This scar has caused her to lack the confidence she needs to succeed in life. Everything she does is tempered by the fact she has a scar on her face. I understand that she is surrounded by beautiful perfect people, but I really have never thought much about cleft scars. I mean really, they are not the disfiguring monstrosity Tate makes hers out to be. Maybe hers was poorly done, but after 16 years I feel like that would make you a stronger person, not a weaker one, and I fault Tate every time she covers her face when in public so people can’t look. She allows herself to be manipulated by her insecurities time and time again and I was disappointed in her. At times I felt like the book took a tangent about Tate being forced to do things that were against her ethics or standards, such as eating meat. The author would go on about how Tate despised meat and then describe the cursed animal carcass on the plate in front of her, but then other things that I felt were incredibly important were glossed over. You know, little things like plot developments. Details were spent describing the conditions that were forced on Tate and her disgust for them, yet her acts of rebellion and information gathering were glossed over. It felt like the first 30 pages were there to bore me and get my guard down, and then the next 200 were to set up a dangerous dark world full of torture, and then the last 20 were a plan and resolution. I would have appreciated a little bit more of the parts that I deemed “interesting”, such as Tate participating in the rebellion, her researching the General, rescuing the imprisoned brother, the conclusion… As a side note, Tate left her “prison” freely all the time, which seems a little bit lacking in the security aspect, but what would I know. Overall this was a really unique book, with a huge plot twist and a well developed world. As great as that seems, for some reason I just could not connect to Tate or get invested in the story. I know a lot of people will really enjoy this book and I will recommend it to others who are looking for something new. I still really like this author and look for more from her in the future, just probably not anything else in this series. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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