Caroline for Big Book Little Book
Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Like the thick stone and steel walls which surround the city of Baalboden, the archaic rules of the society are as restrictive to the people as they are protective.
Under the guise of Protection women are brought up to be dependent on the males in their life and obedient to them. Designated to the care and responsibility of a Protector, usually their father and later, a husband, women have no autonomy. Instead all decisions, from where a woman can go to whom she can marry, are made for her.
Every movement is chaperoned and traceable and the punishments for non-compliance are extreme; the last woman caught visiting the market without her protector accompanying her, was subjected to capital punishment.
While her peers were playing house Rachel, a motherless only child, was training with knives, swords and a bow. When her cohort's educations focused on their future role as wives and mothers, Rachel was encouraged to think for herself.
Impulsive, often to the detriment of those associated with her and despite the potential repercussions, Rachel has no qualms about dropping everything, scaling the wall that encloses the city and searching for her missing father Jared.
As the only other person with the conviction that Jared still lives, Logan should be a natural ally in the search for Rachel's missing parent. But an animosity exists between them, born out of hurt pride, humiliation and awkwardness.
While Rachel is impetuous, Logan is a deep analytical thinker, considering the best and worst case scenarios for every plan of action. Don't be fooled by his attention to detail, nerdy focus on his inventions and awkwardness around the opposite sex. Logan is a hot boy with a sword and he knows exactly how to use it.
I really don't know how to effectively express my love for this fantastic debut.
CJ has crafted a pacey, action packed, kick-arse, pseudo-historical dystopian, with fantasy, sci-fi and Steampunk elements. Thrilling, heart in your mouth action, sits side by side with uncomfortably honest narration, emotive, gut retching scenes, profound observations and an almost poetic descriptive prose.
Rather than being uncomfortably full and sickly from taking a bite out of every pie you are left with the experience of having tried a wonderfully unique flavor combination that experimental chef Heston Blumenthal would be proud of.
A romance junkie at heart, I simply adored the developing relationship between the two main protagonists. A foundation of friendship, turned sour by defensive pride, our protagonists have to wade through misunderstanding and miss communications before acknowledging that their uncomfortable, passionate responses to each other are formed from love, not hate.
Not only has CJ created two flawed but immensely likeable characters whose chemistry sizzles off of the page. But by writing a first person, dual narrative she has given us front row seats to the toe curling, breath catching action
Verdict: I feel like CJ Redwine sat down with a checklist of my favorite fictional ingredients, seamlessly combining them together in to one spectacularly decorated, mouthwatering treat. All that was missing from this surprising gift was an out of tune rendition of "Happy Birthday ".