Saturday, December 20, 2014

ARC Review: Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison

Under My Skin (Immortality Strain, #1)From the 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.

Heather's rating:

Close, but no cigar.

In the sea of young adult dystopian books out there, I think this one really stands out. The concept is truly fabulous and wholly original. I've not read anything like it in this genre. Though it isn't hard to suss out what is going to happen after the first few chapters, and the blurb gives it all away, I think it is more exciting if the details of the plot are left to a surprise.

For the first 30% of the book, I was fully engaged. Honestly, it is creepy as hell, and I was good freaked out. I was preparing for this to be a 4 or 5 star read... then things started going a little wonky.

First of all, I'm just going to throw this out there: Not all books are made to be a romance. I HATED the romantic aspect of this story. What a contrived, circumstantial paring Tate and Quinn were. Just strange. I would have much rather this book have no romance at all, or have the romance come in book 2. The covert kissing and holding hands when these two have nothing in common and don't talk at all was just ridiculous to me.

I also thought that resistance was dumb as rocks. Seriously, rocks. Why on earth would you tell Tate anything when you know that Dagon could be listening at any time. He had moments when he was paying attention and Tate didn't realize, why not when she was with the resistance or when she was talking to her servant girls?

My biggest issue with the book was how underdeveloped the world-building was. What happens to the people who don't get bid on? Do they get killed? Become other servants? Why would the Guild like stronger people? Doesn't that seem risky? Because we know things can go haywire, because of Quinn's story. And that side plot with Quinn's brother? Weird.

It all just became the same tired YA dystopian stuff that I've read before. What was a really interesting and unique concept was totally wasted. I wanted more danger, more creepiness, more consequences, more difficulty, and LESS ROMANCE (and I never thought I'd be saying that!).

Maybe I'll have better luck with my next one in this genre.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

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Catch ya later!

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