Unhidden (The Gatekeeper Chronicles #1) by Dina M Given

I received this book for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

unhidden

Unhidden is the story of Emma, a mercenary with amnesia. She lives in modern day New York City and works alongside Daniel, a younger brother type figure she met in a foster home, and Jason the good looking ex-military man who shares an awkward past with the heroine.

During one mission, Emma comes into contact with a foe that works with the darker forces of the unknown and magical world. This shakes her up and leads her on the path to discover who she is and where she comes from.

There are some likeable characters in Unhidden and others with real potential. The main character, Emma, is an echo of Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake. She dresses like her, looks like her and acts like her. Emma throws around the one-liners, clichés and pop culture references.

As a first book in the series, I was eager to learn everything I could about the world of Emma and her cohorts. By chapter three I was still left wanting. The action in this story was not an issue, but I wanted to know more about Emma. I wanted to feel connected to her and follow her on her journey but I didn’t feel like I knew anything about her until halfway through the book. This left me a little disappointed.

The movie and TV references became a little much for me by the end of the book. However, in the second half of the book the various supernatural creatures came in to play and the action sped up. From here the story took on quite an interesting turn.

I felt the writing was rushed. There were many times when the characters would agree they need to go somewhere and in the next sentence they were stepping off a train at the location. In the sentence after that they were getting out of a taxi. There’s not a need for a blow by blow description but there should be, at the very least, a bridging action that takes us from each scene. It was confusing and because it happens a number of times in the book, it slowed the narrative.

Overall, it was interesting story. If you like early Anita Blake or the middle seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer then you will probably like this book. It received a number of four star reviews and a lot of buzz. For me, I wanted a little more from this book. Unhidden is available now via Amazon or City Owl Press.

2.5/5

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

I finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone last week. As I closed the book on the last page all I could say was ‘wow’. A unique and powerful book, Laini Taylor has crafted what is now one of my favourite books.

The story follows Karou, an arts student living in Prague who has an adopted family not of this world. World building is strong and captivating. The subtle nuances that mark the two different worlds Karou lives in are strong. The language used differs enough that were we not taken on the transition between Earth and Elsewhere, we would still recognise where we (and the characters!) are.

Without daughter-of-smoke-and-bonespoiling the story, Karou becomes cut off from Elsewhere and has to find her way back to her family. Joined by an enigmatic and mysterious companion, Karou journeys to find not only her way home, but where she comes from.

As I mentioned before, the world building was amazing in this story. The images leap from the page and the artistry in the landscape of the story is a perfect mirror to Karou’s art, which plays a large part of her story. This in turn bolsters the character building of the story. Every player in this story is well thought out and vibrant.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantastical and lavish stories. It’s an engaging read with beautiful language and characters.

5/5