by Cristin Lee4 out of 5
Kate Parker, is a 17 year old senior living in Texas. She's on the swim team, has two incredible best friends, and a passion for saving animals. She falls hard when she meets a mysterious and fascinating guy named Lucas. He has a sexy accent and a killer smile. However, she sees unexplained pain and anger in his dark brown eyes. He claims he’s a foreign exchange student from Spain who is attending the local University—Kate knows there’s more to his story than that. She works hard to discover who he is—what he is.
Kate has everything she could want, good friends and family, easy grades and a happy life. When Lucas enters her life, she couldn't begin to imagine where that would lead.
I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review (so there may be a few changes between this and the finished copy).
The first half of the book reads very much like a YA Romance, before the Fantasy elements start to affect the story and dominates the second half.
Kate is an interesting and likeable character. She loves to swim; is constantly rescuing abandoned and injured animals; and she happens to have the knack of remembering everything she has ever seen read and heard. (Which I immediately had flashbacks to Sheldon Cooper's eidetic memory)
She has a nice level of normality, squabbling with her brothers and acting the fool around those she's close to.
She's smart, and her memory means that she excels at school. Kate is rightly proud of this, but uses it to try and help the others in her life.
She has never given much notice to boys, but is instantly drawn to the sexy foreign college guy Lucas.
Lucas is... mysterious. He has more experience of the world than anyone Kate knows, and he obviously has something troubling in his background. He is normally kind and (relatively) honest with Kate, but he has anger issues that threaten everything.
As you discover where Lucas really comes from, I loved the world that Lee has created. It has some original spins on a dystopian society. There were little bits of background that all helped to make it very real and interesting. (I loved the part about the weather control - it was only a few lines, but it stayed with me).
It used too many YA tropes - they're not badly done; just done sooo much already. In fact, I would guarantee that anyone that likes Twilight will love this.
Kate is beautiful, but doesn't really know it. Kate is special. Her best friend Stephen is in love with her, and she's the only one who doesn't know it. Lucas is the mysterious new guy with a secret. Kate's the only girl he's ever been interested in. He's super-protective of her.
The other thing about this book is I really think the perception of the reader will decide what they think of it overall.
How to explain... I think anyone that went gaga for the romance of Twilight and Fifty Shades will be equally in love with the relationship between Kate and Lucas.
Personally, I found Kate's world disturbing.
In the beginning, her family are introduced as open and loving; but this quickly gets translated into over-bearing and restrictive. Between her brothers and best friend Stephen, Kate is cocooned and controlled. Not even mentioning her father, a professional psychiatrist who has anger issues of his own if he would let his arm burn in a barbecue just because he's meeting his daughter's new boyfriend. And Kate just accepts this as the way it is, never railing against the unfairness.
With this being Kate's normal life, it's not surprising that she is drawn to Lucas, who is sweet and loving, but has a dangerous and possessively protective side that could rival Edward Cullen (wow, three Twilight references in one post - I'm gonna stop now).
This gave the whole story a dark edge, especially with Lucas' guilt-free ability to kill people in a blink.
So overall, it had a little too much romance for my tastes, and I wasn't quite sure whether the author was going for fluffy or dark (or an interesting mix of the two); but I think this is a cracking debut and I will definitely be following the rest of the series.