In a world divided between the Hunters and the Warriors, the prisoners who have fallen prey to King Cyrus's decrees are forced into the arena to fight until death. The winner is granted mercy and the privilege to see another sunrise–for the loser, it’s death unto the weak.
Seventeen year-old Princess Echo races towards freedom to find out who she really is, and to put a world that has been swallowed by lies back together again.
And then there’s Ayden. His very existence as a Hunter is forbidden, and with his otherworldly, violet eyes Echo is finding it hard to stay away from him. When death threatens their forbidden love Echo and Ayden are forced to do the unthinkable–how far will they go to be together?
Many thanks to Nadège Richards and Permuted Press for providing a review copy of this book.
In the reading of Burning Bridges I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I say this because I had already formed a preconceived notion of it. Richards had told me that Burning Bridges was her early work, and disclosed the fact that she felt that it was naïve and not her best. Regardless of this, I moved forward with reading it. While I recognize much of what she meant, I still find the story to be compelling. It captured my attention for reasons I can't seem to appropriately articulate. I intend to read the rest of the series. I am excited to both: see how the journey continues, and witness Richards' metamorphosis as a writer and young woman.
One may wonder how I could expect to see an author's personal growth through their writings. In this book, the author's voice is present in an almost resonant way. The narrative offers subtle reflections on personal issues such as transitions into adulthood, and universal concepts like autonomy versus governance. I anticipate this voice to become clearer and more sophisticated as the series progresses. And I couldn't be more excited.
The characters do not merely serve as a platform for the author's voice, however. Each behaves in a manner that is appropriate to their age and circumstance. Even characters which at first sight appear to be depth-less, turn out to have deeper modes and motivations. The dynamic between the characters is used well to emulate, in the reader, the range of emotions the principal characters experience. A favorite example of this is the confusion about the Queen's mercurial behavior toward her daughter.
The pacing is good, and the narrative hooks are well formed and placed. I found myself easily driven toward the end. The transitions are only awkward in a couple places. This is mostly an editing issue as it is due to incorrect announcement of which first person voice is being used.
For being traditionally published, I was surprised at the number and types of editing issues I found. In addition to the one type already mentioned, there are also quotation marks on non-dialog segments and simple typos. In an overall balance against the positive aspects, it is still a good story. It is strong enough to carry a reader beyond the distractions.
About the author (from author's page)
Nadège Richards is the author of the Bleeding Heart Trilogy and
currently attends college for her BA in journalism. Her name is of French
origin, though she's never been to France. She wrote her first novel about
aliens and goats in the 8th grade and has had a passion for story-telling ever since.
Her friends and family are her biggest inspiration, and the occasional cup of tea.
When not reading and writing obsessively, she's usually found studying, social networking, or at home with her family in sunny Pennsylvania.
"It was up to God now whether they survived or not."
Before I go into the review of this book I would first like to disclose a few things. I was not supposed to like this book. I agreed to post a fair review in exchange for a copy, but was not sure if it would even be posted on this blog (rather than just on Amazon and such). Being a romance crime novel, I had thought that it would truly not be my cup of tea, no matter how well written. I was entirely wrong. I LOVE this book. Hopefully their story will continue? Well then, let's plunge right in then!
Detective Scarlet Anne Martins, originally from South Africa, works as an investigator for the NYPD. That is, she did until her entire world is torn apart in a series of events. Conspiracy abounds, and Martins is left unable to be certain of who she can trust. Not even the disturbingly handsome and talented Alaric Blade, who at every instance appears to be her guardian angel. But is she just being maneuvered by him? This question becomes even more dangerous, as she finds herself becoming less able to resist his charms the longer she is around him. Being framed for crimes of terrorism, Martins must uncover the evidence which will bury the dirt-bags who set her up. She must do so, while avoiding capture by the police or the criminals, without resources, and before every trace of evidence evaporates. Will she get a step ahead of the game before it is too late?
What I liked about this book
Realistic Romantic Development
The main protagonists certainly do not have love at first sight. Martins started out as viewing Alaric as an overdressed, arrogant, Special Agent which had been thrust upon her investigation. Their transition from this initial contact was not easy or convenient. In fact, their relationship was a rather tenuous affair for most of the story. For those who want a story with gratuitous amounts of steaminess, this is not your book. I however, found their doubts and inconvenient circumstances to be refreshing. I don't imagine that many romance stories will delve into this aspect of relationships, but the uncertainty and unsatisfied longing made the lives of these two tangible, potent, and more realistic.
Action, Suspense, and Plot Twists
It never seems to slow down. Even when Martins and Alaric are not in imminent danger, the narrative directs attention to the torrent of their minds. Like the romantic development, the action was realistic, as nobody was some sort of rare human weapon. The constant flow of events and action kept the ball rolling smoothly. The plot was like a mythical hydra. With every answered question, came more questions.
Locales and Sensory Details
Like many other “cat and mouse” stories, Infallible follows our heroes around various settings. The diverse landscape of the East Coast is used effectively to provide new challenges as the environment changes. Quinn spared no important environmental details and sensory clues. In many instances, I found myself immersed in their world; feeling every jarring bump in the road, the biting cold of a Pennsylvania winter, and the stark terror of an armed stand-off.
What I disliked about this book
Do not read it. I have heard more than a few people say that they do not read prologues. I would suppose the common sentiment, is that prologues delay the start of stories and can create confusion instead of questions. In this instance the latter accusation is especially true. There were times where I had re-read a paragraph several times just to get the pronouns sorted out. While this may be a failing on my part as a reader, I still believe that certain things should definitely not be displayed out of context.
While I try to not to look too deeply into the accuracy of technical details in a story, there are some instances where the error is provocative to the point of distracting. To be entirely fair, many of the technical errors I found would be overlooked by most readers, as specific training or education would be needed to spot them. There are two exceptions of “I'm just being obsessive,” and merit mention:
(1) References of position and movement within a complex building. When a character's movement has enough details, I not only visualize it, but also see the spatial orientation. That is, my mind keeps track of where they are, and how they got there. In one scene, there was some ambiguity of how the prison facility was laid out. I lost my inertia as I tried to figure it out. I would either suggest vague descriptions, or a detailed model to serve as a reference.
(2) Continuity of characters present within a scene. Much like visualizing the layout of a building, I also see the positioning of people within it. In the prison scene, I had to go back and start counting people up. More detail should be given to explaining arrivals, departures, and encounters of characters.
I recommend this book, as a challenge, to anyone who think they can't enjoy a romance.
About Bailey Quinn (from author's website, edited for updated info)
Bailey Quinn is the pen name for Award winning YA science fiction writer, Carlyle Labuschagne who resides in the beautiful country of South Africa. This die-hard dreamer who is fascinated by a great story is compelled to share these imaginary worlds with others.
Her love for writing spills over into every aspect of her life where she has founded a library project aimed at the youth, creator of SAIR writers events, and is co-founder of a publishing company. Her other addictions include cappuccino, being outdoors with her loves ones, and avoiding dishes at all cost.
Her next SF crime thriller Tethered, set for release in 2017, also takes place in the wonderfully exciting city of NYC where she has visited a few times and found that by writing about it - will keep the city in her heart and mind forever more...
I love books! For most of my life I have been reading them, and giving my insights to friends and family. This blog is for sharing that passion with the many others that love books too.