It is Friday eve.... how are you faring this week? I have been super busy cleaning, grocery shopping and prepping for Thanksgiving. It is busy but fun. I am looking forward to having a few fun days next week and hopefully the plan is to sneak in a few fun reads for myself. Before we get there, though, I have an astounding sequel and giveaway to share. On Monday, I reviewed book one: The Farm by Emily McKay. This was a chilling and original dystopian that totally recharged my love for dystopians. Luckily I didn't have to wait an entire year for the sequel, sometimes procrastination pays off! Unfortunately, I am now stuck waiting for the next book, drat! What I can tell you is that this is an exciting, action packed, edge of your seat series. Book two had so many jaw dropping surprises. I was floored. If you are hungering for an terrific dystopian read, get these books!
I have my review of The Lair along with a giveaway today!
The Lair (The Farm #2) by Emily McKay
In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . .
After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.
Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.
But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Berkley Trade
Source: Publisher for an honest review
Four stars: An astonishing sequel with some sneaky surprises!
Lily, Carter and Mckeena arrived safely at Base Camp to find the camp is in turmoil. A Tick attack has everyone on edge. Carter quickly moves into action and reestablishes his leadership. A few months pass and everyone is itching for Spring, but they are buckled down and bent on survival. Carter is eager to hunt down more supplies while Lily is longing to be a more active participant. The two are always clashing over Lily's involvement in the war. Carter insists on her remaining behind at Base Camp in order for her to be safe, but the headstrong Lily has other ideas. Meanwhile, Mel is learning to adapt to her new lifestyle. The Ticks keep coming and they seem to be evolving and getting smarter. Can the small resistance somehow rise and beat back the Ticks?
What I Liked:
- I think many of us seasoned readers go into the second book of a series with a bit of trepidation wondering if it will live up to expectations after the thrilling read experienced with the first book. We wonder will the romance continue to please? Will the plot move in solid, strong and exciting directions? Will there be new and interesting characters? Most of all, we hope that the book will avoid the dreaded middle book syndrome. I am pleased to report that The Lair does indeed avoid the middle book syndrome. The plot expands out into several new and exciting leads, while introducing us to a few new characters. It builds upon the strong foundation in the first book and takes us into some thrilling new territory. The ending is absolutely phenomenal with its stunning revelations. It does an exceptional job in setting up the third book in the series, and I can't wait to get my hands on it! Don't hesitate get this one!
- The plot expands into unexpected directions in this installment. At first, it seems that the gang is going to hole up and build up a resistance, but then there are some new developments. There is a report of a Farm on the verge of dropping its gates and feeding all the teenagers to the Ticks. Carter and the others decide to mount a rescue mission. Meanwhile, Lily is struggling with always being left behind so she sets out with Mckenna and Ely, a trusted friend of Carter's, to head to Canada. Mel is busy learning to become a vampire under Sebastian. At first, it seems that all these story lines are extending out and that they have no hope of coming together, but amazingly most of them come together effortlessly at the end. I loved the new and unexpected direction this story took. It exceeded my expectations.
- The ending absolutely blew me away. Even though it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, I was so intrigued by the twists and surprises that I didn't see coming that it was easy to overlook. The final portion of the book is an absolute thrill ride as the story starts pulling together and big revelations are thrown down. It becomes a book where everything and everyone you thought you knew are turned upside down. Big props to Ms. McKay for pulling off a spectacular finish.
And The Not So Much:
- More often than not, the romances in second books seem to falter. While Lily and Carter's romance at the end of the first book had still not settled into a strong, solid relationship things were moving in a promising direction. This time out, they struggle as they fight over Lily's role. Carter wants her to stay holed up and safe, while she wants to do her part. They end up having a bit of a misunderstanding that leads to Lily trekking up to Canada. The whole thing could have been avoided if Lily had taken the time to talk things through, but she continues to remain impetuous. Carter is at fault too with the way that he smothers Lily. I am certain it is going to get there, but at this point it is going to take time.
- While I enjoyed the new directions the story took, I was bothered that a couple of the story lines after getting up and running, just dropped out of the book with no further discussion. The people hiding out in Utah was one story line that seemed to be important especially with the inclusion of Darren and Dawn into the group, but the two are barely mentioned after that second encounter. The whole rescue mission of the base camp is dropped and not discussed again, what was up with that? It was built up to be a major event in the book and then it goes nowhere. The whole thing with Ely, too. What was the deal with him? I am guessing that these will be followed up in the next book, but I wasn't expecting after the time spent on them for them to just fade out without further mention. The plot becomes a bit scattered and it doesn't stay as tight as in the first book.
- There is a big emphasis on this need for Sebastian to kill Roberto. At the end of the book, I didn't feel like everything added up. Why did Sebastian have such a long feud and vendetta against Roberto? What happened between them? This is an important detail left out once the original cover story is blown apart.
- This book is once again told with a trio of view points: Mel, Carter and Lily. I complained that the narratives in the first book featured Lily and Mel's in first person while Carter's was told in third person. This time around, Lily's switches to third person while Carter's goes to first. I am not a fan of this tactic and I wish that the author would go with all three in first person. It makes the read a bit jarring to have the switch. I also missed the beautiful, lyrical narratives from Mel. This isn't a spoiler since it is laid out in the synopsis, but Mel is now a vampire and she is no longer autistic so her narratives are missing the lovely, musical references and metaphors and such that I loved so much from the first book.
The Lair definitely delivers with an astonishing story line and some exceptional twists. I loved that this book took me completely by surprise and that it ended in such spectacular fashion. I am now a big fan of this series, and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment. If you are a fan of brilliant dystopians definitely get yourself these books! I highly recommend!
"I wake to a thirst unlike any I've every known. My body is a violin string plucked by hunger. I throb with it. Pulse with it. Vibrate with it. Sing with it."
"I am a Slinky knotted over on myself. My beautiful coils twisted out of shape. The song my body sings is of agony and anguish."
"Strength earns you choices. This has always been true. It's as simple as that. You want the right to determine your own destiny, you fight for it."
"When you loved someone, it wasn't always about keeping them safe. It was about caring enough to let them make their own decisions. It wasn't about control or protection. It was about respect. I'd learned that the hard way."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Speaking of publishers, The wonderful folks over at Penguin Publishing are allowing me to give away a copy of The Lair to one lucky U.S. resident. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflecopter. Good Luck!