Happy Thursday! We are almost to the Labor Day Holiday weekend here in the U.S. That means one more weekend to get out and enjoy summer as this is the official closing weekend of the summer season. If you aren't one who wants to deal with traffic and crowds, how about settling in with a few good books for the weekend? I have a terrific book for you all today. Smoked by Mari Mancusi, the final book in the Scorched Series. If you are new to the series, it is an exciting one. It features dragons, time travel and an impending apocalypse. I had a great time with this series, and I recommend it to fans of YA fantasy who like a bit of complexity. I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the Smoked Tour today. For you all, I have a guest post from author Mari Mancusi as well as my review and a giveaway. So let's start with Mari's guest post.
DRAGONS: CAUGHT ON TAPE
When I started writing the Scorched series, one of the most interesting parts was imagining how people in our time would react to seeing dragons in real life. How would they react? What would they do? Would they be frightened, fascinated—maybe a little of each? Would the cable news stations debate the reality of their existence? Would the government come in and try to take them down—or use them for their own gain and cover it up in an X-Files’esque type conspiracy?
And most importantly, would people upload their dragon sightings to YouTube? Would they take dragon selfies?
In Smoked, Team Dragon launches a social media campaign to help Emmy gain recognition and acceptance in our world. It was fun to imagine how a group would promote dragons and make them go viral. As part of my research, I went and looked on YouTube to see if there were any dragon sightings already uploaded. And, to my surprise (and delight) there were!
I compiled a few fun ones for you to check out. Fact? Fiction? Real? Fake? You’ll have to decide…
“Real Dragon Caught on Camera”
“New Real Dragon caught on tape 2015”
“Real Dragon sightings in China” (This one is hard to see at first, but once you watch for a minute it’s really cool.)
Ball field dragon sighting (Just like Emmy landing in the football field!)
So what do you all think, real dragons or hoaxes?
A huge thanks to Mari for taking time out of her busy schedule to guest post here today. It is always appreciated. As part of the Smoked Tour, I am able to offer you all a chance to win your very own copy of Smoked(Scorched #3) by Mari Mancusi. To enter, read the Contest Policies and fill out the Rafflcopter. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Good Luck!
Here is my review:
Smoked (Scorched #3) by Mari Mancusi
Once upon a time the world burned.
Until a girl and her dragon smothered the flame.
But the spark that ignited the apocalypse never went out.
And the Scorch is about to begin.
When Team Dragon rescues Emmy from the government lab, they think the future is finally safe. But they soon discover that Emmy has a secret--a secret so dangerous it could trigger the very apocalypse Connor and Caleb were sent back in time to prevent.
As a dragon hunter, Connor has committed his life to saving the world. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to complete his mission… even if it meant betraying his brother and losing Trinity’s heart. Even if it meant doing the unthinkable. But a desperate choice meant to prevent The Scorch, may become the spark that sets the world aflame once more.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published: September 1st 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Four stars: An exciting and satisfying conclusion to a series that brought us dragons, time travelers, action, danger and romance.
Trinity takes a deep breath and squashes down the anxiety building inside of her. It has been six months since Emmy was taken by the government. In that time, Trinity and Connor, along with the help of the rest of Team Dragon, have bene trying to rescue Scarlet and Emmy. Meanwhile, Caleb lies comatose, a victim of the Nether. If they don't succeed in saving Emmy, the world may very well stand to burn again, because Trinity and Connor know that the scientists will do all sorts of nasty experiments and attempt to breed Emmy. Will they be able to stop the dragon apocalypse?
What I Liked:
- The Scorched Trilogy is more than meets the eye. It isn't just a tale about a girl and a dragon. Instead it is a complicated story that involves dragons, time travelers, and an impending dragon apocalypse that will burn the world, unless it is stopped. I was surprised by all the story lines, especially those regarding the time travel, and in the end, this proved to be an entertaining and exciting YA series.
- This final book is all about growth and transformation. We see Trinity making some tough choices, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness to save her dragon and the world. Meanwhile, Connor and Caleb, the two twin brothers, who have been at odds for years, end up on the same team, and they both vow to support Trinity and Emmy, but they are still at war with each other. I was pleased to finally see some maturity and changes in the brother's relationship. All in all, I enjoyed the growth and transformation of the characters.
- The romance ended up being a surprise. In the first book, things were set up for a love triangle as Trinity found herself entangled with both Connor and Caleb, however, by the second book, she seemed to make her choice, but she still wavered at times with her feelings for both boys. I liked that she even poked fun at herself for being in a love triangle. In this book, she is still a bit conflicted, but thankfully the triangle is over. This isn't a series with a true love triangle since it is clear who Trinity chooses early on, but there are still some conflicts along the way. Still overall, the romance isn't a huge part of the story, and what little romance is left is satisfactory. Rest assured, this ins't a romance that takes over the story. There is also a secondary romance that takes root in this one, which I thought was a nice way to completely diffuse the love triangle.
- The world building continues to be solid. I like that you have glimpses into the future where you see a world ravaged and burned by hostile dragons. I am also fascinated by the concept of the Nether, which is a place where dragons exist before they are born and after they die. A type of heaven or Nirvana where anything is possible, but it isn't without its dangers. All in all, the world building is interesting and well done.
- This final book has a lot going on. You have flashes from the future, showing what the world was like after the dragons scorched it, and then you have the current time where Trinity, Connor and the rest of the gang are working to save Emmy and prevent the dragon apocalypse. There are many factions involved, those from the current time as well as those who came back from the future. You have to be on your toes to keep up with everyone, but that makes for an exciting story with lots of developments. I especially enjoyed some of the twists at the end.
- The ending, though a bit predictable from early on in the book, it still played out to a nice, satisfactory conclusion. I was pleased at the way it all worked out, and I was happy that I wasn't left with nagging questions and unfinished story lines.
And The Not So Much:
- In all honesty, I could have done without the romance. Even though I liked that it took a back seat in this installment and that it got rid of the love triangle early on, I never felt invested in it. The romance almost felt thrown in this time around, and it lacked depth and feeling in this final book. I think the story would have worked fine without a romance.
- This isn't a series that can be read out of order or without having read the other books, you will be hopelessly lost. There are a lot of people and characters to keep track of. You have to juggle the Dracken in the current time, who are the good guys, vs. the Dracken from the future, the bad guys. You also have to keep track of who is from the future and who is good and bad. I am glad I read the second book recently so everything was fresh in my mind.
- I was a bit disappointed that it was revealed early on what the likely outcome of the book was going to be. I didn't like knowing ahead of time how everything was most likely going to play out. It ended up being predictable.
Smoked is an exciting and satisfying conclusion to a series that brought us dragons, time travel and plenty of action and danger as well as a bit of romance. I enjoyed the solid world building, the interesting story lines, the time travel and the dragons. This is a YA series that is a bit different, and I especially appreciated that it avoided some of the well worn story lines. If you are a reader who loves dragons and you want to blend it with some time travel, this is a good series to try. I had fun with it.
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.
About the author:
Mari Mancusi always wanted a dragon as a pet. Unfortunately the fire insurance premiums proved a bit too large and her house a bit too small--so she chose to write about them instead. Today she works as an award-winning young adult author and freelance television producer, for which she has won two Emmys.
When not writing about fanciful creatures of myth and legend, Mari enjoys goth clubbing, cosplay, snowboarding, watching cheesy (and scary) horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure—playing videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and their dog Mesquite. To find out more about Mari, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Be sure to catch the first two books in the Scorched Series: