Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison (expected December 2014) received with thanks from NetGalley
Everyone wants to either be a member of the Guild or work for them. Little does the populace know that the Guild hides sinister secrets…
For Tate Sullivan, life in her small, coastal town is far from glamorous. The affluent lives of the Guild members and their servants isn’t something she has ever wanted. But all sixteen year-olds must take a simple test, and Tate’s result thrusts her into the Guild’s world, one where they hide horrible plans for those they select. Tate must fight the relentless General Dagon for control of her mind, body, and soul to keep the one precious thing she has always taken for granted: herself.
Her only ally is the same handsome boy she is pitted against in General Dagon’s deadly game. Quinn desires nothing more than to end the life of General Dagon who has taken over Tate’s mind. While romance blooms between Tate and Quinn, General Dagon plots to eventually take over Tate’s body, and love might end before it even begins.
I love the concept of this. The thought of it… the horror of it. It’s chilling!
So, what worked for me?
Quinn – I really enjoyed his character, he had the potential to be up there with the best book boyfriends. I do like a man who knows his way around a blade, who’s got the danger of death about him. A bit like Valek (Snyder’s Poison Study), he had the makings of being totally swoon-worthy. However, I was stopped short from salivating, but only because he doesn’t get enough page time. I want to love him, and I think I could. But I finished this book with an ache of longing.. and feeling safely in the ‘like’ zone.
General Dagon – I love this character too. He’s a nasty piece of work, and the things he makes Tate do, especially to her family, it’s downright despicable! It makes for great reading though. I mean, the main antagonist is always there, she can never truly escape him until she destroys him.
Concept – Like I said above, the overall concept of this book is quite chilling. And disturbing to imagine happening to yourself. Complete loss of control of your mind and body but you’re still able to bear witness to it all? Yikes! I think Zoe experienced the worst of this. *shudders*
Pace – Quick, quick, quick! It didn’t let up, and that made it hard to put down!
World building – This wasn’t over extensive. And for me, that worked. I think a story can get too bogged down in building the world and the culture of it, but here there is just enough to understand and get pulled in. Does that make sense? Lols.
What didn’t work for me?
The logistics – I think that when you start using aspects of the mind, and this kind of body snatching, the mechanics of it can become a bit tricky. I didn’t wholly understand why Tate couldn’t stay where she was safe, why she had to go back into dangerous territory. And why certain methods couldn’t be used at other times? It’s a really small niggle, because in general I couldn’t complain. Like I said, it’s a tricky one to take on methinks and Madison does it well.
Love, love, love – I like that Quinn and Tate have this kind of connection. But at the same time, as mentioned above, I didn’t feel that Quinn had that much page time, and so I found it more difficult to believe in the deep feelings they obviously have for each other. I would have liked there to have been more stolen moments somehow.
I thought this book presented something refreshing and exciting. At first, there are glimmers of other books, similar in this kind of genre, like Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson. I was reminded of that title in particular. But it’s as I say, mere ‘glimmers’, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
As a series it has so much potential; I hope to see much more of Quinn, and actually, I hope Dagon makes a cameo at least. I loved the glamour of it, contrasted against the dirty underbelly of the culture. The classic battle between a corrupt rule and a ‘resistance’ was well played here too. It’s a stellar read, and I cannot wait to read how the story continues.