Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Book Review: The Touched by Jennifer Weiser

I am so excited to bring you this book review today.  The Touched is written by Jennifer Weiser - an old friend of mine from high school (you may have actually read about her here...she's the one who gave me the nickname "Chel")!  I've been following her journey into the world of Young Adult novels via facebook and jumped at the opportunity to read her work and share it with all of you.

So first check out the synopsis and exerpt, read a little bit about Jen, then I'll end with my review of the book.

THE TOUCHED by Jennifer Weiser

Series: The Descendants # 1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Limitless Publishing


The first sixteen years of Arabella Penthallow’s life have been a lie…

In a world where deception is the key to survival, Ara has kept up the charade of being a perfect Legion Leader’s daughter. But a darkness stirs, and she discovers she is Touched, a mortal gifted by the Gods. The Touched are as rare as they are feared, and Ara is forced to leave Union City for neighboring Midnight City to protect herself and those she loves, leaving Tove Thorn, the boy who has always known her heart, behind.

Carter Decker has vowed to burn Union City to the ground…

Midnight City’s cocky, infamous bad boy always gets what he wants, and he wants Union City to pay for burning his mother alive because she was Touched. When Carter meets Ara, she is everything he’s been taught to hate. Then he learns she is Touched—just like him—he isn’t sure who he hates more…the Touched girl whose father killed his mother, or himself for being tempted by someone he’s sworn to kill.

They are told they’re fated to be soul mates…and they each wish the other never existed.

When Midnight City is attacked by Union City, Carter and Arabella will do the unthinkable…even if it means falling for the enemy. The truth lies in Arabella’s home nation, and Tove is waiting. Soul mates or not, he has an advantage Carter doesn’t, fated souls be damned.

War is coming…and Ara is the prize.




 Im not lying.

Carter’s lips pull into a small smile. My heart flutters wildly in my chest with the sight of it. I want to loath myself for the feelings he’s causing. The confusion that has begun to occur. This isn’t Carter or me. We can’t stand one another, yet I can’t help the way my mind has sometimes wandered in the last few days, playing curious images of him pulling me close, his lips becoming lost on mine.

You are,” Carter says, closing the gap I opened between us. The tips of his black boots touch my own. You can’t lie to me. Or to anyone in this room for that matter. I know what you’re feeling.”

You don’t know a thing about me or what I may be feeling.”

Carter snorts and shakes his head, his hair falling lazily over his forehead. He drops his head, moving within inches of my lips. I inhale sharply, the corset constricting. Damn him. I keep my eyes locked with his, refusing to look away. Too many emotions course through my body and I can’t decide which ones overrule the rest.

Carter licks his lips, jumpstarting my pulse. I do, princess,” Carter whispers, everyone does.”

No…no they don’t.”

Carter purses his lips, his eyes smoldering slightly. Oh, little Arabella, they do. Your emotions are staining this entire room. I can feel everything you feel for me. Taste every last one.”

I suck in a deep breath, pushing back from him.

Carter smiles darkly. The one that tastes the most appealing is that white-hot lust you have coursing through you.”

For weeks Rob has been pushing me to block my emotions from the rest. To harness them in, keep them hidden. I have succeeded in some accounts, but when Carter is around, the defense that I’ve built comes crashing down. Which infuriates me.

Carter winks as he takes in my expressions and what I can only gauge as new emotions that rage inside me. Though I have to say, the revulsion is a nice change for me. I’ve never had a taste of that one.

I can intensify it, if you want.”

I want a lot from you, princess, but I think we both can agree that you would much rather have me feel and taste your lust.” Slowly he pushes his body against mine as he leans in close to my ear. Never in my life have I wanted to throttle someone as much as I do Carter. But that’s not all I would do if given the chance. He drives me crazy, in more ways than I want him to know. I promise to be gentle,” he whispers.

The warmth of his breath against my ear has the pit of my stomach coiling tightly. My body tensing. Carter pulls himself from me. The scent of sweet spices I can’t place and lavender fill my nose. It’s distracting and enticing. I desperately want to wrap myself around him, feel his hands touch every inch of my skin, taste his lips. I swallow pitifully as my lips begin to ache with desire. Temptation can be cruel.

Cruel. In an instant, I remember his comments and the smugness that was laced in his tone. Carter doesn’t want me because he is attracted to me, he only wishes to prove his point. My jaw clenches. Instantly, I want to break his own. Carter takes a cocky step back, winking at me once more.

“All in due time,” he promises as he spins on his heels and crosses the training room, slamming the door behind him.

I’m not sure what he means. That in time I will come to him like every other girl has, or in time I will finally wipe that grin right off his face. 



I can’t help the way my eyes take inventory of her. I can’t stop staring at her, almost as if I need to memorize every inch of her, as if looking away from her soft, raven-black curls, emerald-green eyes, and dark, blood-red stained lips will physically kill me. My tongue flicks over my own dry lips and I find myself wondering if hers taste like cherries. Or apples. That’s what that red of hers reminds me of.

The sky-blue corset she wears over an ivory lace shirt fits tightly around her slender curves. My hands itch to touch her. To reach out and run my hands through her hair. She’s too beautiful to be real, yet here she is. In front of me. She holds no smile toward me. No outreached hand to shake my own as Father introduces her. Her eyes narrow as she continues to stare intently at me.
Her arms cross tightly across her chest, clearly unimpressed by what she sees.

You hate her. Balling my fists at my side, I try to rein in the way she has begun to unnerve me. The way I want to run my hands down her, to watch her close her eyes and whisper my name. Chills race down my spine. My body is responding to her in ways I’ve never responded to any chick before.

Father stands with pride as he nods toward me, waiting for me to welcome Rob’s new recruit. But I don’t. I stare just as hard at her as she does at me, finally feeling the narrow of my eyes. Why the hell do I want her? Why the hell am I feeling anything for her?

Father frowns when I don’t offer my hand to her. Arabella will be staying with us for the next few months,” Father says. But what he leaves out is, She’ll be staying indefinitely when you realize that she’s your fated, Carter.”

But she won’t. I’ll see to that. I may like her appearance, and her body might cause me to think and feel things, but it doesn’t change the fact that I vowed to make and keep her and Union City as my enemy. I will end her. Make no mistake about that. She will burn for the crimes her father committed against my mother.

Jennifer Weiser is a young adult author who has always been a book nerd and a bit chocolate obsessed. Writing has always been a favorite escape, but quickly became a passion not long after the birth of her daughter. When she isn't combing the shelves of her local book stores or blogging about newest book obsessions, you can find her nestled in her nook creating worlds she hopes that one day will inspire her daughter, who not only has given her the courage to follow her dreams--but offers the inspirations that help color their worlds together.


My Review:

So when I first started this book, I was a little hesitant.  I had been intrigued by the synopsis, but actually getting into the story - I was really afraid that there were going to be too many similarities with some other popular YA series and what could have been a really good story would get lost in the comparisons.  There were three main issues I thought could run into this.  First, the dystopian setting - dystopia is really hot right now in the YA world, especially with The Maze Runner and Hunger Games ramping up in the movie scene. Second, the love triangle between the 3 main characters - I was really afraid it was going to turn into a Jacob/Bella/Edward or Peeta/Katniss/Gale type of dynamic.  Finally, I was really concerned about the concept of two Touched individuals being "bound" for/with each other - at first this screamed "Imprinting" and that worried me.  Happily, I was wrong.  Being "bound" and "imprinting", while similar on the surface, really are completely different concepts - and as you'll read - being "bound" is a far more complicated and exciting notion.  Overall, this book really  holds its own as a new story in the genre and shouldn't run into too many comparison issues.    There will of course be a #teamtove and #teamcarter (jury's still out for which team I'm on...), but a good love triangle dynamic never hurt anyone - and, like I said, this really didn't have me making too many comparisons once I really got into the meat of the story.  

I love the idea behind The Touched.  Jen has created a really interesting world that I can't wait to learn more about.  I found myself reading at every spare moment - I had to put the book down to, you know, live my life - but whenever I could read - I did.  That to me is the first sign of a great story.  I've started 2 other books in the last 6 months and haven't gotten much further than 2 chapters into either of them.  Something else always seems more interesting.  When I'd rather be diving into a story than anything else, I'm a happy girl.  

I'll admit, I found myself confusing the characters of Caleb and Carter at time - not because they were anything alike (they aren't), but only because their names are so similar.  Caleb shows up more and more infrequently through the story, so when he would eventually be mentioned, I kept thinking I was reading about Carter, which then made the story not make any sense.  That is not necessarily a misstep in writing - it really says more about my reading comprehension skills than anything :-) - but using less similar names would have made it a non-issue (but this is a series...can't really expect Caleb to become Daniel or something randomly in book 2 just to appease my slow  

If I had to criticize anything, I would say that the dialogue - both internal and external - could be improved a bit.  It felt unnatural at times and almost like it was trying to hard to be different - like it was overemphasizing the fact that this is not present day US.  I've read books where this change in the common vernacular has been successful, but I didn't feel like this quite achieved that.  That being said, it was not enough of an issue to make me dislike the book and it definitely didn't take away from the overall story.

My final disappointment with the book has nothing to do with the story or the writing.  But I feel like it was important.  The book lacked good editing.  I feel like Jen's publishers did her a disservice by allowing pretty blatant errors pass through the editing process.  There were a number of spelling and grammar issues throughout the book.  They weren't troublesome from a reading standpoint, but they were obvious and you definitely wouldn't expect them in a professionally published book, such as this one.  I can't ever blame an author for those types of errors.  The author is too close to the text and can make those mistakes without even realizing (hell, after re-reading this post through the first time, I had to correct about 4 different typos and I'm sure I missed more) - and because she knows the text so well, she will pass over many of them in read throughs.  It's so imperative that an outside source goes through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb to catch those things, both for the reader's and the author's sake.  I really hope that, in subsequent editions, the publisher gives Jen's work the editing it (and she) deserves.  I know she worked too hard for anything less.

It's been a long time since Jen and I have spoken outside of Facebook...but despite that - I heard Jen's voice in this story - Loud and Clear.  I could hear her telling her story - I felt her heart and soul coming through the words of the page.  I think that speaks volumes.  When an author truly loves and believes in what she's created, the reader definitely notices and The Touched, for me, really achieved that  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Young Adult literature or dystopian fantasy stories - you won't regret it.  The links to purchase are above and below - it's available in both paperbook and Kindle formats.  And now for me, it's the waiting game until Book 2 is published...hopefully Jen doesn't keep me waiting too long!


Disclaimer: I was given an advanced copy of the book and a media kit in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

No comments:

Post a Comment