Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For the Love of a Pack ...

Back a while ago, I stumbled upon a book called "Lunarmorte" by Samantha Young on one of the blogs I frequent. As a writer and enthusiast of YA Werewolves (or any Shifters of any age, really - I just think they are marvelous examples of pretty much everything), I was instantly on high alert for a kindred spirit and a book I could, heh heh, sink my teeth into (or claws, whatever). So I wrote to the author and tried to figure out how to get a copy of it. Luckily for me - she decided to send me a review copy! Score! :)

Unfortunately, exams and such hit and it got pushed to one of the book piles that ornament my room.

But it kept winking at me from beneath the tomes, and I finally just picked it up and - to hell with school,  I wanted to read this book!

So glad I did.

I polished it off within three days, this past February, and I adored the characters, the plot and especially the world. I think Young has created a world that can grow with her chaacters and her readers, which I believe is very important.

Now first, the technical information:
Love this cover!

Existing in the shadows of our world are supernatural races; children blessed by the ancient Greek gods with unimaginable gifts, and at present they are fighting a two-thousand-year old war with one another.

The Midnight Coven, an alliance of dark magiks, faeries, and daemons born of black magik, believe that the vampyres and lykans are lesser supernaturals and a threat to mankind. They are at war with the Daylight Coven, a confederate of light magiks, faeries, vampyres and lykans who believe in the equality of the races.

Into this war seventeen-year-old Caia Ribeiro is born...a lykan with a heritage unlike any other. A heritage that, whether she wants it to or not, will put her into the very heart of battle...
 The book is the first in a  trilogy of books about a lykan pack of werewolves, descended through a Portuguese (yay! Represent!) family that itself owes its existence to the Greek Goddess Artemis, who blessed the lykans with the ability to transform from human to wolf. Other Gods gave other gifts to their own children, but somewhere along the lines of supernaturals, a war broke out between two factions: A "light" one that wanted to live free and in peace; and a "dark" one that wanted to rule over the others. 

Into this world is born Caia Ribeiro. We're introduced to Caia ten years before the real story begins. A seven year old Caia is being taken from her home after an attack, her guardian Irini, her only link to her lykan self. As they spirit themselves away from the Pack and into safety, they leave everything they know and love behind. 

The present-day story opens with Caia and Irini being called back to the Pack by Irini's brother, and now the Pack leader, Lucien. Caia has mixed feelings about this - she's excited and scared, and indifferent and hostile - but she goes. 

Her integration into the Pack is swift, aided mostly by Lucien's insistence on the pack welcoming her, but Caia keeps noticing the people around her and feeling that her own Pack is hiding something from her. Added to that, she begins to see Lucien in a different light, and as their attraction deepens, Caia must fight against it to protect her place within the Pack. And as all hell is about to break loose, strange things keep happening to her - things no one can ... or will explain to her. 

I think the thing I liked most about this book is the characters - They spoke to me loudly from page one. Caia herself is sometimes frustrating - you want to yell at her because she seems just too innocent, but that's the part of her that is so intriguing. She's smart and crafty and very independent, and she fights all those qualities while trying to maintain a life within the Pack itself. She is so young and has to deal with a lot things in rapid-fire precision that makes the reader really delve into her. I am particularly drawn into her relationship with Lucien - very platonic at first, but as it gets increasingly more intimate, parts of Caia's character are exposed that really make her sympathetic and enticing, 
The intimate run with Lucien had given him a permanent starring role in her dreams. Sometimes the dreams were so real she felt absolutely consumed by them, finding it difficult to fight her way through the sleepy fog into reality. The fact that the dreams inevitably ended with Lucien kissing her, however, was the wake up call she needed. Kiss. Bam! She was awake and Lucien-less. Caia was trying to control her fantasies, she really was. She lived with this guy. 
Caia is struggling with her attraction, and she doesn't know what to do with it asides from ride it out. She lies to herself to protect herself, and this is where we truly see the damage that her ten year absense from the Pack has wrought. She feels abandoned by her family and she is still tenderly and timidly trying to understand her new life and her position in this world of which she knows precious little. 

I also like the way Young grounds her characters and her world in the modern here and now. I think that a story where the Pack itself is so isolated, and the main character grew up so far from them, this is necessary and almost comedic. 

My favourite example of this was the first dinner Caia had with the Rogue Hunter, Ryder.
"Sooo," Ryder drawled breaking Lucien's scrutiny and saving his brother, "Caia, you like movies?"
Everyone apart from herself and Irini groaned.
"What?" he laughed.
Lucien turned to Caia with an exaggerated look of weariness. "When Ryder isn't mutilating Rogues with his bare hands, he's strapped to an armchair in front oh his huge DVD collection."
"I like movies," Caia offered, grasping an opportunity to maybe bond with another member of the pack, particularly one who was so highly regarded by everyone else. 
Ryder's eyes lit up, "Yeah?"
He smirked. "Have you seen Underworld?" 
She chuckled now, her eyes dancing with pleasure. "Yes, I have. I swear it was written by a lykan."
"I think we could take those CGI lykans though." She laughed again and he leaned in conspiratorially towards  her. "And who do you think would win in a fight? Lucien," he indicated their pack leader with a tilt of his head. "Or Lucian?" he referred to the lykan leader of the movie franchise.
There is something so endearing about a group of lykans sitting around a dinner table, talking about fictional lykans - it's interesting and it's perfect for the mood Young is capturing as Caia tries to reintegrate into the pack. 

The climax of the book is frighteningly quick and as it hits you, you're sitting there trying to keep up with a load of huge occurrences, most of which carry deadly consequences. 

Which brings us to the title of the book - Lunamorte. As a Portuguese girl, I will translate it for you (though it is translated in the book) - Luna is latin for "Moon" - Lua is the Portuguese for "Moon" and Morte  is ... well, death. In this context, it is a challenge to the pack leader and a fight to the death for the leadership of the Pack. The twist on this is just fantastic, and I loved the way it was introduced and executed - such a well done climax to a great read! 

Now, that my review is over - and I highly recommend you pick this book up - I have some ... not good or bad news ... just news. Sam Young retained her publication rights for the trilogy and edited the first book so it fit more in line with the second and third, though she assures me that the changes are in no way massive so I can pick up the second and read it without having read the newly edited first book. But, this being the case, I thought I would add in the buying information for the new Book 1 (Now entitled, "Moon Spell").

So go forward and read, chickees!


2/20 books

Off The Shelf!

8/75 books

No comments:

Post a Comment