Friday, 16 March 2012

Book Review: Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

    • Paperback: 400 pages
    • Publisher: Corgi Childrens (2 Aug 2012)
    • ISBN-10: 0552564540
    • ISBN-13: 978-0552564540
    • Who do you run with?

      It's always tough being the new kid in town. And even worse when you have to live with your grandfather in the middle of the forest.

      But when Katelyn starts at Wolf Springs High she realizes that her new life might not be so bad. There's the enigmatic Trick, who is always there to protect her. And Cordelia Fenner and her irresistible cousin seem extra friendly.

      Katelyn suspects that there is more to the Fenner Family than meets the eye. But why is she so drawn to them? And in a town full of secrets, who can she trust?

Katelyn’s life is explicably changed when her mother dies suddenly. Uprooted from the life she adores to live with her grandfather in Arkansas, Wolf Springs is like nothing she has ever experienced before. Surrounded by dense woods and zero cell service, Katelyn feels more alone than ever.

Every small town has its fair share of secrets, but Wolf Springs seems to have a bucket load. She learns a girl her age was killed in the woods and with another falling victim to an unseen danger lurking among the trees, Katelyn is totally right to be edgy.

But there are upsides to Wolf Springs. Beautiful Cordelia Fenner takes Katelyn under her wing and shows her the ropes of the high school. Gorgeous and friendly Trick is her ride to school, and welcome flirting partner. But then there is Justin, Cordelia’s cousin. Justin sets her body on fire and is drawn to him even though she shouldn’t be.

Cordelia’s strange behaviour and Tricks’s inconsistencies makes Katelyn wonder who she can trust. And who she should flat out avoid.

Unleashed had all the foundations for an amazing book. But to be totally honest, it fell a little flat for me. Katelyn wasn’t the strong, wilful character I desperately wanted her to be. After losing her mother she is understandably grief-stricken and full of anger, but it is quickly forgotten when she focuses on what could be in the woods. What bothered me most were her instincts – they were just plain bad. She listens to people and takes everything they say verbatim while ignoring the facts right in front of her, and who has always had her back.

The interactions Katelyn has with Justin felt creepy and wrong. She meets him for a fleeting instant and she wants to throw herself on him. Of course there is such a thing as lust or love at first sight, but there was a wrongness to it that made me feel uncomfortable. Even when Katelyn learns something upsetting about Justin, she can’t keep her desire under control when around him.

The saving grace in the novel is Trick. Smart, funny, reliable if somewhat mysterious. His bond with Katelyn is instantaneous. He gives her something she needs after uprooting her whole life – someone to lean on, laugh with, be comfortable around. There is no question that Trick is hiding something, but it never felt malicious.

Unleashed asked more questions than it answered. With a name like Wolf Springs Chronicles, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the angle might be. That said, I was taken by surprise a few times. We are left with gaping holes in the story by the end of the book, enough to ensure I will read the next in the series.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone to not read this book, but I wouldn’t actively promote it either. If you keep your expectations low, this book won’t disappoint.


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