Cloak and Dagger: Nenia Campbell

I’ve decided that I’m going to start a semi regular feature where I’ll review indy books.  Mainly because if you know where to look indies can be pretty kick ass and often better than traditionally published books.  The thing about indie books though is it can be difficult to find a good one due to the easy accessibly of self publishing these days.  Hence, why I’m having this feature especially since you can now download a Kindle app to your computer for all you fellow iPad/Kindle-less people.  I figure if I can highlight some awesome indie books and review them, it can (if you read this) help find shift through the mass amount of self pub books to find those that are fantastic.  Before I review Cloak and Dagger, I’m disclosing that I’m friends with the author on Good Reads and that several of my friends have recommend this book to me.  That has not effected  my opinion on this book though.

General Summary: Christina is your normal eighteen-year-old until she’s kidnapped.  Michael is what you could almost say was a sociopath, except he’s redeemable (sort of).  As a kidnapper, he’s scary as can possibly be.  But when someone scarier comes along and Christina sort of has to rely on him to survive things get more than a little intense.


I love this book.

Not everyone will love it if you don’t like spy or action things you probably won’t, but for me it was pretty kick ass.   And what’s even better is that this book is new adult.

I know I complain about New Adult a lot.  It’s one of those things that I like hating on like Abercombie and Fitch and Prospect Park.  But this is actually a new adult novel that works because it’s not molded into the usual NA cliches.

There’s a plot.  A hell of a good one too.  This is a nail biter.  I still feel like I haven’t figured out everything and I need to reread it. I really need that sequel now.

The characters are great too.  Both Michael and Christina do not fit the usual NA couple.  Heck, they’re not even really a couple.  They’re a quasi couple.  And I have to say I like this.  I like how Christina really questions her feeling till up to the end of the book and this questioning isn’t lame or anything it’s legitimate.  As for Michael, he’s a complex character.  Sometimes I just wanted to slap him and at the same time I really liked him oddly enough.  And then the villain.  God what a twisted son of a bitch.

I think that’s probably one of the best thing about this book was the characters.  All them were so realistic.  The plot while I did enjoy it, had some issues. I’m hoping a lot of it was because there’s a sequel on its way and I get Nenia had to have some unresolved issues but damn I wanted more…..

One other big strengths of this book was the witty dialogue.  This book had me laughing at one o’clock in the morning after I studied Secured Transactions all day.  Do you know how hard that is to do when you have a perpetual look like Grumpy Cat on your face?

Another thing I appreciated was its grittiness.  Not everyone’s going to like this factor.  There are some pretty squeamish scenes, but it added to the suspense element which I liked.  This also goes with the Michael character he’s not perfect.  In fact there were times I wanted to call him an asshole and call it a day, but Nenia made it where you understood the character and the situation and it worked.  It also helped that Christina had one hell of a back bone.

Best Feature:  Christina.  I freaking love Christina.  From her interactions with her mother, to her relationship with Michael, to how she handles herself in her predicament.  She’s awesome.  And for the most part acts pretty realistically.  I like the fact that she doesn’t instantly find herself attracted to Michael.  Heck, at the end I still think she’s questioning her feelings for him.  And I like that she doesn’t accept bull shit.  It’s refreshing.  Also, thank fucking God that she isn’t a Mary Sue in disguise.  Or has body image issues.  Christina satisfied with the way she looks and she doesn’t look like a freaking super model.   She looks like a normal person, someone you can actually relate too and after reading about five YA/NA novels with bad body image this month this was more than a little refreshing.

Worst Feature: Transitions and Pacing.  For the most part I thought the book flowed pretty effortlessly.  However, towards the end I thought some of the transitions were a bit off and the pacing went into warp speed.  Not everything is resolved and that makes sense since there is going to be a sequel, but I feel like it was just a tad bit disjointed.  Really though, I think this is more personal than anything else.

Appropriateness: This is definitely not YA.  It’s NA.  There’s cursing, there’s violence, and there are sexual situations as well.

Blockbuster Worthy: I actually wish Nenia would get a job writing for Burn Notice.  I feel like this is how the show should’ve gone instead of the way it’s been going recently.  So yeah, I’d like to see this be turned into some sort of movie or TV.  Here’s who I’d cast.

Christina:  America Ferrera via Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants/ early Ugly Betty days is how I think Christina looks with about six inches of height on her.

Michael: Ha! I keep thinking of Jeffrey Donovan even though he’s way too old.  So I deage him in my head.

Overall Rating: Eight out of ten secret agent men.  I really liked this book.  If you like spy stuff and want something a bit more mature I highly recommend this book.  The sequels being released soon too.  I know this won’t be everyones cup of tea, but I really enjoyed it.

Note: If you have any recommendations for Indie Gems I’d love to hear from you.  So leave a comment.


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