Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.
With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.
I know I’ve ranted about YA fantasy being eerily the same. Well, YA paranormal also falls under the same rut. The only thing is, I was hoping since this genre has sort of disappeared in the past five or so years, that when there was a YA paranormal released-like Toward A Secret Sky– it would be something different.
Only thing is, this book is probably as cliche as the books that were being released in the heyday of this genre.
Usually I’m not one for using quotes in my review, but I think this is one DNF where quotes sill exemplify why I didn’t finish this book.
My mother was totally beautiful-a former Miss Springfield-and I looked nothing like her. While she had olive skin and shiny black hair. I got my Scottish father’s pale white coloring, light green eyes, and cray, thick, curly blonde hair. The kind of hair that once made a hairdresser cry because the haircut came with a free blow-dry, and she counted on the whole process taking three hours. Of course, it wasn’t California blonde or even all-the-same-color blonde. It was someone once told me, “dishwater blonde.” Just what my self-esteem needed: hair that reminded people of dirty water. (9-10)
Of course, this is our description of our MC who is described as being “Plain” because she has dirty blonde hair that’s curly. I should mention later on when she starts attending school in Scotland, everyone is envious over said hair. Furthermore, being a dirty blonde myself, I always find it insulting when people talk this way.
I was kissing the hottest guy ever. He was so hot, even his hair was red. We were logging in the long grass, kissing deeply, like it was our new way of breathing.
It was hot outside, and the kissing was making me even hotter. Everywhere he touched me, my skin burned. I never kissed anyone before, and certainly like this.
Do I even need to say anything about this?
Even the “normal” food in Scotland wasn’t normal. French fries, which were called “chips”, looked like the fries back home, but instead of being crispy and yummy, they were soggy and not. Chips were called “crisps”, which was a true description, but they didn’t have any fun flavors like ranch or hickory barbecue. In fact, they didn’t have barbecue anything at all. They’d never heard of brownies or cornbread (“Why would you put corn in bread?” my grandmother asked).
Disinterested teen, who insults the area the area that she’s in. I’ve been to Ireland-I know different country than Scotland, BUT we the area I was staying at had a Tesco (the same store this ingrate went to) and the store was fairly large, though not Super Walmart size, and they pretty much had anything you wanted. Also, having had chips/fries in both the US and Ireland, I can tell you there really is not that much different. So, I’m guessing that Scotland’s version isn’t that different either.
Anyway, a pet peeve of mine in any YA book is when the character will trash the area they just moved to. Especially if its a foreign country. America’s reputation has pretty much been shot by Donald Trump, we don’t need little fictional ingrates like Maren to ruin it further.
Hew as the most breathtaking guy I had ever seen and-thank you, God!-seemed to be about my age. His wavy chestnut-colored hair fell over his forehoead, but not enough to hide his dark blue eyes. He was tall and broad shouldered, but had a thin waist. he carried his bulging frame like he was wearing football shoulder pads, but I could see from where his white tunic shirt hung open at his chest that he was all bare skin and muscle.
Do I need to say more?
I could tell by Jo’s flat tone that Elsie was not her favorite person. I’d have to remember to cheer her up later by letting her know “Elsie” was mainly a name for cows in America.
Wrong. Elsie is the name of a very cute diminutive Corgi (AKA Wonder Corgi) who is upset that she is being compared to a cow. She says she is going keep barking into Maclean’s ear until this is rectified.
These quotes are pretty much why I quit the book. I could find more, but honestly I don’t want to. Like I said, usually I avoid doing quote reviews, but I think in this book’s case the quotes exemplify why I didn’t want to continue.
Overall Rating: DNF. Avoid.