Monday, June 15, 2015

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Sara Humphreys - Unleashed

What if you suddenly discovered your own powers were beyond anything you'd ever imagined...
Samantha Logan's childhood home had always been a haven, but everything changed while she was away. She has a gorgeous new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shapeshifting Amoveo clans...but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she's one of them...
And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, and the only chance she has to come into her true powers is to trust in Malcolm to show her the way...
Get swept away into Sara Humphreys's glorious world and breathtaking love story...

Comment: This title had been in my TBR for almost an year. I decided to pick it up mostly because it would suit the alphabet challenge as a good title with an "u". I also had hopes for its appeal as a good PNR book, something that used to be my favorite type of book but as with everything, also reading tastes change. I didn't stop liking it, it's just not what I look for the most these days.

This is the story of Samantha Logan, an artist that has had enough of trying to be successful in New York. She's returning home to live with her grandmother and try to rest and think what her life will be like now.
She has a new neighbor, the mysterious Malcolm, a man that somehow seems to show up in her dreams. But while she thinks he's gorgeous and a potential boyfriend material, she's unaware he called her though dreams, he knows who she really is and that he is her mate.
While Sam slowly enters the Amoveo world, the shapeshifters' enemy also find her and their reasons are too dark to contemplate...

I feel like sighing. 
I'm debating again if I've changed so much and if my reading taste isn't up to relatively inferior works - my personal opinion - of if paranormals just aren't what they used to be.
It seems recent "wolds" set in paranormal societies can't seem to captivate me nor make me happy enough to be curious about what happens next.
In part I know it has to be the author's choices by how the story is presented, obviously. But this situation repeated again with this book and it starts to feel like an annoying trend for me.

The world the author created seems interesting enough. Apparently there are several clans of shapeshifters. Malcolm belongs to clan eagle and Sam comes from clan wolf. There are references about others but nothing to the point where we can understand the full extension of an organized society. I found this really annoyed me. I wanted to connect to the shapeshifters, I wanted to know the, how they work, why they organized themselves, how the different clans mixed and if there was any sort of hierarchy besides a prince that did show up. 
Maybe I'm picky but these things would have given essence and interest to the story. Unfortunately, everything was too mysterious and apart from the characters that appeared and were identified as part of this or that clan, very little information was given besides the existence of a prince and the fact the shapeshifters need to find their mates.

This last thing is a common cliché in books belonging to the genre and usually it doesn't bother me but in this case it was basically all we had. I don't know what kind of planning the author did but from the tone of the book I don't believe she actually thought much about world building and development. It feels like she wanted to tell a story without having to go through all the setting up. Am I being unfair? After all I haven't read more, but.. it does feel like it.

Of course, none of this would really make any lasting impact if the main couple were shown to be amazing together and working as a perfect fit. Again, I'm afraid that, for me, this didn't happen.
The relationship between Malcolm and Sam never seemed part of destiny or any cultural necessity among the Amoveos. They met in dreams, they met in person and suddenly they had to be together, they fell in love way too fast. There was no coherent transition from knowing each other to becoming close to being mates.
Their personalities also didn't match up. Sam had some interesting points but what made her interesting (her art, her quiet nature, her love for her grandmother) never managed to put her in evidence. The relationship only allowed her to be a wolf. I think any characterization was just plot related, not really meaningful.
Malcolm the same, what about his past, his Amoveo heritage, his views on everything shapeshisting? I felt like he was too one dimensional, without real essence. I think they were characters to fulfill a part and I never connected to them or their paths in life.

All in all, disappointing. I can understand the relatively potential good elements but honestly I fell this was almost too lazy. I don't like to say this because I'm certain the author did a lot of effort and went through a lot to get this done. But I regret to say that for me, it felt like uninspiring and underdeveloped. I needed this to feel more alive, more well thought and executed.
I don't feel like keeping up with this series...
Grade: 4/10

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