by Sarah Fine
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Libbie | Source: Personal Copy
In the week since Lela returned to Rhode Island as Captain of the Guard with Malachi as her second in command, local news has been dominated by chilling sightings of human-like creatures running on all fours. Lela knows there’s only one explanation: the Mazikin have arrived in the land of the living.
Needing to maintain the appearance of a normal life for her foster mother, her probation officer, and her classmates, Lela returns to Warwick High along with Malachi. At night they secretly hunt for the Mazikin nest. To assist, two new Guards from very different parts of the Shadowlands are assigned to Lela’s unit, including the bad boy Jim, who repeatedly challenges Lela’s authority. Lela struggles to keep all her Guards on the right side of the law, but their mistakes come at a terrible cost.
As one painful revelation follows another and the Mazikin start targeting those closest to her, Lela finds herself more vulnerable than she’s ever been, wanting a future more than she ever has. With an enemy determined to separate soul from body, one question remains: how much is she willing to sacrifice to protect those she loves?
If the description alone isn’t enough to let you know that this is a dark series, I’ll reiterate it. This is a dark series; and I give Sarah Fine all due credit for this, she doesn’t back off the darkness at all in FRACTURED. If anything, she kicks it up a notch (Fair warning for the whole series – if you’re at all triggered by suicide, give it a pass.) For all the warm fuzzies at the end of SANCTUM, the honeymoon period was shockingly brief although no less wonderful for being so fleeting.
My concerns about pacing and repetition in the first book were not repeated in FRACTURED at all. The writing was tighter and the story progressed naturally. Most importantly, it progressed without beating the same “I have to save her” drum over and over again. This was a refreshing change because it’s one of the things I didn’t care for much in SANCTUM. Jumps forward in time were handled with a minimum of “and then this happened” while furthering the plot along so it didn’t linger in the dragged out feel of a story that covers Every Single Day.
Lela and Malachi continued to play merry hell with my emotions all through FRACTURED. Happy to sad to frustrated to are-you-kidding-me to kill-me-now. And yes, sometimes in the same scene. I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels to Twilight as I read (Malachi’s self-loathing in itself practically begs that comparison) but anyone left wanting something grittier, or more realistic, will find that here. Malachi’s adjustment to being human again is almost secondary to his struggle over balancing his feelings for Lela and his duty to the Guard. Lela, for her part, owns the heartbreak of his decisions but it doesn’t completely devastate her. You feel her pain in the day to day, but she keeps herself together and doing what needs to be done. She even opens herself up in ways she never has before. Sarah Fine does an excellent job of exploring Lela’s growth as a young woman and her determination to be a good Captain <I>and</I> a good friend. There’s a brief triangle-ish subplot but again, she doesn’t linger on this or draw it out. It’s there to help provide depth to Lela’s character, and it does that, but once it’s served its purpose, the story moves on.
FRACTURED does what I wish every mid-trilogy book would do – it not only tells its story (complete with beginning, middle and end) but it also moves the greater story arc forward to the point you’re left panting for more or, in my case, letting go a primal scream over having to wait for the next book.
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