Monday, April 30, 2012

Review >> Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles #1)

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles #1) by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie -- November 22, 2011 -- Hardcover, 382 pages, Delacorte Books (9780385740982)

"'Things that love night Love not such nights as these...'"

Katelyn McBride's whole world is turned upside down one night after a horrifying accident leaves her mother dead and Katelyn homeless. Now, she must leave her home in California and her best friend Kimi to move in with her reclusive and socially odd grandfather, Mordecai, in the small and strange town of Wolf Springs, Arkansas, hidden away from big city life in the Ozark Mountains. Katelyn is having a hard enough time fitting in because she is the new girl, but now she is finding that the inhabitants of Wolf Springs are not just odd, they seem to be keeping secrets, and these secrets may change Katelyn's world, and the live's of Wolf Spring's inhabitants, forever.

Unleashed was a captivating read from beginning to end, and presented mystery upon layered mystery to create an eerie world shrouded in secrets. I love a good small-town-secrets story, and Wolf Springs was just the place to delve into the lore, legends, and hidden histories of the isolated city. Although the basic premise of book one was not entirely original (suffice it to say if you love paranormal romance stories, Unleashed runs with the same pack), I still found myself quite taken with the fictional world the characters inhabited. I was even drawn in by many of the towns quirky inhabitants, such as Cordelia Fenner, the tortured beauty who befriends Katelyn straightaway and offers her comfort and kindness when few would not. And let's not forgot the artsy southern gentleman, Trick Sokolov, who quickly warms up to Katelyn and to readers alike with his charming demeanor and his cowboy boots.

This was my first Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie book, and I actually found the writing style to be lyrical and altogether fitting for the story. I was extremely impressed with the depth of world-building presented in this story, and found the whole history and lore surrounding Wolf Springs to be both incredibly complex and captivating as a reader. The descriptions of the town itself were incredibly detailed, and you truly feel like you have been transported into the eerie and secluded world the author's created. I felt like they did a fantastic job of creating a world that felt extremely isolated, which created delicious tension while I progressed through the story.

One issue I had, and perhaps other readers did as well, was that I didn't find myself all that sympathetic towards the main character, Katelyn. Although she does have a tragic back story, and of course she has reasons to be angry with her grandfather for uprooting her from her home in California, she just seemed wholly selfish and judgmental the entire story. She lashed out at pretty much everyone, and shuns others for doing things that she herself does on a regular basis. It is a bit of a stretch to think that someone could befriend or fall in love with her so quickly, given her emotional state and general attitude. This, I feel, is not a very good way to create empathy in the reader, and actually detracts from the other positive qualities Unleashed had to offer. Another problem I had with the book was the lack of unresolved story lines. I feel like, because this is set to be a series, the author's didn't feel the need to explain much in regards to some of the mysteries they weaved into the story, which proved to be frustrating when I reached the end of the book. I think they should have revealed at least some of these answers in book one, and created more story archs in future novels.

Overall, I was impressed with the detail allotted to the creation of the titular town, and felt as if I was actually a resident of Wolf Springs itself. The side characters were quite interesting, and I found myself more interested in the stories surrounding their lives than I did the main character, Katelyn. I am for sure going to pick up the next novel, because I am anxious to see where this tale is going to go, but there doesn't seem to be a release date yet for the second book in this series! It might be a long wait, but Unleashed is one howl of a good read!.

"'Don't tell anybody about this until I figure this out.' He wiped his face with his bloody t-shirt. 'It changes everything.'"

If you enjoyed Unleashed (Wolf Springs Chronicles #1), you might also like:

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

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