Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Publishing Date: April 12 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Page count: 336 (paperback)
Fractured Soul (an adept name, too!) is the sequel to Fractured Light, and finds our resident Aura Llona Reese (an Aura is someone who is basically a descendent of Light itself, and they are good people and their purpose in life is to make others feel better) at Lucent Academy (I LOVE the school’s name!) to learn more about being an Aura and how to use her skills. Unfortunately, not everything is above the board at the school of light, and darkness and corruption lurk around every corner putting not only Llona and her guardian boyfriend Christian in danger, but the entire school as well.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with McClellan’s writing. She has a firm grasp of the English language and there are no overt language mistakes that I can recall. The issue I have in and of itself is the storytelling skill. McClellan clearly has a strong plot, and great characters, but I never get a sense of urgency or danger. Llona is never really threatened because she’s just so amazingly kick-ass, but then all of a sudden for no reason in particular she’ll need rescuing. I understand that it presents a truth: that even the most amazing of people still need help sometimes – but it happens frequently, and in the end I was frustrated by this simple fact: when Llona fights, she’s awesome. Then she’ll become the underdog for no reason. Someone rescues her, and afterwards she’ll reflect how she nearly died. Yet I never actually felt that Llona was threatened. I never really felt that Llona was in danger. Her kick-ass-ness did not balance well with her helplessness, and although I can see what McClellan was trying to do, it didn’t work with me.
The other thing that I felt was flat was the fight scenes. When Llona fought one on one with an enemy, she was amazingly agile and super strong and could backflip and perform flying kicks with absolutely no training whatsoever. But at least the actual writing of the scene was balanced. When it was a group fight, the attention was not thoroughly spaced on the other characters and I often felt that the villains were just standing around, watching. In a scene where absolutely everyone is moving and everyone is fighting for their lives, I often felt that the focus was spent too long on one item or another, or the details were a deliberately vague “He fought well” kind of thing. The fight scenes often left me frustrated and wanting more. And also, Llona learns to do something relatively easily which none of the other Auras can do, and I just wish it had been a bit more dangerous for her…
Christian, on the other hand, was awesome. Oh, that ending. Kudos to McClellan for having the ovaries to do what so many other writers do not. Yes, I hated Christian in Fractured Light because he was a sexist misogynist dick head who pushed Llona around and refused to teach her how to fight. But that was because he was indoctrinated in this misogynistic society which declares that Auras, as females, are too weak to fight and handle the responsibility of killing someone, even if it is in their own defence. I never felt that McClellan was preaching this to me, because of course Llona wholeheartedly rejects this and demonstrates again and again just what an Aura is capable of, which I loved. And in this book Christian was a sweet, mature, supportive boyfriend who was always there for Llona even when she was pushing him away. Not my kind of swoon, but appreciated all the same.
While the book suffered from a few clichés (bitchy queen bee who hated Llona for no reason, Llona being a bit too special even in a school of special girls) and the bad guys really had quite poor motivation and only appeared as needed, there are good things about this book!
- NO LOVE TRIANGLE. (I shipped one, but it totally wasn’t real).
- Strong female friendship! Llona actually has friends outside of her boyfriend. And those friends are three-dimensional.
- AND ALSO. OH MY GOD THAT ENDING. I can’t spoil it for you but THANK YOU, RACHEL.
OK, so I don’t LOVE these books, and sometimes it’s so bad I just have to laugh, but I am entertained nonetheless. This book series is one of my guilty pleasures, and I for one am totally looking forward to yet another beautiful cover on Fractured Truth, which once again should be an awesome book because from the sneak peek at the back of this book it looks like Llona’s graduated from school and is going into some kind of espionage*…?
*May not be actual plot of Fractured Truth.
An advance reader copy was kindly provided by the publisher.