Monday, October 21, 2013

ARC Review: Fractured by Sarah Fine


Title: Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2) 

Author: Sarah Fine

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Release Date: October 29th, 2013

It goes without saying that I couldn’t wait to delve into Fractured when it arrived on my doorstep. I loved Fine’s debut, Sanctum, last year, and couldn’t get enough of her complex world or even more tantalizing characters. Needless to say, I charged into Fractured with high expectations and have been, for the most part, fairly satisfied. Does Fractured fall short of hitting a few high notes? Sadly, yes, but I can guarantee that this sequel will still manage to satisfy fans and keep them thirsting for more. (Believe me, after this ending you will be willing to sell your soul to find out how this trilogy ends!)

Fractured picks up where Sanctum left off, with Malachi and Lela back in the human world. Fine excels in putting Lela back into the realm she left before, forcing her to face seemingly mundane issues. In particular, I loved Lela’s relationship with Dianne, her foster mother. We continue to uncover so many layers of vulnerability to Lela as we begin to learn – and live – with her current situation. Moreover, Lela must acclimate in high school, this time without Nadia. Fine slowly, but surely, eases Lela back into her old lifestyle, but making pointed changes, making Lela open herself to others, trust in friendship, and rely on loyalty.

Additionally, as Captain, Lela is in charge of the unit to find, hunt, and kill the Mazikin roaming in the human realm. Malachi, despite his seventy years of experience, is underneath Lela in terms of rank, which changes their relationship dynamic. More than that, though, Lela must assume responsibility, making decisions for those around her and following through with their consequences. Malachi, as Lieutenant, also struggles, however, both in the human world and with his own sense of firm morality. Fine takes Malachi on a dark path, psychologically, in Fractured, forcing him to accept many of the truths he took for granted in the past, which I love. Yet, I wish Malachi were explored in greater depth in this novel. Fractured is largely Lela’s novel, which I appreciate, but I felt as if the narrative could have benefited from a deeper insight into Malachi’s troubles as well.

A primary reason for this divide, though, is the fact that Lela and Malachi experience more than their fair share of utterly irritated relationship trouble. Sanctum developed the romance between these two perfectly – broken, but healing – and while I expected to see a struggle between Lela and Malachi in terms of maintaining their relationship, I didn’t expect the heavy dose of high school drama that came with it. Fractured introduces quite a few new characters with only a handful of them truly managing to get under your skin and make an impact. Sadly, the rest are background characters, existing solely for the purpose of creating tension in Lela and Malachi’s relationship – a trick that is just a little too old in the YA Genre these days.

What Fine does right, though, is keep this to a minimum. Instead, her novel is focused on the emotional growth of her characters and, most importantly, the plot thread of hunting down the Mazikin. Fractured brings forth a whole slew of bad-assery and unexpected twists, making for an enticing read despite the paranormal setting. Lela, in particular, has honed her skills and is a woman to be reckoned with, in terms of fighting prowess, which makes for an utterly action-packed novel. Fine, additionally, drops just enough hints about the Mazikin to keep us satisfied, but also keep us guessing about their true nature. We still remain largely in the dark about these beings, but I am fully confident that all answers will be revealed in the stunning conclusion next year.

Granted, Fractured may have not held my attention or kept my interest nearly as much as its predecessor did, but there were still plenty of bright spots. Lela continues to shine as a complex and intriguing protagonist while the plot of this novel never loses its breath-taking pace. With the high school setting, the middle can drag – just a little bit – but all-in-all, this is a sequel fans of Sanctum aren't going to want to miss. It's Sarah Fine, so as always, it's utterly readable, beautifully crafted, and such a pleasure to curl up with. Just be prepared for a little less Malachi, a little more kick-ass Lela, and a horde of crazy Mazikin, and you should be good to go! ;)

13 comments:

  1. Yeah, that's pretty much what I was afraid of. After the originality of Sanctum, I feared this would turn into your regular predictable paranormal romance, and in a way I feel that it has. I just can't stand to see these amazing characters in the middle of high school drama. They had much more maturity in Sanctum, and Malachi is far too old for such things.
    And a cliffhanger, really? I think I'll just stick with Sanctum for now and wait to read this when the next book comes out, even though I preordered.
    I'm glad you found something to like. Great review.

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  2. I skimmed your review since I have not read the first one--Lela seems like an interesting character with lots of depth. It's also great to see that there is a family relationship that is strong and likeable, too!

    Brilliant review, luv! <33

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  3. I'm seriously going to hit myself as I still haven't read Sanctum. I have heard only great things about it and I know how much you love it. I need to read it. I'm sorry to hear that Fractured didn't fulfill all your expectations but happy that it was satisfying after all. Amazing review Keertana :)

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  4. I've just skimmed your review, because I plan on picking this book up soon. Unfortunate seeing your 3.5 stars, Keertana and I had no idea there was going to be a 3rd book!

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  5. Another glowing review of this book! Lela and Malachi sound like fantastic characters. I could see me also wanting more Malachi, but given that it is Lela's book, perhaps the next will be more Malachi heavy. Don't like cliffies, so I may start this one when the 3rd comes out.

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  6. I agree Keertana, even though I loved this book, I would have liked for Lela and Malachi to stay together instead of deteriorating the way they did. It still made my heart hurt to read though, and it's in part why I was so emotionally involved, so I couldn't be too mad about it:) I'm glad you still loved Lela overall, she's quickly turned into one of my very favorite heroines!

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  7. I've seen some really good reviews of this one, but I've also seen some pretty so-so ones. I believe Jenny actually liked it more. I'm intrigued about this series though, and I might just have to try it out for myself! :)

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  8. Melissa, despite my issues with this novel, I cannot recommend this series enough. It's just so unique from everything else out there and I adore the characters. Sanctum, especially, is a favorite of mine. I'd love to know your thoughts on this! :)

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  9. Okay, I just skimmed this review because I have yet to start this series, and plan to - soonish! But I'm glad that you're still enjoying these books overall even if the second has some flaws, and the author resorted to YA drama to add tension. I'm dying to meet Malachi and Lela!

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    1. Lauren, this is the book I was talking about that introduced two more "love interests" who were really just there for jealousy/drama purposes since you know the main couple was never going to deviate from one another. It's another one of those weird not-quite love triangles, so I'm curious to see what you think of it!(:

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  10. I completely agree with everything you mention Keertana! I was a big fan of Sanctum, especially the dark & gritty world and the romance but this one didn't have that same feel to it and the unnecessary angst with the introduction of new characters as potential love interests was definitely not needed.

    I'm still super excited for the next book :-)

    A fabulous review!

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  11. Dammit, I so want to keep reading this series, but just the idea of Lela and Malachi involved in high school drama, and a love triangle....blah NOOOO. What do I doooo. Somebody please tell me Lela doesn't actually fall for those new love interests, please :(

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