Friday, April 18, 2014

Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan [Review]

Darkest Fear (Birthright, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan
Series: Birthright #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release: January 7, 2014
Hardcover: 368 Pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
My Copy: Publisher (Netgalley)
Reviewer: Shannon
Buy the Book: Amazon

Book Summary:
Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy—and maybe her downfall—in this start to a romantic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Vivi has known the truth about her family—and herself—since she was thirteen. But that doesn’t mean she’s accepted it. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar?

Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with the shocking, devastating deaths of her parents and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead—but so do dangers unlike anything Vivi ever could have imagined.
(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
I really liked Cate Tiernan's Immortal Beloved series, so I was excited to delve into her new paranormal series shape shifters!  Sounds great, right?  Well, at first I was on board.  Vivi lives with her parents in South Florida, but eschews their Haguari ways.  She is horrified that she can change in a jaguar and wants no part in it.  She just wants to escape to college in Seattle and live far, far away from her parents.  But tragedy strikes when her parents are murdered.  Unsure of what to do, Vivi uncovers long lost cousins in New Orleans.  She leaves Florida to meet them and ends up staying on in New Orleans.  She is now surrounded by Haguari and begins to accept who she is.  Sort of.   

But, here is where the book stalls.  What started as promising delves into incredibly mundane and seemingly pointless activities.  We spend a lot of time as Vivi gets a job in a coffee house, and bakes, and ponders her feelings.  It all felt...unnecessary, really.  I wish the focus remained more on the Haguari lifestyle and less on Vivi's baking prowess.  It doesn't help that Vivi has the same five thoughts over and over.  The last 5% of the book does ratchet up the action, but I couldn't help but feel that it was too little, too late.

I'm on the fence about whether I would continue this series. On one hand, I felt like I could easily set it aside.  But then there are parts that are hugely intriguing such as the mystery surrounding Vivi's parents' deaths and the Haguari lifestyle.  (I love the narrative style change when Vivi turns into a jaguar.) Also I want to find out what the deal with Vivi's best friend is after she randomly shows up on Vivi's doorstep at the end of the book.  I want to believe that Tiernan can turn this series around.  We'll see.

Disclosure:  I reviewed a copy free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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