Monday, August 11, 2014

Review & Giveaway - The Artful by Wilbert Stanton

Title:  The Artful
Series: Shadows of the City #1
Author: Wilbert Stanton
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Pages: 218
Goodreads Rating: 3.74/5 Stars
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult 
My Content Rating: Mature YA (References to sex, and some sexual scenes, though not graphic; Some language)

Summary from Goodreads: New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.
Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels - their playground. They aren't heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.

Awhile back, I posted a book blast and giveaway for this book, which included a guest post of sorts - an interview with two of the main characters from the book, Dodger and Twist. The interview itself was so engaging that I decided I needed to read the book for the upcoming review tour!

The book is a dystopian that takes place after a strange virus wipes out a good portion of the population and leaves everyone else basically allergic to the sun. The rich now spend their lives in highrise buildings, using drugs to numb their pain, while the poor live in underground cities. Twist and Dodger (who are named after a book that the man who took them in once read) are Gutter Punks - they steal medical supplies from the rich and give them to the poor. But when they accidentally help steal something important, they are forced to get it back - or Dodger will die from a virus that he's been injected with. It's a race against time when the two try to get the mysterious object back before Dodger succumbs to the virus.

What I loved:
  • Gia.  While Dodger and Twist are running from Manhattan's guards, they end up saving a girl named Gia from a rape attempt. She isn't much of a victim, though - in fact she's extremely tough - and Twist soon finds himself enamored with him. She ends up joining up with with Twist and Dodger and helps them on their journey. Gia was definitely my favorite character in the book, and her story was the most interesting to me (though I did predict one twist that involved her story). 
  • Twist.  I really liked Twist, even though he was a bit wimpy and self-deprecating at times. Still, I found him to be likable. He started out as Dodger's sidekick, but throughout the book he set out to prove that he could stand on his own two feet. At first his efforts weren't terribly successful, but his character definitely grew as the book went on and by the end I was really rooting for him.
  • The ending.  I don't want to give anything away, but some things happened at the end of the book that really surprised me and opened up a whole new host of possibilities for the next book. It definitely left me eager to continue the series!
The negatives:
  • Pacing.  The first half of this book moved a little bit slowly for some reason. It wasn't that there wasn't a lot happening - I guess I just wasn't always interested in the storyline in the first half, though Stanton did tie everything together in the end and everything that happened in the beginning was necessary. The pace really picked up for me in the second half, though - and the story got MUCH more interesting.
  • Dodger.  I never really connected much to Dodger. He was a wise-cracking womanizer and he sometimes became just a little bit irritating. Since it was his life they were racing to save, I needed to connect to him a little bit more in order for the stakes to feel higher, but it just never quite happened for me.
    Overall The Artful was an enjoyable dystopian read, and the series has great potential.  I give this one 4/5 stars.

    ***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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    About the Author
    Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

    Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

    In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

    Author Links:
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    Enter both giveaways, one for a signed copy of the book and another for an ebook copy!

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