Monday, February 17, 2014

Review & Giveaway - Five - Out of the Dark by Holli Anderson

Title: Five - Out of the Dark
Series: Five #1
Author: Holli Anderson
Release Date: August 20, 2013
Pages: 250
Goodreads Rating: 4.06 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Nothing more than kissing, some violence)

Summary from Goodreads: Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes. Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon. Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul. 
Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster isn’t the only problem they have to deal with. The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.

Five - Out of the Dark was difficult for me to review because it started out very shaky for me and then got better and better as the book progressed.  Here's why:

The negatives:
  • Beginning moves way too fast.  Honestly, I was very worried at the beginning of this book. I was starting to wonder if I was even going to be able to give it three stars because the beginning of the book had some major issues.  The biggest of these was the pacing - everything moved at breakneck speed. In the first 25 pages or so of the book, Paige discovers that she has powers, experiments with her powers, is discovered, almost gets locked up, runs away, meets up with with Johnathan, finds a psychic who tells them about their powers, discovers there is such a thing as demons and fae and such, finds and joins with three more kids with magical powers, learns (from a book) just about everything she needs to know about magic and magical creatures, fights many battles against those magical creatures (it is during one of these that Johnathan is bitten) and FALLS IN LOVE. 25 pages!  Is your head spinning yet? Because mine was. It honestly bordered on ridiculous. There was obviously no real character development or really even plot development during all of this - it all just happened, as quickly as possible.  It was as if Anderson really wanted to get to the real book and just needed to get these pesky details out of the way.  The book needed 50-100 more pages at the beginning to flesh out everything that was happening!  Now, I'm happy to say that once I got past the beginning of the book, things got much better.  It took me a little while to get past the feeling of frustration I was having at the beginning and there were still some times when I wished there was a bit more development, but the book easily turned into a four star book somewhere around a third of the way through.
What I loved:
  • Paige.  I enjoyed Paige as a main character.  She was strong, but broke down sometimes when things got too crazy (which happened pretty often), she was smart and didn't let fear or anything else stop her from doing what she knew she had to do. I was rooting for her!
  • Johnathan's transformation.  Johnathan's transformation into a werewolf was handled really well. Not just his actual physical transformation (which was pretty harrowing), but the way that his personality changed even when he wasn't a beast. He had an incredibly difficult time controlling himself - both his anger and his lust for Paige. There were times when he would lose control completely - and everyone needed to stay out of his way when that happened!! Not only was this a struggle for Johnathan, but it created dramatic tension for the rest of the group (especially Paige). Johnathan, of course, didn't want to hurt anyone and Paige felt like she was racing the clock to save him before he either took off or went off the deep end. Paige was willing to do anything to save him - even if it meant facing the worst kind of evil.
  • The school storyline. I also really enjoyed the storyline at the school - kids were mysteriously committing suicide in droves and those who hadn't killed themselves were turning into lifeless versions of themselves. Paige and her friends knew that there was something demonic behind it all, but they didn't know what or how to help, so they went into the school, undercover. I especially loved when Paige is exposed to the substance that was affecting the other kids in the school - the results were terrifying!!
Get past the first third or so of this book and you will find an engaging, intriguing paranormal mystery with real bite.  If you're a fan of this type of book, read it, knowing it improves immensely as it goes on.  I struggled a bit with rating this one, but in the end decided on  3.5/5 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
Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on, but has a particular love for anything fantasy.

Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah—the same small town in which she grew up.

Author Links:
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Two giveaways!!  One for an ebook copy of the book (just here on my site) and one for a signed paperback, bookmark, poster and mug (tour-wide).  Good luck!

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