Book Review: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Summary: Possessed by the Furies, Amelie Ainsworth is driven by their bloodlust to deliver their violent justice whether she wants to or not. After escaping the Asylum where she had spent years, all she wants is to have a normal life. And things work out for a while as Amelie meets a boy who the Furies grow silent around until someone – the doctor who had taken away her freedom and subjected her to harsh medical testing – shows up again. The Furies are violent beyond control, turning her mind into a battlefield. Amelie must choose what is more important. Denying the Furies the power they have over her, or letting them take control and seek vengeance.

Thoughts: Vengeance Road wasn’t like I thought it would be. For starters, there was less mythology than I was expecting but it was a very fast read. The premise was really interesting, and I enjoyed the writing. However, Amelie changed a lot from the girl at the start and I’m not really sure how I felt about her character development. It read like a lot of change in so little time. Her relationship with Niko threw me off, because it was too instantaneous. Amelie was so preoccupied with the Furies in her head and what they made her do, and she was so focused on her end-goal and how nothing could get in the way of that, that when Niko showed up and her opinions changed all of a sudden, I couldn’t believe it. Niko was too bland of a character for my liking, but all the other male characters in the book were either 1- rapists and molesters or 2- idiot high school jerks that I had no choice but to like the only normal, though be it, characterless character. And even all the other female characters in the story weren’t normal – they were either insane, jealous or psychotic. I tried to like this book, I even held off an entire week on writing this review hoping my confusing thoughts would sort themselves out, but aside from premise, prose and a decent enough main character, I can’t find anything to love about the story.

Stars: 2/5

Book Review: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Summary: While breaking into the house of the man who allegedly murdered her mother to steal incriminating evidence from his hard drive, Tina gets caught by his son and her childhood friend, Michael. To stop her from releasing all the information, they strike a deal to investigate her mother’s murder before releasing the evidence. But her crime boss is waiting and the more she waits, the more her life is in danger.

Thoughts: I was really looking forward to this book because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. I think that pitch set my expectations too high. While it was an enjoyable mystery, it wasn’t a page-turning kind of thriller. The setting was great, and the characters as well even though they read a bit too mature for their age, but then again, it makes sense that they would be having gone through the things that they have. I loved how focused Tina was on avenging her mother, but at the same time, it was that very focus that made every thing else around her seem unimportant. And that includes her relationship with Michael. I feel like if the romance aspect was taken out, I’d have enjoyed the book more because I just couldn’t believe it when it happened. Tina was such a fierce and determined character, and her capacity for love was clearly evident in how much she loved and tried to give her sister a good life, that the Michael thing read a bit forced and unnecessary because Tina herself was only aware of it sporadically and most of it was concentrated towards the very end. However, what I loved most about this book though, and what set it apart from many other books out there, is how Anderson sheds light on real atrocities happening in the world and to the Congolese people specifically – like crime, war, violence against women, greed etc. If you’re looking for a YA novel set in Africa, with an interesting plot, great characters, and some real world stories, then you will really like City of Saints and Thieves. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any page-turning thrillers with interesting settings that I need to read ASAP. Happy reading!

Stars: 3/5