Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review of Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith and US/CAN Giveaway!

Hey guys! I know I've been MIA for over a month, but things have been insane with my baby girl making an appearance very soon and trying to get everything done at work before I left. So blogging and reading unfortunately had to take a backseat this month. That said, behind the scenes, I've not completely stopped working on things for the blog! First, I just want to let you know that I'm going to have the immense privilege to be the Fierce Reads blogger for the St. Louis event in October, so tune in then for a chance to win books for 4 different authors and to see my interview with them! I'm really excited to be a part of the event.

But now let's get to business. A few months ago, I read a really wonderful book called Stranger by an author duo, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. My sister has been following Rachel's blog for a while and really enjoyed her writing, so she connected the two of us. I'm so glad she did because I really believe in the deluge of post apocalyptic YA novels, this duo brings something new to the genre. 

Stranger (The Change, #1)
Goodreads Book Description: Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Stranger stands on its own, but there will be three more books in the series: Hostage, Rebel, and Traitor.

My Rating: 4.5 couches out of 5

My Review: I was given this book by one of the authors after my sister recommended she send it to me in exchange for an honest review. I'm glad my sister knows my taste because I really enjoyed this book! I award it 4.5 stars.

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith has FIVE POV's in the tale. Usually, this is a tactic that is totally lost on me because there's either not enough story for these characters (and this may play true a little bit here) or it's just not well done. But don't be deterred by the number of different points of view-- the reasons for them become clearer, and I think they'll play an even larger role in the future books. There are a few characters that stand out as main characters, however. Ross is one, who is a prospector in this dystopian/paranormal like YA novel. In the beginning, he is staggering through the desert getting chased by a bounty hunter and ends up in a town, Las Anclas, with a precious stolen artifact. He never intended on settling down, but he may end up calling this place home. We get introduced to many many different characters and the world in general as well as the political setup.

I really enjoyed this book, and it's really unlike a lot of books that I usually gravitate towards. It wasn't the most fast paced of books, but I definitely wanted to pick it up again the next day to see what was going to happen with the rest of the characters. Ross, Mia, and Jennie are all very likeable characters, and we see each of their viewpoints. There are other supporting characters that we see into the heads of, which I am not going to talk too much about because there are definite surprises in store. One of my favorites is one of the town's mean girls, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of her in future books. There are multiple homosexual couples, and I love how this is dealt with as completely normal in this world, nice to see, and even one relationship that is M/F/F, and I'm fascinated to see where that's going to lead. I wonder what naysayers are going to say about this. The book is very clean, and I hope we won't see any outrageous outcry about how the relationships are portrayed in this book.

The only issues I had with this book is that the pacing is sometimes slow, but I was willing to take the ride, and sometimes, the multiple POV's did hinder my enjoyment of the book, only because it even further slowed down the pace sometimes. I'd be really interested in what one character was doing and thinking and then get stuck in the head of another not as important character. That said, I obviously greatly enjoyed it even despite my personal preferences.

Overall, I was impressed with this first installment co-written by these two writers. I definitely am highly anticipating the next book already, and I think this is a worthy read that will be snapped up by those who are looking for something a little different in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic genre with fascinating characters and a really interesting world setup.

The publisher is generously donating a hard copy of this book for you guys! Don't forget to tune in tomorrow to see an amazing interview with both of the authors! 
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  1. I definitely want to read this one! In fact, when I went to add it to my TBR, I found it was already there :) I love dystopian books, and I actually really like the idea of the multiple POVs. It doesn't bother me at all if done right. Thanks for the chance to win, I definitely will need to get this book either way!

  2. Yes, you know how much I value your reviews, I definitely want to read this!!! I'm down for a good dystopian read.

  3. This is an informative review. I'm also not a fan of multiple POVs but am willing to give this one a chance.