Monday, January 27, 2014

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet

Title: Bloodmark
Author: Aurora Whittet
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Published: November 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy 
Source: Author - For review

Sixteen-year-old werewolf princess Ashling Boru is different from other wolves—she was able to shift to wolf form at birth. Rather than bringing pride to her family, it brings fear, and as a result, she is forced to live in seclusion in Ireland’s countryside. Ashling’s reputation is further blackened when she refuses her betrothed and defies the ancient laws. When her pack’s oldest rivals begin hunting her, she finds herself in the small town of York Harbor, Maine—far from everything she’s ever known.

 In Maine, she crosses paths with the dark and rebellious Grey Donavan, and something ignites within her soul. There’s just one problem: Grey is human. Their instant connection turns into a passionate romance, and Ashling begins to believe she can create her own life outside of wolf laws. When she begins to uncover long-buried pack secrets—secrets that threaten to destroy all she holds dear—Ashling’s courage and tenacity are tested. Will she choose her deep and enduring love for Grey, or will she follow Old Mother’s path to her destiny?

Well.. yeah.. this book.. okay.

Bloodmark is a story of a young werewolf girl, Ashling, who has been hidden from the world since birth, the only reason being because she was, simply, different. One day she's finally allowed back into her Father's kingdom, only to be told that her future husband awaits her. Then..  shit starts to go down.

First of all, I just have to say that 'Bloodmark' had its highs and its lows. The opening set the book off at a high. Well, you know, three-quarters of a high, if that makes any sense whatsoever! It explains early on, why Ashling was cast away from the Boru family kingdom, that she was abnormal in her being able to shift into a werewolf just after being born, instead of at the age of puberty. Little side-note, I had one of my little laughing fits imagining a newborn baby alternating between wolf and human form as it crowned, but that's not important, haha!
Being a naturally curious person, I was immediately questioning how King Porr came to the decision that neglecting his prophecy-mentioned, first daughter was the best way to protect her. Usually in these sort of stories, the protective Father would lock his daughter away somewhere close to him, in order to keep her safe, and you can sort of understand that. But I couldn't understand this one at all. I felt he was just thrown into the story to be hated by the readers. I mean, Ashling spoke about him being a loving, caring and kind man while at the Cliffs, where she grew up with only her Mother, but when we ware finally introduced to him, I couldn't see any hints of the Father she supposedly knew. Not even remnants. So yeah.. that kind of confused me.

It wasn't even just her Father that I didn't get. Ashling, in my opinion, was probably the most confusing. After the first few chapters I had a really good feeling about her. She was excited to see her Father, and the rest of her family again, excited to return to Cashel, where she was born, her home. But all of a sudden her Father surprises her with an arranged marriage. I was all for her reaction, and sympathised with her when she was locked up. I felt bad for her, you know.
I'm not exactly sure where my opinions changed after that, to be honest. Out of nowhere, she's leaving her family behind trying to escape her Father and the arranged marriage to Brychan. Before she goes to far, she meets her Father's oldest enemies, runs straight back and it's like nothing ever happened! It was just all too melodramatic and rushed for me.

The characterisation was all over the place, sometimes spot on and other times, just.. wrong. Personally, a book has got to have good characterisation if I'm going to want to read on. In this book, I felt like everyone apart from Ashling was 2-D, either really really nice or really really nasty. I know she's the girl of the prophecy and all, but I felt like all of the other characters were a bit too nice to her, and to even it out, random, mean people were thrown in. Robert, fair enough, he was the leader of the 'bloodsuckers' hunting Ash. Adomnan, fair enough, he was the typical antagonist from day one, but the likes of Lacey, was that really necessary?

Though I was slightly put off by the characters, I absolutely loved the bonds between them. After my initial 'fed up' reaction with Ash and Grey's 'insta-love', I actually sort of liked their relationship. Was I annoyed at how quickly they fell for each other? Yes. Did I sigh every time Ash described how painful it was to be without him? Yes. Did my head shake at how imperfectly perfect their love was made out to be? Oh hell yes. But after Whittet did some explaining on how love between werewolves was magnetic, and instant and stuff, I grew to accept it. In the end, I actually started to enjoy it. I think..
I also really liked the relationships between Mund and Tegan, Tegan and Ash, and Ash and Mund. It was the sort of undeniable love and loyalty that family members have for each other. It was realistic, and easy to relate to.

Mother of God, the ending! So much fighting and action.. I loved it! Am I mean in saying I would have liked Admonan's death to have been fleshed out a little more? I was looking forward to it the whole book, especially during the boring school-related chapters, that I just wanted it to be a bit longer and more detailed. Apart from that, though, the action in the end was really cool! It's arguable that Ashling was beat up a little too much, but it turned out alright, she got her revenge! Haha

After comprehending all my thoughts and trying to fit them into this one little review, I think I can safely say that I liked this book. The beginning was good, the middle bit could have done with some serious work, but the ending definitely brought it back, and I can't wait for the sequel, as a result!

Have any of you guys read this yet? Would love to hear any thoughts you had on this book!
Thanks for reading!

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