Review: Frayed: A Madison Lark Novella by Blakely Chorpenning

Posted December 7th, 2011 in book review / 2 comments

Frayed: A Madison Lark Novella

Volume 1

by Blakely Chorpenning

Published: Self-Published (December 2011)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: Novella

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Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Fray loves being a semi-pro fighter and free spirit. However, when a deadly faction begins abducting supernatural teens in the Blue Hills of North Carolina for excruciating experiments, she quickly learns there is more to life than glitzy opponents and late night trysts. Fray and a crew of unlikely allies must rescue the children before they are dissected alive. Being a leopard shapeshifter helps. Confronting personal prejudice and traversing feelings for a tempestuous ex do not mix. But Fray is willing to go all the way to stop her world from changing. That is, until the ultimate sacrifice forces her to realize just how overdue change is.

Her most shocking discovery: Everyone’s human. At least a little…

The Good
I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed Frayed. In the novella we meet Fray, a leopard shapeshifter with an ingrained prejudice against vampires, werewolves, and other shapeshifters. It’s how supernatural creatures live, hating those who are not their own but tolerating them only when they are helpful. But as Fray and vampire Haden Nash work together to find the many supernatural teens that have been kidnapped for nefarious reasons, Fray realizes it’s time for every species to end this poorly reasoned animosity. Maybe if everyone would have just worked together in the first place, these horrible occurrences would have never come to be. Innocence would have never been taken and lives could have been saved.

I loved that supernatural social issues were so beautifully woven within the plot. It gave the story numerous layers that pulled me into these characters’ lives more than I expected for a novella. But the main plot was fascinating on it’s own. There was mystery, horror, and fast-paced action. The dialogue was simply brilliant. I love humor in urban fantasy. When a story gets dark for portions of the book, it’s nice to have that comedic relief. The banter between Fray and Nash was hilarious and really made me like both characters for simply being smartasses.

Fray was a great heroine for this story. She’s tough, smart, and speaks her mind. She actually learns from her mistakes and tries to better herself. I think she really shines when she’s bantering with Nash. Of course, she naturally despises him. He’s a vampire, all he’s good at is being dead and savage. But after spending time with him, she realizes that maybe her preconceived notions are wrong. Nash is actually an all around gentlemen, even when he’s purposely egging Fray on.

Let’s move on to the romance. You know that ex that you never really got over but had to let go because you two were simply not compatible, both too strong-willed and pigheaded to yield to the other. Yeah, that’s Blaire and Fray. We don’t get to travel too much into their “relationship lane” but the peeks we see left me wanting more. I don’t even know if I want them together, but their somewhat mysterious past makes me crave to see what they are like in a relationship.

The secondary characters were all very interesting and multi-dimensional. Again, we get small snippets of their characters and their pasts making me wish there was more time to delve further into their stories. Lucy, Nash’s ex-girlfriend who’s also a vampire, was nothing at all what I expected. In most books, when you meet the ex, they are just horribly rude and evil. Not Lucy. She was so sweet my teeth hurt, in a good way. I actually really liked her, even though she is only a small part of the story.

There were some great action scenes that were both ferocious and technically written well. The ending was almost hard to read. I really did want to cry. These poor children go through so much and it can’t help but break your heart. When someone can make my cold heart actually ache, then I have to applaud them for a job well done.

The Bad
I’m finding it difficult to come up with the right wording to describe what I didn’t like but I’ll try. I felt some parts of the novella were overwritten. Though the language and style was very imaginative and elaborate, I felt the overdone descriptions and artistic comparisons were too much sometimes. I actually had to reread several sentences to understand what the author was trying to convey. I like creative and descriptive language as much as the next reader, but it can be overused to the point of confusion. But that’s my only complaint, so I give props to Chorpenning since I tend to complain about everything and anything. What can I say, I am what I am (Oh yeah, I went there. Totally invoking Popeye. He’s the man.) 

The Snuggly
Some heavy petting that ended in a way that made me laugh my butt off. We also get a shower scene but nothing too sexual. No sex.

I laughed, I was frightened, I was shocked, and I was completely satisfied by the end. I think this book makes a great addition to my urban fantasy collection. Frayed was well written except for a few quirks and was extremely entertaining. Highly recommended.

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2 Responses to “Review: Frayed: A Madison Lark Novella by Blakely Chorpenning”

  1. Candace

    I don’t think I’ve read anything from the Urban Fantasy genre, but this seems to be a good book to start with.

    Thanks for the review!

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