by Dean Murray
Published: Fir’shan Publishing (Self-Published) – October 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 stars)
Shape shifter Alec Graves has spent nearly a decade trying to keep his family from being drawn into open warfare with a larger pack. The new girl at school shouldn’t matter, but the more he gets to know her, the more mysterious she becomes. Worse, she seems to know things she shouldn’t about his shadowy world.
Is she an unfortunate victim or bait designed to draw him into a fatal misstep? If she’s a victim, then he’s running out of time to save her. If she’s bait, then his attraction to her will pull him into a fight that’ll cost him everything.
Young Adult is not a genre I frequently read, but the few YA books I have read I thoroughly enjoyed. Torn is no different. When I finally got to sit down and actually read the book, I did it in two days. I just had to know what was going to happen next.
We are introduced to Alec, the leader of his shapeshifter pack who’s trying to save the pack and his family from the many attacks by the rival pack in town. He may seem like just another normal teenager on the outside, but the weight of the world is on his shoulders and your heart can’t help but go out to him as he tries to keep his world from crumbling. By day, he goes to school, studies, and helps his younger sister with bullies. By night, he and the rest of his pack are in a bloody battle with a larger, more vicious pack who want to make the town their own personal playground. And with the Coun’hij, the overall rulers of the shapshifters, backing up the deranged pack and it’s leader, Brandon, Alec and his pack are in a very precarious position to defend themselves without human notice.
But the drama does not end there. The new girl, Adriana, is a mystery Alec does not have time to solve. She is unique in a way that leaves Alec questioning her origins and her loyalties. She may be beautiful, but her hot and cold attitude both infuriates Alec as well as draws him. Does she need to be protected, or will she be the cause of the pack’s downfall?
I was quite surprised by the savageness of the fights between the packs. There was no care for life and that only made the book that much better. I love no-holds-barred type of fighting. One wrong move can mean death. Now that is an intense concept and helps me, as the reader, become anxious and fearful for the characters I have an invested interest in. That’s what a book should do, evoke emotions that reel me in and never lets go.
I loved the mystery behind Adriana and Alec’s continuous attempts to figure her out. But as their relationship grows, I really enjoyed the gentle friendship and love that seems to bloom. In essence, they are both outsiders who don’t want to be alone anymore. And, in each other, they see possibilities for a happier future.
Brandon was just insane, as well as most of his pack. I really grew to hate him and wanted him dead in bad, bad ways. I won’t get into the details of the many ways I wanted him dead because I don’t want to scare anyone off. But let’s just say, as a writer, I literally spend hours thinking of the creative possibilities of offing someone. Hey, I never said I was sane, just funny.
As I read this book, I found myself being drawn into the diverse shapeshifters and their different characteristics. I’d be very interested to hear their stories in more depth, especially James’ and Jasmin’s. They have their own demons that only make a small appearance in the book.
I really did like this book but there are a few things about it that made me reluctant to give it more stars. First is the writing. The writing overall was very good, but I found going through Alec’s day at school to be boring and unnecessary. I don’t need to know if Biology dragged again this week. The structure of going through Alec’s school day was somewhat off-putting. It made me want to skip to the good parts.
Sometimes we are provided with information about certain stuff, like finances or homework, that I felt was wasted book space for more interesting topics like character history or world building.
There was a lot left unanswered and that bothered me. I don’t mind if an ending is open-ended or if we are left with a few questions. But as for the many mysteries or questions that come up during the whole of the book, those are things the reader needs to find out in the end, at least somewhat. So we had this build up then no real satisfying conclusion expect for maybe two parts of the main plot.
Come on, people, it’s Young Adult. Ergo, no sex.
Murray is also coming out with Broken which is the same story as Torn but through Adriana’s point of view. I really want to read that. Knowing how Adriana perceived all these events is something I not only want to know but need to know.
I will always have a couple things that will bother me about a book but that does not mean I didn’t enjoy it. I read this book in two sittings, that should tell you something. I would recommend this book to all YA readers out there. It was a cute love story with raw violence and supernatural elements. A great combination and overall interesting book.
Normally, I don’t like to read stories from a male point of view, but I’m trying to expand in my reading. I think Torn is worth reading.
Thanks for the review!
Jennifer L. Bielman
I know what you mean. I don’t often read books from a male’s point of view, but I found that it worked really well for this book.