Saturday, April 6, 2013

Vengeance Bound blog tour: review & giveaways

On this first Saturday of April, we hope the weather continues to warm up and show us that spring is here. Welcome to our stop on the Vengeance Bound blog tour hosted by AToMR Book Blog Tours. Our review is below and there's a giveaway to enter.
Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland 
YA fantasy/mythology*Hardcover/eBook, 320 pages 
Published April 2nd 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers 
Purchase: Amazon | Indiebound

The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge… no matter how far it takes her.

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

About the Author

Justina Ireland
Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. Vengeance Bound is her first novel.

As much as I enjoyed mythology classes in college, I'm not crazy about reading stories with a classic mythological bent. The summary for Justina Ireland's latest novel, Vengeance Bound, grabbed my attention and I tossed my reading preferences to the wind.

Vengeance Bound is an interesting and intriguing read. Main character Cory certainly held my interest. We first meet her as she's about to escape an institution with a friend, Annie. She is woozy from the months of drugs pumped into her system and the sudden withdrawal, but the voices inside her head begin to awaken as her body returns to normal. Cory is part of a trio of Furies. Yes, Furies. She is supposed to control them and we wonder as the story progresses who is controlling who? Tisiphone (hawk) and Megaera (snakes) love to inflict pain and together they pass judgment on those who sin the worst. The sinners are always men. Cory is not immortal, she is human and is possessed by these Furies. She has to let them "feed" at times and during these hunts for the worst murderers and rapists, Cory begins to enjoy the power rush. The only problem is the more she gives in to these urges, the more she feels her humanity slipping away.

After escaping, she lives life on the run with her cat Odie. The opening chapter really sets up a fascinating story of a human teen girl--the ringleader of two Furies seeking out the worst of the worst and exacting retribution across the country--as she battles her inner need to retain some of her humanity. Cory and the Furies use each other and it's only through her dreams where she speaks to Alekto (the third Fury she has taken the place of) where revelations about these immortals are slowly shared. Cory not only has to contend with reining in these beings but also with finishing up her senior year of high school at a new place.

This is a fantastic set-up and the first chapter is exciting and insightful. When the story jumps ahead by two years to Cory's arrival in West County and her ninth start at another school, my reading experience began to shift and suffer. The pacing slowed as Cory settles into another home and school. Things began to get confusing as we learn about past events through flashback and pieces of memories (her parents' death, lose of grandmother, she becomes a ward of the state of Georgia). There is action as the Furies exact revenge while details about their powers and abilities are revealed. The high school setting with the group of friends Cory decides to hang with was strange. If I thought the Furies were weird, get a load of Mindi, Amber and Dylan. I found some of the character's portrayals stereotypical (Mindi is broken, Amber is a spiteful bitch, and Dylan is the the typical demanding jock with loose hands). Cory sets her sights on the good looking Niko and wonders why the Furies are quiet.

Throughout my reading, I never fully connected with any of the characters. They didn't seem fleshed out. Cory remained cold and distant as the Furies became increasingly psychotic/unstable. The new friends were caricatures and again, I found this YA suffered from a case of insta-love. Cory's comments about Niko's eyes were pretty words of prose but I didn't feel or understand her attraction to him. Their relationship was convenient. What remained fascinating to me were the Furies and their increasing powers. The story became alive when the trio was exacting vengeance--judgment. This dark, edgy aspect of murdering those who kill for pleasure was well written and created the right amount of a tense, creepy atmosphere to tempt the voyeur in everyone. The ending surprised me and was not satisfying at all. 

For a story with so much promise but with a difficult execution, I wound up merely liking Vengeance Bound when I wanted to love it. 

Rating: 3

Cover comment:
Cory describes her looks as changing from dark colored hair to light blond with striking blue eyes. This model doesn't reflect that description at all and the clothing is meh. I don't like the cover. Where are the Furies? At least have them silhouetted or something in the background. Boring.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.

(2) Hardback copies of VENGEANCE BOUND plus a Swag Pack - US/Canada Only 
(5) Vengeance Bound Swag Packs - US/Canada Only 
Swag pack includes: 
Deluxe Bookmarks 
Rubber Bracelets 
Nail polish 
Lip gloss

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