Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review + Giveaway: The Scourge

THE SCOURGE
The Scourge #1
A.G. Henley
Paranormal Young Adult/Dystopian-ish
242 pages
Self-published
Available now
Received courtesy of Kismet Book Touring for review

THE STORY (From Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Groundling, Fennel, is Sightless. She's never been able to see her lush forest home, but she knows its secrets. She knows how the shadows shift when she passes under a canopy of trees. She knows how to hide in the cool, damp caves when the Scourge comes. She knows how devious and arrogant the Groundlings' tree-dwelling neighbors, the Lofties, can be.

And she's always known this day would come—the day she faces the Scourge alone.

The Sightless, like Fenn, are mysteriously protected from the Scourge, the gruesome creatures roaming the forests, reeking of festering flesh and consuming anything—and anyone—living. A Sightless Groundling must brave the Scourge and bring fresh water to the people of the forest. Today, that task becomes Fenn's.

Fenn will have a Lofty Keeper, Peree, as her companion. Everyone knows the Lofties wouldn’t hesitate to shoot an arrow through the back of an unsuspecting Groundling like Fenn, but Peree seems different. A boy with warm, rough hands who smells like summer, he is surprisingly kind and thoughtful. Although Fenn knows his people are treacherous, she finds herself wanting to trust him.

As their forest community teeters on the brink of war, Fenn and Peree must learn to work together to survive the Scourge and ensure their people’s survival. But when Fenn uncovers a secret that shatters her truths, she’s forced to decide who and what to protect—her people, her growing love for Peree, or the elusive dream of lasting peace in the forest.


MY THOUGHTS
A book without much hype to prepare us in terms of expectations, The Scourge surprises us as we turn the first page of what is essentially a blank canvas, our opinion completely uncolored by outside influence and our minds wide open as we wonder just what's in store for us. What we find waiting is a hugely engaging story with a fascinating world and well-developed characters, the type who are an extraordinary balance of strength and vulnerability, fighting conflicts both internal and external and encouraging us to pick up their war cry and battle right beside them. Before we even realize it, the hands of the nearest clock are suddenly in a drastically different place than when last we checked them, and we can only shake our heads in delighted shock at how quickly time has passed since everything The Scourge has to offer utterly consumed us.

Fennel is an exceptional young woman, completely sightless in a dangerous world, but yet she, of all the people in their village, is the most equipped for survival. It seems the Scourge–zombie-like creatures who roam the woods around her home and are known to brutally attack and devour whatever’s in their path–don’t harm those who can’t see them, allowing Fennel to venture out for water while the rest of her village retreats to the safety of caves until the Scourge leaves the area once again. Her fear when she’s faced with the putrid smell and terrifying moans escaping the rotting corpses who shuffle along beside her as she gets water is palpable, but she never lets it overwhelm her, finding strength with the assistance of Peree to single-handedly ensure the survival of everyone in the village.

The romance between Fennel and Peree is beautifully executed, the inherent distrust between Fennel’s people, the Groundlings, and Peree’s people, the Lofties, something that takes a while for our two young protagonists to wade through, and we as readers are beyond grateful for the slow progression. Each small step forward in their relationship is a subtle change we’re given time to fully absorb and appreciate, their forced partnership slowly evolving into desired companionship, tentative attraction, and then finally admitted affection, a step that sets the butterflies in our bellies to fluttering at an unprecedented speed.

The only minor complaint with this story is a lack of clarity at times in terms of the world building. We’re not given much information as to how this post-apocalyptic world came to be, or how the Scourge themselves became sick initially, but luckily for us, the journey Peree and Fennel embark on so thoroughly captivates and entertains us with what we do know that it’s difficult to fixate on what we don’t. This first installment concludes nicely, leaving us at a logical stopping place even though all of our questions are far from answered, and we put it down infinitely satisfied despite some of our lingering curiosities with regard to world and its parameters.

Rating: 4/5 




GIVEAWAY

A huge thank you to Kismet Book Touring and A.G. Henley for offering up the absolutely fantastic giveaway going on throughout this tour! To enter, please just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

51 comments:

  1. I had not even heard about this one before. Nice premise, and I think I could like it

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised by this one, I had no idea what to expect! I adored Fennel and Peree:)

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  2. this looks like a great book, thank you for the giveaway.

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  3. Wow, this one sounds fantastic! Zombies, romance, and heart-pounding action? I'm in! It's a shame about the world-building, but at least it wasn't egregious, so I'm certainly looking forward to reading this one soon! :)

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    1. It honestly just didn't bother me that much. Yes, I wanted to know how things came to be, but I was so involved in what was happening currently that I didn't care how they got there. I know more explanations are on the way since it's only book 1:)

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  4. Aaah, I hate it when these kind of stories don't have much of a backround story of how it all came to be that way. However, the cover, the synopsis and your review have totally sucked me in! It's great to see a self-published book have such an awesome cover, because they usually tend to be a bit boring and too photoshopped. This one is scary as well as beautiful. Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I'm in love with it:) The story was fabulous as well even without knowing all the details of the world itself!

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  5. *shivers* This one sounds super-creepy and fantastic! It's hard enough to be blind in our current world; I can't imagine what it would be like in a world that's pretty much out to get you. And yay for an awesome romance!

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    1. Fennel was SO much stronger than I would have been. I likely would have dissolved into tears on multiple occasions. I'm not proud. But at least I'm honest ;-)

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  6. This is a new author for me and sounds like the type of book I would enjoy...plus the cover is cool.

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    1. She's a new author for me too and I will definitely be reading anything else she decides to write:)

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  7. I love a book and a character that takes me by surprised. Not to mention a good romance. You know me Jenny! I need love in my books. Nice review and thank you for sharing.

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    1. I need love in my books too Savy, so believe me when I say you'll like this one!

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  8. The lack of context and world building would make me batty but the romance and other elements must be great since it didn't seem to bother you so much. This one reminds me of "The Forest of Hands and Teeth" by Carrie Ryan, which freaked me out.

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    1. I haven't read that one! Normally zombies and zombie-like creatures freak me out, but I really liked the way things turned out in this book and while it was unnerving at times, it wasn't downright terrifying. I don't do well with terrifying:)

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  9. I have this, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Your great review has me interested now.

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    1. Yay! I hope you give it a chance Ellen!

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  10. I'm glad you liked this one, Jenny! I'm so weary of self-published books nowadays just because I don't usually love them that much, mostly due to poor editing. Drives my OCD crazy. :P May have to look into this one soon. :)

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    1. I am too Bailey, and if I'm being perfectly honest, I likely would have passed this one by if I hadn't been a part of the tour. And I would have missed out on something fabulous!

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  11. I've never heard of this book before, but it sounds like a really interesting zombie book. I really love the sound of the characters and the romance seems sweet. It's really too bad about the lacking world-building though. Still, it seems like overall it's a satisfying read! I'll be adding this to my to-read list. Great review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Definitely a very satisfying read Nick! I was thoroughly impressed with this one and can't wait to see what happens for Fennel and Peree in book 2!

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  12. Hmm...sounds interesting. The synopsis makes it sound so foreign that it's a little hard to relate to, but clearly it must make sense when you read it. Although zombie like creatures sounds freaky.

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    1. It did take me a little while to get my sea legs (so to speak) in this world, but once Fennel and Peree started their daily trips to get water, I couldn't put the book down!

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  13. Is Fennel's last name Seeds? (This is likely an inappropriate question, but as soon as I saw that name, that's all I could think of. I am a bad person.)

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    1. Hahaha I don't believe that is her last name, no. I remember there being a mention of how she got her name, but I can't remember now:)

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  14. Thanks for sharing this new-to-me book. I think this book might scare me a bit (I'm a total baby when it comes to creepy reads), but the romance in it sounds pretty good. I'll have to check it out! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I'm a total baby too Christina, but fear not! It has its tense moment, but it's in no way a full-on zombie or horror novel. I highly recommend:)

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  15. I saw self pubbed and a four and that is always so nice to see. I enjoy finding a good indie book, but I have lost patience hunting. I like that this has a well executed romance and good world building and a nice stopping point at the end. I am so tired of ridiculous endings. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Danny at Kismet brought this one to my attention, and I'm so glad she did! I doubt I would have found it on my own but it really impressed me:)

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  16. Oh wow Jenny, from your review it looks like The Scourge definitely needs loads of hype, how had I not heard about this book sooner? I love the premise of this book, it's so different to the many books already out there and the cover! Gosh it's to die for! Such a beautiful review Jenny! Thank you so much for putting this on my radar! :)

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    1. Isn't the cover stunning! I was scrolling down Danny's intro email for this tour and I didn't even read the blurb before I signed up. I just saw that cover and was like YES! It was a gamble I won:)

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  17. Ah hon!!! I know how many times you told me already that I NEED to read it! Your review totally blew me! I'm going to read it in my holidays :)))

    *hugs*

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    1. READ IT DANNY!!!! Then we will swoon over Peree together:)

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  18. Oh this sounds like it's good. Granted I'd want to know the "how" but if it captivated you, I think I can wait for that to be revealed. It looks like a series so there is hope that will happen. :) I love the angle of the blind girl and being competent. Reminded me of Vessel (one of the characters) so I know I must read it. :)

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    1. Every once in a while something would be said about the Scourge and I'd be all "how did this happen to them" but it was honestly something that stayed way in the back of my mind throughout. I so enjoyed Fennel and Peree and their story that I didn't care so much about anything else:)

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  19. Absolutely fantastic review, Jenny! Zombie-like creatures? A slow-developing romance? Yes, please! I first saw this on your sidebar and immediately knew I wanted to read it. I can forgive the somewhat problematic worldbuilding if the other elements are strong enough. And plus, that cover is just gorgeous!

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    1. YEAH!!! I loved the slow building romance - there was just something really appealing about Fennel having to trust Peree to protect her from the Scourge that sucked me in. It wasn't like she was a damsel in distress either, she was more than capable of taking care of herself in a variety of ways, but because she couldn't see them, she had to rely on him and it just made for some really tense moments:)

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  20. Thank you for the amazing review, Jenny! I'm very excited that you enjoyed it so much. I'm also happy that so many of your readers are interested in checking it out. Book 2 should be ready for release in March or April, so stay tuned if you are interested in reading on.

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    1. You're so welcome, I just loved it! I will definitely keep an eye out for book 2:) Can't wait!

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  21. Despite the lack of clarity with the world-building, this sounds like an interesting dystopian. This was totally new to me, but its something I'd like to read. thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Glad I could put this one on your radar Kimba!

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  22. Love to read some romance. Count me in!!

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  23. I love hidden Indies that just explode and blow you away with how fabulous it is. Im looking forward to checking this one out, thanks Jenny...:D

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    1. Right? They've been rarities for me, but I adored this one:)

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  24. HIII JENNYYYY!!!!!!!!! How are youuu?? Miss me? :P Sorry I've been kinda absent lately- I was on a short blogging break but I'm back and WOW this book seems so good and creepy. :P I LOVE a book with a good romance, so I'm definitely putting this on my TBR list. Plus the cover is sooo gorgeous! Thanks for putting this book on my radar. Great review as always, Jenny!!!!!! Missed you! <3

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    1. RIYA!!!!HEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYY!!! So glad you're back! This was such a great read, Peree and Fennel quickly became a new favorite couple so I highly recommend them to all romance lovers:) <3 <3 <3

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  25. Yay for an unexpected WIN! It sounds like a great read that I really hadn't heard anything about yet. Maybe the world will the clarified more in the next book? Assuming its a series anyway.
    And yay for great romance!

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  26. This book sounds amazing! I'd love to read it!! Thank for the opportunity to win such a terrific prize! :D (Angie Edwards)

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  27. Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I would love to read this book.

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