Wednesday, January 18, 2012
REVIEW: "Slumber" by Samantha Young
AUTHOR: Samantha Young
SERIES: Chronicles of the Fade #1
GENRE: New Adult-Fantasy-Romance
PUBLISHER: Create Space
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2011
READ DATE: January 2012
SUMMARY: A sleeping beauty may be the damsel in distress, but her White Knight? Why her rather un-knightish best friend of course. And the White Knight’s White Knight? Well… none other than her reluctant mortal enemy…
When Haydyn falls victim to the mysterious Sleeping Disease, the world of Phaedra is thrown into Chaos. Rogan, Haydyn’s best friend and handmaiden, is the only one who can save her. Together, with the Royal Guard and their young Captain, Wolfe Stovia, Rogan must set off across the provinces to find the Somna Plant that will wake Haydyn from her dying sleep.
Beset on all sides by the chaos, Rogan tumbles into a dark world of kidnapping, prejudice, betrayal and love… a journey that will change her forever, and a journey that will change their world forever, if she does not retrieve the cure.
Anyone who has read my blog can probably figure out that I love fairytales. Therefore, the trend of fairytale retellings is a godsend to me. I am fascinated by the way that authors can take a familiar story and put their own twist on it. Slumber by Samantha Young takes the idea of Sleeping Beauty and gives it a wonderful gender-bending twist. The characters are unique and well-developed, the fantasy world is richly detailed, and the overarching theme is poignant without being overbearing.
Rogan, the heroine of the story, was captured and forced to bear witness to her family's murder as a child. The reason for her abduction was her magic which allows her to find something when asked by another. Despite her kidnapping, Rogan creates a decent life in Phaedra's royal court by befriending Haydyn, but she is always conscious about her origins.
I absolutely adored Rogan's character. Her childhood has left mental scars, but she does not let them define her. She was loyal to her friend and willing to do anything for her even if it means going on a death-defying adventure to the outer areas of the kingdom. For someone who has been raised in a royal court, Rogan is fairly strong and confident in her abilities. But, she has been sheltered and has a lot to learn about the truth of the outer realm of Phaedra.
Wolfe is the Captain of Haydyn's Royal Guard and assists Rogan in her quest for the Somna plant. He is also the son of the man who kidnapped Rogan and murdered her family. This makes him awkward around Rogan despite his obvious attraction to her, but he remains devoted to protecting her throughout their adventure.
He is a very honorable hero who keeps his true feelings close to his heart. His father's treatment of him and his mother is not obvious at the beginning, but definitely shaped his character. He feels guilty for the horrible things his father did to Rogan and is determined to make her happy anyway he can. Wolfe was the epitome of the "look beyond the surface" type of character. A strong resemblance to Mr. Darcy and his aloofness was obvious to me as a self-proclaimed Austenite.
Rogan and Wolfe's relationship is pretty complicated, but satisfying by the end. Opposites definitely attract with these two. I really enjoyed the way the author portrayed Rogan's feelings about Wolfe and how they shifted from hatred to love. Also, I loved the concept of the hero being in love with the heroine for a long time. Unrequited hero love is one of my favorite romance themes!
There are quite a few secondary characters and they are pretty well-developed though not enough to overshadow Rogan and Wolfe. Haydyn's character was a shadow over the entire premise of the book despite the fact that we didn't really get to know her until closer to the end. I was particularly interested in her "forbidden" relationship with her bodyguard, Matai. Kir and Jarek are two guy friends of Rogan that I would love to know more about. I was also excited that Young did not go the melodramatic route and try to do a love triangle with any of these guys and Rogan/Wolfe. Very refreshing nowadays!
And then we have L, one of the many people that Rogan encounters on her journey. L was a delightful surprise both to me and Rogan. She has a unique way of looking at life that was refreshing and stole the show in all the scenes she was in. I am particularly happy that the next book in this series will focus on L and her experiences after the events of Slumber.
The world of Phaedra is absolutely engrossing, but slightly confusing at first. I appreciated the fact that the author provided a cheatsheet at the beginning. I was particularly fascinated by the way Young mixed the fantasy aspects with some valuable political themes. It gave the story a sense of depth and meaning that is difficult to do in young adult literature.
The plot is full of action from the very beginning though it did have a few slow parts in the middle. Young did not shy away from the darker aspects of this world and used them to prove a point rather than just simply as shock value. Most of the problems of this book are not solved by the end so I am looking forward to more in this series and how Rogan, Wolfe, and the others deal with the changing world around them.
Simplistic, but eye-catching. Love the fantasy aspect and the color.
I blinked owlishly, hoping I’d heard wrong. “That’s your big plan? A distraction?”
He smiled cheekily at me. “Yes. It’s good, right?”
“You’re going to get us killed.”
“Well, since you got us kidnapped in the first place, I think it’s only fair."
RATING: 4 Stars
2. Sneak Thievery (To Be Released 2012)
Amazon Kindle Page
My Book Boyfriend: Wolfe Stovia