The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

The ReplacedTitle: The Replaced
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Taking Series
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 28th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5) Continue reading

Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Taking
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Taking Trilogy
Rating: ★★★

After reading Derting’s other novels, I knew The Taking was going to be a book I wanted to read. It was different from her other novels, and after starting to read, I could tell it was either going to really pull me in, or I was going to struggle to finish it. Books that are connected to the science fiction genre are not usually my thing. They have to be done really well for me to enjoy them.

Kyra was in the car, having an argument with her father about colleges, when she demands he pulls over so she can walk to her team’s championship celebration. Once out of the car, she vanishes. All she remembers is a flash of light, and then nothing. The next thing she is aware of is her being by a dumpster with no recollection of how she got there. When she returns to her home, she finds a man and a child she doesn’t know there. Across the street, where her boyfriend lives, she finds he is gone and his younger brother has grown up. 5 years have passed since she vanished and nothing is the same.

Kyra is thrown into a new world where she doesn’t know what is going on. People want things from her; they want to know where she went and why she’s been gone for years. She’s become obsessed with time, not wanting to lose anymore of it. Her best friend and her boyfriend have moved on. Her family has been torn apart. She doesn’t recognize anything about her life now. She’s still 16 and trying to cope with everything. I find I was forgiving her for things I’d usually find annoying in a character. To me, her choices were understandable. She’s trying to fall back into a life that vanished. Her decisions wouldn’t always be the best, but she showed a maturity I was grateful for.

The relationship between Kyra and Tyler seemed to develop just a little too fast for my taste. Yes, they had great chemistry and Tyler was a wonderfully sweet boy, it felt a little odd for Kyra tog o from viewing him as the kid brother of her boyfriend to imagining a relationship with him. I would have liked a little more development of the relationship between the two before it turned romantic. At times, despite being great boyfriend material, it felt like Tyler’s attempts to make Kyra happy felt more like a little kid with a crush instead of two equal people finding their way together.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot because this is a book that needs to unfold at just the right pace. In all honesty, if I had known what one of the major plot points would be, I probably wouldn’t have read it. But Derting wrote the novel in such a way that it didn’t feel cheesy or wrong. It felt like it was a perfect piece of the puzzle. I’m really looking forward to what comes next. The cliffhanger has me anxious.

Despite a few flaws, The Taking was a good book that definitely pulled me in and has me ready and anxious for the next piece of the story. Derting has another great series on her hands.

If The Taking sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Offering by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Offering
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

After reading The Pledge, I knew this series would be one that I loved. It had wonderful characters, and interesting storyline, and it was well written. Throughout the series, I have only fallen more in love. With the end of the series coming in The Offering, I knew I wasn’t ready yet. Once I read those final words, there was no going back. Sure, I can reread. But it’s never quite the same.

Charlie has done amazing things for her country. She’s brought back communications and removed the evils of Sabara from their country. She’s learned how to control Sabara’s Essence. She knows she’s doing the right things for her country, but with the eyes of everyone on her, she feels the pressure. A neighboring country has delivered a gruesome warning and the only way for her to keep war from entering her borders is to sacrifice herself. She’s not sure what will happen after she meets Queen Elena, but she knows she has to try to save her country.

Charlie finally comes into her own in this novel. She knows how to fight, but she knows how to think, too. Sure, she’s still nervous and has a few flaws, but they are what make her shine. She knows that her country cannot save a war and that one person’s life is not more valuable than another’s, but she is willing to give herself up in order to save her people. She shows true courage and I admire her for that.

Max, although not a huge presence in parts of the novel, is still as wonderful as ever. Whenever he was around, it was perfect. I could feel myself melting anytime the love he has for Charlie was shown. He’s courageous, yet vulnerable. He’s always ready to show Charlie just how much she means to him. I’m a little happy he’s not in the entire book, though. It makes the moments we see him even sweeter.

The story itself was fantastic. I’d always try to guess what was about to happen, and I’d maybe get a little piece right, but I was still shocked when things were revealed. The way Derting can throw something in that’s completely unexpected yet makes perfect sense is amazing. Her curveballs never feel like they were thrown in to make things more dramatic. They always feel like that was exactly how things were supposed to happen.

The Offering is an amazing end to a fantastic series. It has action, love, and a fantasy dystopia that’s perfect for the novel. It’s definitely a must read.

If The Offering sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

Title: Dead Silence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder series
Rating: ★★★★

The end of The Last Echo was the perfect set-up for Dead Silence. The little bit of a cliffhanger had me so anxious to read what came next that I picked up the book and didn’t put it down until I had finished, only a few hours later. Everything from the previous books had been building until it finally came to a head in Dead Silence.

Violet is being blackmailed into staying with the group run by Sara. She’s having trouble balancing her normal life with her paranormal life. Things between Violet and Jay are getting messy because she doesn’t understand where to turn when she needs help. The secrets she’s held her entire life are starting to weigh her down and she’s not sure where she can turn. Things in her life are getting messy and she can’t figure out how to clean them up.

The relationship between Violet and Jay is one of the most realistic portrayals of a healthy relationship I’ve read in a while. They love each other, but still have so much to work around before they can be a true couple. Violet may trust Jay with her secret, but she finds it hard to trust him with information related to what she does. She wants to protect him, but she does so by keeping him out of the loop, something Jay doesn’t want to put up with. There really isn’t any outside threat to their relationship, but everything comes from within their relationship. They have issues they need to work through before their relationship can mature and it was refreshing to read something that real.

Something I liked more than I thought I would was the incorporation of Violet’s “normal” friends with her paranormal ones. I knew that she could keep them separate for so long before they would collide, but I wasn’t sure how the collision would be handled. Derting was able to mix the two worlds without giving one or the other extra emphasis, making sure they stayed on level ground as Violet tried to figure out how to mix the two in her personal life.

The killer in this novel was something else. I got chills from the killer in The Last Echo, but this was something else entirely. There was something about how sane his little pieces seemed to be, even as I could tell he was losing touch with reality, that made him all the more evil. I also liked that he wasn’t after Violet specifically; he was just evil because he could be. He thought he was being the good guy, though, and that’s what made him especially villainous.

Dead Silence closes the door on a fantastic series while still leaving a window open for more. Things are wrapped up and taken care of, but it’s easy to picture life going on for Violet, Jay, Rafe, and everyone else. You know the story doesn’t end here, yet there was closure. The Body Finder series has been one of the most interesting and well-written paranormal stories I’ve read, striking the perfect balance between all its elements. This is definitely a must read series.

If Dead Silence sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Last Echo
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder series
Rating: ★★★★

Derting has an amazing ability to make each story unique and yet tie together perfectly. The Body Finder, Desires of the Dead and The Last Echo are all individual books that bleed together to create an amazingly suspenseful story that kept me turning page after page.

Violet has discovered a group of people with unique abilities and she doesn’t feel so strange when she’s around them. Soon, that side of her starts to take over and her old friendships and life begin to suffer. She’s struggling to find the balance between her paranormal abilities and being a regular teen. Derting doesn’t gloss over this struggle, but uses Violet’s friendships as a way to highlight the two halves of Violet. The one tie between everything is still Jay, the best friend turned boyfriend who keeps her centered in reality.

The Last Echo goes back to the serial killer idea, but there’s something especially creepy about this novel. The glimpses into the mind of the killer are chilling and disturbing and I couldn’t get enough of them. Violet doesn’t mean to enter the killer’s radar, but once she does, you know it can’t end well. Each novel has been building on the deaths of the previous novels, with Violet learning more about herself and her ability each time. She’s tired of relying on others to save her, so when she’s faced with evil and she’s the only one who can fight; she must step up and take control. I’m glad Derting waited until this novel to have Violet find herself. It felt real and I could tell the slow build is exactly what Violet needed to find her strength.

I’m extremely interested to see how Derting handles the relationships going into the final novel. Violet’s friendships with her “normal” friends are starting to suffer and the relationships she’s formed with the teens like her take a hit as well. There’s a not-really-a-love triangle that Violet needs to deal with along with her relationship with Jay. She has to deal with a shift in the family dynamic as her parents start to take more control over her life, creating conflict between what Violet feels is right and what her parents feel is safe.

The Last Echo had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. The mind of the killer is just insane enough to be chilling and knowing that Violet will somehow end up tangled with him had me frantically reading. The build-up from the previous two novels is starting to peak and the set-up for the final novel gave me chills. Derting is proving to be an amazing paranormal series author, finding just the right balance between the normal and the paranormal. The Last Echo makes the Body Finder series a must read and I can’t wait to see how this series is wrapped up. If this book is any indication, it’s going to be a fantastic ride.

If The Last Echo sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Title: Desires of the Dead
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder series
Rating: ★★★★

I’m finding myself really loving Derting’s way of writing. It’s not over packed with information, the pacing is wonderful, and she writes characters and situations I can’t help but be drawn into. Desires of the Dead is no different. After being introduced to Violet in The Body Finder, Desires takes the story a step further.

Desires of the Dead doesn’t have the serial killer storyline of the first book, but there is just as much searching for Violet. She’s trying to figure out how to deal with her abilities and keep the people she cares about safe. She doesn’t know how much to share about herself with her family and with Jay. Things have changed now, and she sees how easily her ability can harm those she loves. On top of that, she’s been contacted by someone connected to the FBI about her possible special abilities.

The relationship between Violet and Jay is interesting and real. It’s so easy to see that they are friends who became more, but aren’t quite sure how to handle this new part of their relationship. They don’t want things to change in their friendship, but they want things to change in their romantic relationship. Part of the “normal” conflict in this book is Violet and Jay trying to figure them out and I enjoyed that. Derting didn’t just write the perfect couple and pass it off as coming from their friendship. She’s added in teen challenges that make the book feel like it could have been written about anyone in my own high school.

Not only are the “normal” parts of this book well written, the paranormal parts are, too. That can be a little difficult to find, sometimes. Either the normal aspects take over and the paranormal suffers, or the paranormal is fantastic while the relationships suffer. Derting has found a perfect balance between the two. The paranormal bleeds into the normal, but doesn’t take control. Every once in a while, Derting throws in something that shakes up the normal and reminds you that there is a mystery behind every word. There isn’t the serial killer, like in the first novel, but there is death and echoes. Violet has to figure out different deaths that put her in harms way.

Desires of the Dead is a fantastic follow-up to The Body Finder and sets things up for a wonderful series. It has a little bit of everything I love in a book and leaves me wanting more. I know there’s much more to Violet’s story and after finishing Desires of the Dead I can’t wait to keep reading.

If Desires of the Dead sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge series
Pages: 352 pages
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve been struggling with how to start this review. I enjoyed this book so much that when I try to think of words to describe it, I can’t. It got my heart racing in the best way.

The book starts up with Charlie adjusting to being queen. There are protocols and rules and knowledge she must learn right away. There are people who don’t like the New Equality and want the old class system back. They aren’t afraid to make that abundantly clear. She is summoned to a meeting of all the queens and on her way there, her life is at risk.

A lot of this novel is a mental battle. There really aren’t any big fight scenes in the action sense, but there is a major battle going on. Charlie is fighting everything in order to remain the same person. She’s fighting Sabara’s essence as she tries to take over Charlie’s body. She’s fighting those that oppose her New Equality changes. She’s fighting the doubts everyone, including her, has about her rule at the moment.

Charlie is not weak. She fights with all she has to make things right for her people. She stands up to people when she’s fighting for something. She knows she must fight to keep Sabara hidden deep inside her mind, where she can’t control Charlie. The few times Sabara was able to take control were Charlie’s moments of weakness.

There’s not as much Max in this book, but when he’s there, he’s amazing. He doesn’t try to control Charlie. He lets her be queen. He just does whatever he can to love her and make her safe. Derting made sure that even though there wasn’t a lot of Max, the times he was there were perfect.

The ending was a perfect way to wrap up the second book while laying the foundation for the third. There’s enough closure to make people happy, but there’s a lot left hanging that needs to be sorted out. I’m on edge with anticipation and can’t wait for the conclusion of this fantastic series.

If The Essence sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Body Finder series
Rating: ★★★★

The Body Finder is a book that has been on my radar for a while, but I was always a little worried about reading it. The book description was unique and I was worried it would fall flat and I’d be left feeling a little let down.

The Body Finder does none of this. It is just as good as the description sounds. Both aspects of the novel, the suspense and the romance, are developed well and blend together. It never felt like one was taking a hit so the other could flourish.

This was a page turner. The serial killer parts of the novel were fantastic. There’s a lot of mystery there, and it’s done well. It gives the entire book a creepy feel. I was afraid to look over my shoulder; it felt like the creepiness had oozed of the novel and was standing right behind me. I love it when a book can make me feel that way.

The relationship between Jay and Violet was wonderful. This is the kind of “insta-love” I’m okay with. It’s insta-love in the scope of the novel, but not in the characters’ lives. Sure, Jay and Violet realized their feels early on in the novel, but they had a foundation of friendship to build upon and that’s what made it work. Their relationship works perfectly to balance out the serial killer roaming around town.

The other secondary characters, Violet’s friends, are also well-written. They aren’t placeholders; they actually act and behave like friends. Maybe it’s just the novels I pick to read, but this trait seems to be a little lacking in a lot of Young Adult titles today.

The Body Finder is a fantastic novel. It has just the right mix of creep and love to keep me turning the pages, anxious to find out who the killer is, but to also read more swoon-worthy moments. This is a series I’ll definitely be sticking with. I can’t wait to read more.

If The Body Finder sounds like your kind of book, you can purchase it here:
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The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

This book was much better than I thought it was going to be. I was a little worried when I started that this would not only be yet another dystopian fantasy book, but feel younger than the young adult genre it fell under.

I’m very happy I was wrong. This book might have started out a little weak, but it quickly recovered and drew me in, keeping me awake much later than I should have been and was the first thing I picked up when I woke up. While a few parts of it felt a little clichéd and predictable, most of it was different from everything else I’ve read. Separating the classes through language was an ingenious idea for Derting to make, and really set the tone of distrust, fear and caution for the rest of the novel.

Charlie was a fantastic character to read about. She was a strong female, and although she liked the secure feeling she felt with Max, she was able to stand on her own and fight for herself. She used her own motivations and those things important to her to gain power and strength, and I love reading that.

Max was a swoon worthy character. His devotion to Charlie was sweet and amazing to read, and I fell in love with him almost immediately after one important development.

Overall, this was a fantastic book, and worth a read. It’s a little fast-paced, and some parts were a touch cheesy, but as a whole, it’s an interesting and worthy take on the dystopian genre.