Author: Melissa Haag
Series: Judgement of Six #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Werewolves, Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Gabby's brain is like a human fish finder. It comes in handy when she wants to avoid people. Mostly men. They seem to like her a bit too much. It's lonely being different, but she's adapted to it. Really. She just wishes she knew why she is different, though.
In her search for answers, she discovers a hidden community of werewolves. She immerses herself in their culture, learning about their world until she meets Clay. He's unkempt, prone to mood swings, intense without saying a word, and he thinks Gabby is his.
It's going to take every trick she knows to convince Clay to go away, and every bit of willpower not to fall for him when she discovers the man beneath the rough exterior.
Delve into a riveting world of werewolves and young women with unexplained abilities, in Hope(less).
Judgement has begun...
This morning, after having to drag my butt out of bed with only 3.5 hours of sleep behind me, I fully intended to put reading off until tomorrow. Then, I looked at my email. An author, Melissa Haag, had read my reviews on Amazon and tracked them down to this very blog. She LIKED my reviews. That was news to me! For all I know, my best friend could be the only one who has read this thing! I could care less. I write this blog because I love books, and its mostly for myself, but to actually hear that someone out there liked my honesty? Well, it flattered me to put it mildly. *insert picture of me dancing like a crazy person*- jk, I always dance like a crazy person. :)
Now, in exchange for a free copy of her novel, I am to give Melissa Haag's book an honest review. And anyone who reads my reviews knows that I am nothing but brutally honest. Melissa told me that she had read in one of my previous posts on my blog where I had mentioned that there weren't any REALLY good werewolf books anymore, most aren't even decent. She wanted the change to prove me wrong. And it is to my GREAT pleasure to say that not only did she prove me wrong, she blew me out of the water. And I'm not just saying that because I received this book for free. I don't tell people what they want to hear, I tell them how it is... my family and friends know that this has been a long standing problem of mine :p
NOW TO THE REVIEW!
Lets start with the top 4 things I loved: character development, good pace, uniqueness, and most importantly, a slow and subtle romance.
Character development- All of Haag's characters are so well rounded. Especially the main characters, as it should be, with a slight exception Rachel, the best friend. I would have liked more back story on her, but I'm not going to complain with what I did get. All of the characters reactions made sense and were very realistic. Once in a while something (a term or a situation) would pop up that you wouldn't understand right away, but what you didn't understand was explained almost immediately... this is what good writing looks like people, if you ever had any doubts, look here.
Uniqueness- This is what drew me in. Right of the bat, the first chapter, I read about something that I had never encountered in another book. A girl who essentially has a 'human' (and I do use this word lightly) radar, a mile radius around her. It's a bit more complicated than that, but I will let you discover that for yourself. To find material that I haven't read before is so rare that I have to take a moment and appreciate it when it happens. This was such a case.
Good pace- Now, I say this with a grain of salt. If I could only voice one complaint, it was that the beginning of the novel was NOT well paced. There were time loops everywhere. And event would happen then it would be 2 weeks later, the a couple months later, then some more weeks, then BAM, two years later. After finishing the novel, I can understand why Haag did this. She needed a lot of time to pass in a very short amount of space. However, I would have loved to see the development between Sam and Gabby. I would have liked to see the first instance where a guy came on too strongly with her (a constant problem for Gabby... for reasons you shall figure out when you read this book!), I would have liked to see the steps she took to be who she was when we had that huge 2 year time jump. Now saying that, this was the only instance where I disapproved of her time jumps. A lot of authors make the mistake of NOT taking leaps in time so the whole novel plays out in the matters of days or weeks... thats usually so much more unrealistic. The majority of the novel was set at a constant, and APPROPRIATE pace... and that did wonders for the story itself. Figuring out that timing shows how natural of a writer Melissa Haag is.
LAST, but no least, a slow and steady romance- this is the biggest problem with werewolf novels now a days. With very few exceptions, BAM the love interests are thrown together and with little to no restraint or conflict, they become infatuated with each other. Haag did NOT make this mistake. Gabby and Clay's romance develops slowly and naturally. Shifts in their relationship are so subtle, I had to stop and think, 'Whoa, when did this happen?!' And I mean that in the best possible way. I think this may have been the best timed, and played out relationship that I have ever read without driving the reader nuts.
If I have one last complaint, it would be that Gabby's 'radar ability' was kind of ignored in the middle of the novel. It wasn't talked about much and was only brought up when it was convent for that moment. At the beginning of the novel, Gabby uses it all of the time. That shift was weird for me and I didn't like it much, but Haag rectified herself and brought it back with a very interesting explanation behind this mysterious power at the end, so, I guess I can deal.
I know this was a HUGE review, but I just had so much to say. I just want to leave on one good note before I leave you to go by this fabulous book. [WARNING... spoiler alert!] Clay, the main character, never speaks... literally, you get like no dialogue from him for the LONGEST time... but when he finally did speak.. my god, my heart did flips. To play that suspense out so well... I must simply applaud you Melissa! A 5 stars for me, and that is not something I give lightly!
READ this book people...I am not playing with you. It was fantastic