Saturday, 5 October 2013

Review ~ Untraceable by S. R. Johannes

Untraceable (Nature of Grace, #1)Copy received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: 29th 2011

Publisher: Coleman & Stott

16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. 

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father. 

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

My Opinion

Ok wow, where do I start with this book... On one had I was really gripped by it, especially at the start but on the other I am extremely frustrated by it. This description intrigued me into requesting this book but this book definitely took a different turn to what I was expecting.

Anyway, I'll start with the good points. First of all the start really hooked me. I really enjoyed  the mystery and suspense created. I also liked how Grace was portrayed as a strong, determined, kick-ass character that was able to fend for herself. I liked how driven she was to discover the truth no matter what others said. Her judgment wasn't swayed and I admired the author for sticking to that. Normally, I find it common for authors to make their characters doubt themselves and their belief. Grace didn't do that which was good. Moreover, I liked her dry sense of humor.

As well as this I liked the romance sections, they were a nice break from the heavy emotions and trauma in Grace's life. I liked that it enabled the reader to see a different side of her - a more relaxed side. The book also moved at a fast pace so kept my interest well.

One thing I liked and found original was that the chapters were named "survival skills" and had a message underneath each one. I enjoyed them and they also set up the theme for a chapter - it was just a unique thing for me. now on to the negatives. For me it was the first half of that book that was great but the second half really let it down. It felt like the author involved too many people, too many problems and plot strands that it all got too much for her to keep track of by the end. For me the ending was ridiculous, every time something happened I just kept thinking "really another one?" and then you read on another chapter and it just got worse. I couldn't keep up with who was alive or dead - it was just stupid. 

For me the author went off the plot of a daughter finding her dad too much and it became more about an animal cruelty message. No matter how much I'm against animal cruelty and agree with her message, I don't want to read about their treatment in graphic detail. I wasn't prepared for it and in the end I skimmed those sections as I hate it.

Another thing that I just found made the book unrealistic was the continuity errors. Grace would go into the woods in daylight and 20 minutes later she was pulling out a torch because it was so dark. It just didn't make sense! Also, for someone who grew up and was taught all about the woods, Grace never seemed to be that knowledgeable about anything. Besides a few basic things like keeping up wind to avoid being tracked, Grace seemed to have no common sense and just kept making mistake after mistake which I just couldn't believe. I mean who lights a fire when they are trying to stay hidden?! Also Grace was uncoordinated so it just made it lack believabiltiy even more.

The final thing that really annoyed me while reading this was the British side of things. I don't know why but when Americans write about British characters they always resort to this stereotypical demeanor that is like it has been ripped from Mary Poppins. WE DON'T SPEAK LIKE THAT, SO STOP IT!!!! "Smashing," "Crumbs," "Bloody" are not words you will hear coming out of a fifty year old's mouth let alone a 17 year old English teen. It was so false and everything about the English sections really wound me up. Every time Mo came up some comment was made about his accent or the difference in country. We aren't another species, it doesn't need repeating over and over again. Everything about the whole British section needs re-writing for me to not only modernise the language but to also correct some of the terms as some of the things Mo says are not things people in the UK will say. 

Overall the first half of Untraceable is really good and I think it has potential. There are some issues that need correcting for me, the British thing being one of them but none the less it was an interesting read that did sustain my interest.

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