Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: The First

Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Author: Sara Zaske
Publication Date: April 21, 2012
Format: eBook Amazon :: Smashwords
BlurbCassie Craig is not the chosen one. Not even close.
She's just an ordinary, 15-year-old California girl with a few problems. She talks too much. She has a crush on a guy in her school. She worries about her dad who is a Marine in Afghanistan.

Then, there's her new friend, Violet Starkey. The weirdest girl in school, Violet comes from a group of magical people who claim to be the first on earth.
When Cassie discovers that Violet has powers over nature, she will do anything to be her friend--all for the chance Violet might help bring her dad home. 

But Cassie isn't the only one who wants Violet's powers, and she soon finds out just how dangerous it is to be the true friend of one of the most powerful magical beings in the world.

The First is a unique story, explained well in the above blurb. The plot is well developed and the characterization is thoughtful. I appreciated that the First People were elitest's - which made complete sense to me as they are so much more advanced, intelligent, and powerful than humans. And then there is little halfling Violet, who is most definitely an odd ball - but an endearing one. Ms. Zaske definitely pulled me into her world of First's.

The First begins in high school...with mean girls. I'm not a big fan of the typical mean girl but SZ is a sneaky beast - able to frustrate me while constructing my connection with Violet and my innate desire to punch faces protect her from the above vom-bags. 

SZ also surprised me when Cassie was included in the "mean girl" group. I actually enjoyed my initial dislike for Cassie, forcing her to not only win Violet's respect and trust but also my own. The change facilitated was realistic, which to me means that it took a some time for Cassie to be a trustworthy character after her initial lemming behavior.

But once the friendship between Violet and Cassie is real, you can really see the kind, protective, and honest young woman underneath the initial vapid teenage exterior. Cassie really had a depth to her that I enjoyed uncovering.

There were a few plot points that I didn't really think fit, or were too quickly paced to feel like the natural evolution of the story - for example, when Cassie began to research ways to use Violet's powers to bring her dad home from the Afghanistan. I felt like there wasn't enough attention paid to this - and because of it, the concept was almost unnecessary.

Overall, The First was an engaging read with a unique concept. Even with the minor editing flaws and some plot disconnect, The First is a book to add to your to-read shelf. 

Side Note:

I am looking forward to interviewing Sara Zaske this Wednesday! She is awesome and I think you guys will really enjoy learning more about her. (Oh, and there may be a giveaway available too!) ;)

Jenna Lynne

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