I do not have time to read, but the books just keep getting stuck to my face. UF, HF, YA, fluffy romance, whatever. I love it all.
But I might judge you if you hand out five stars all willy nilly.
I was thrilled to get an advance copy of Fractured and I went into it with high expectations. The cover alone on this book had me drooling. I wanted it to really wow me and make me forget the things that I didn't like about the first book (the instalove between Malachi and Lela, and the fact that they both martyred themselves for someone who didn't really deserve it or even care that they were doing it). I wanted an epic battle between the Mazikin and the guards of the Shadowlands. I wanted to learn more about the Shadowlands and some of the other dimensions there. And I really wanted to see some growth in Malachi and Lela's relationship. Unfortunately, while there were things that I liked about it, overall Fractured left me feeling just sort of 'meh.'
Lela and Malachi have been dropped back in Lela's hometown where they are on patrol for the escaped Mazikin. Malachi is now a foreign exchange student and Raphael is his "host father" (ha! loved that) and they are attending Lela's highschool. Life for Lela has returned to normal, as normal as it can be considering she was dead the week before. They are given two new team members to help with the monumental task of defending the world, both of whom are from different dimensions of the Shadowlands. Through them we get to learn a little bit about The Bright City and the Wastelands, both of which sounded fascinating. I wished that there were more people on the team and that we could have learned more about where they were from, but apparently the Judge thought four would be plenty. Four against possibly thousands of Mazikin, who can reincarnate as quickly as they can grab a new homeless person to possess. Right, good call Judge.
Anyway, the problem I had with this book isn't necessarily the premise or the writing, both of which were pretty good. My problem is that the author chose to take her characters out of a world that was mysterious and new to the reader, and dropped them back in the humdrum human world and made them highschool students. She tried to straddle the line between paranormal suspense and highschool drama, but wasn't quite successful at either, and I was distracted with feeling like a lot of it was silly.
I just could never get on board with Lela being the captain of the team and Malachi being the lieutenant. I know it was the Judge's decision at the end of the first book, but it felt really ridiculous considering Lela didn't even know how to pull her own knife without killing herself and Malachi is so clearly a leader-- um, hello, 70 years of experience! I hated that Lela was the one calling the shots because she hadn't earned the right to do so. She hadn't learned enough or grown enough to be the captain and that made it difficult for me to take her seriously.
My other biggest complaint with this book is that it climaxed way too late. The first 50 pages or so were pretty good, and I was really enjoying myself, and then it just started to draaaag. Malachi and Lela's relationship hit a snag, which was inevitable, but the author spent the next 200 pages keeping them apart and introducing mediocre characters for both Malachi and Lela to torture each other with. One of my favorite things from the first book was the lack of a love triangle, so when I saw it going that way I was annoyed. It never felt like a legitimate concern, because we know Malachi loves Lela, but it did feel rather pointless.
When they weren't dodging googly eyes from their classmates and agonizing over who they'd attend prom with, they were endlessly patrolling the city, sniffing the air for incense so they could bag them some Mazikin. If the last 50 pages of the book had happened in the middle of the story, I might have given this book 4 stars, but there was just too much walking walking walking and never getting anywhere, and it left me feeling like all the good stuff is being saved for the next book.
I know a lot of people were hoping for more Mazikin action in this book, and I think those people will be pleased. There are several altercations between the Guards and the Mazikin, who have been terrorizing the local homeless population and threatening to kill Malachi and Lela's new-found friends, and it all comes to a head in an explosive and shocking cliffhanger ending. This will have most readers chomping at the bit for the next book, but for me personally, I felt detached and only vaguely interested in what was happening.
Maybe because there was too much focus on irrelevant things, such as three pages describing a date Lela had with Ian, and not enough time on the things I wanted to know about, such as when one of her teammates was captured and tortured by the Mazikin. I just wanted the focus of the story to be on Lela growing into her role as captain of the guard, but felt it was overshadowed by petty things.
Anyways, my rating for this book is just based on my own personal enjoyment of the story and the things that hung me up may not be an issue for you. This particular installation had some good parts, but overall it lacked the things that I liked from the first book (the intrigue of the Shadowlands and the sweetness between Malachi and Lela) and took a turn into the mundane by returning to the living world and focusing too much on highschool drama.
Final Verdict: I think that people who were fans of the first book should still read this to see if they like where the series is going and decide for themselves if they want to continue, but I don't know that will be reading the next one.