Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan

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I received this book for free from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Darkest Fear by Cate TiernanDarkest Fear by Cate Tiernan
Series: Birthright #1
Published by Simon Pulse on January 7th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Source: Simon & Schuster
Buy on Amazon

Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy—and maybe her downfall—in this start to a romantic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

Vivi has known the truth about her family—and herself—since she was thirteen. But that doesn’t mean she’s accepted it. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar?

Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with the shocking, devastating deaths of her parents and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead—but so do dangers unlike anything Vivi ever could have imagined.

From lack of excitement to a protagonist I despised to a very bizarre romantic arc, I was happy to be done with this one. To paint a quick picture: the only interesting part of this book is in the blurb.

Darkest Fear starts with an intriguing Jaguar Shape-shifting lore that, for the most part, is well crafted. The narrative when in Jaguar form is particularly clever. I was certain it was the promising start of an impressive series, especially when only a few chapters in, something monumental happens. Something ominous that proposes an epic mystery to come. However, once this scene passes we get a whole lot of mundane happenings, from Vivi finding a job, to her day to day life, to detailed scenes of her baking various things. How positively dull! Perhaps its purpose was to make us bond with the characters. Unfortunately none of them were made to be compelling.

For one, with such a large secondary cast, these characters needed more personality and distinctive voices to avoid blending together. For another, Vivi herself is not very likeable. She’s always hated the Jaguar part of herself; never learning about or accepting her world, basically hoping that by ignoring it it would go away. While this is understandable – I would be freaked out too if I learned I could grow fur – as the story progresses, her constant rejection, even disgust, of it all became too much. For instance, she would get into a dire situation due to her shifting ineptitude, this would push her to decide it was time to learn and finally accept that side of her, only to chicken out and be back at step one. It was very frustrating. There are also other quirks like how she repeatedly commented on her boss’s hotness (and I mean, punch-book-in-its-book-mouth excessive), or how she would often say “gosh” – urgh! Obviously I never connected with her in any way.

As for the romance. I don’t even understand the point of it being in the book for how bizarre and short of a spotlight it got. In a few words, she got a couple of offers for sex and that was that. No passion, no chemistry, no nothing. It felt incredibly random. The only responses it got from me were cocked eyebrows and flared nostrils. It was very attractive-making.

Now, I have a big pet peeve when it comes to shape shifters and realistic clothing… repercussions. This book did well with shredded clothes and nakedness, except for that one time. One out of the 5+ times she shifted, when it was, of course, hugely inconvenient for her to appear naked, her clothes were magically waiting for her in the bushes unscathed. I read this twice to make sure I didn’t miss her removing her clothes beforehand, but the shift was unexpected and unplanned. I’m honestly hoping this is just an editing slip-up that will be fixed in the final copy because it deserves a removal of a star for that alone.

I’m always looking for the next epic paranormal series, and I really had hoped this one would fit the bill so it’s unfortunate that it failed to impress me to such degree. In the end, I was just very, very fed up. Also, we get no answers on anything! None! Here’s to hoping you have better luck with it!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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23 Responses to “Review: Darkest Fear by Cate Tiernan”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Oh, drat. This one actually had me intrigued. The cover’s great and so is the blurb…sounds like I would be highly disappointed if I depended on those, though. Drat again. MC needs to get over her hatred — that’s who she is, it isn’t going anywhere. The constant barrage of dislike would really get under my skin, too.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    You have no idea how sad this review makes me. I loved Cate Tiernan’s witch series, so it’s so disappointing that this one doesn’t live up to that series. I was super excited with the prospect of jaguars but it turns out that a lot doesn’t work in the book. I might avoid reading this one although I snatched a copy from EW.
    Thanks for the honest review, Giselle.

  3. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    Yikes! I don’t think this book will make it into my TBR list. Also I think I would be excited to be able to shift into an animal! I would be even more excited if I could shift into a jaguar!! They are gorgeous! lol. Anyway, sorry this didn’t work out for you. Hope the next book is better 🙂

  4. Maya @ The Book Nook

    Oh, shame you didn’t enjoy it. It sounds pretty cool from the synopsis but from what you’ve said I don’t think I’d like it either. The MC sounds pretty annoying, and I think that being able to turn into a jaguar would be awesome! Thanks for the review 😉

  5. Ashley

    Well that’s a massive bummer. 🙁 I thought this book sounded SO COOL and I was psyched about the jaguar shape-shifting. Well I won’t be reading it now.. bleh. 🙁

  6. Siiri

    Oh dear lord, what is this romance? *__* Agreed on the characters and personalities stuff. You can’t really give me a cast of so many characters and then not make them stand out. I had this problem with The Selection. I’m sorry you didn’t connect with Vivian. Eh.. I was kind of excited about it, but I think I’ll just try The Immortal Beloved series first and see if I enjoy that one.

  7. Savannah

    Well boo. And I love this author too. I loved her other series so I have high hopes for this one. Thanks for being honest and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Kelsey

    This one did look interesting at first mostly because of the shape shifting. But based on what you noticed about the main character and the fact that she never embraces it, I’d be lucky to even finish this book.
    Thanks for reading it and giving your thoughts!

  9. Noémy

    Oh no :(( I love Cate Tiernan’s other series and was excited to read a new one of hers. Guess I’d better stay away or just borrow it from a friend. Such a shame !

  10. Tina

    What a let down! I’m a huge fan of her witch series and so this is quite sad. Once again, from what I’ve read from your review I feel as though I’d have the same problems. Given the amount of books I’m waiting to read I won’t even add this to my to-read list but possibly in the future out of respect for the author! Great review!

  11. Pili

    Pity, it really sounded very interesting! But yeah, with all the cons you’ve listed… not really very compelling for me to read it!
    Thanks for a great review, Giselle!

  12. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    I HATE it when a book has a discrepancy in the plot like that because it just completely ruins the mood I’m in while I’m reading a book. Hopefully the error does get corrected by the finished product. From your short description of the romance, I already know that I wouldn’t like it because of how random and unnecessary it seems.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! I’m sorry this book wasn’t as good as you were expecting it to be 🙁

  13. Abbe Hinder

    Damnit! Vivi sounds so very annoying. Also, like Eileen said, I hope they fix that error because it doesn’t make sense! Shifting fully dressed and your clothes are like, perfect? Nope. Impossible.

    Anyway, nice review! Hopefully your next read is better.

  14. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Sigh, once again, a disappointing paranormal book… I don’t think I’ll ever see a PR book as good as Written in Red. I’m not sure if I will devour this book anytime soon considering the flaws you’ve pointed out, as I am not a fan of these, either. They just destroy the reading experience.

  15. Neyra

    Ah, i do love the cover on this one, but I am no fan of characters who can’t accept who and what they are. I get it, I’d be freaked out too. But at the same time, I would try to learn more and try to embrace it as much as possible, to not let it change me, but adjust to my lifestyle. Sigh. Great review Giselle!

  16. tonyalee

    I haven’t even heard of this one…

    That’s disappointing. I have been on the hunt for a new paranormal book/series too but this one sounds like a dud. Hopefully those errors WILL be corrected in the final copy; that’s a little bit embarassing, no?

    Great review!

  17. Emily

    Great review! It made me smile, especially the part about the clothing repercussions. SO TRUE! I always pay close attention to books with shape shifting characters to see if the author realistically handles the case of ripping clothes, because, well, if I turned into a jaguar right now my clothes would be reduced to a pile of threads. I am pretty sure that is the case for everybody… so there should be no magically unripped clothes in books!!! *sorry for the rant*

    I am having such a hard time finishing this one… at one point I nearly put the book down, gave it one star, and marked as a DNF. However, I guess I am determined to finish the book 🙂 *sigh* I’m glad I am not the only one who is disappointed.

    Thanks for the awesome review 🙂