Series: The Descendants # 1
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
- SYNOPSIS -
The first sixteen years of Arabella Penthallow’s life have been a lie…
In a world where deception is the key to survival, Ara has kept up the charade of being a perfect Legion Leader’s daughter. But a darkness stirs, and she discovers she is Touched, a mortal gifted by the Gods. The Touched are as rare as they are feared, and Ara is forced to leave Union City for neighboring Midnight City to protect herself and those she loves, leaving Tove Thorn, the boy who has always known her heart, behind.
Carter Decker has vowed to burn Union City to the ground…
Midnight City’s cocky, infamous bad boy always gets what he wants, and he wants Union City to pay for burning his mother alive because she was Touched. When Carter meets Ara, she is everything he’s been taught to hate. Then he learns she is Touched—just like him—he isn’t sure who he hates more…the Touched girl whose father killed his mother, or himself for being tempted by someone he’s sworn to kill.
They are told they’re fated to be soul mates…and they each wish the other never existed.
When Midnight City is attacked by Union City, Carter and Arabella will do the unthinkable…even if it means falling for the enemy. The truth lies in Arabella’s home nation, and Tove is waiting. Soul mates or not, he has an advantage Carter doesn’t, fated souls be damned.
War is coming…and Ara is the prize.
- PURCHASE -
- EXCERPT -
“I’m not lying.”
Carter’s lips pull into a small smile. My heart flutters wildly in my chest with the sight of it. I want to loath myself for the feelings he’s causing. The confusion that has begun to occur. This isn’t Carter or me. We can’t stand one another, yet I can’t help the way my mind has sometimes wandered in the last few days, playing curious images of him pulling me close, his lips becoming lost on mine.
“You are,” Carter says, closing the gap I opened between us. The tips of his black boots touch my own. “You can’t lie to me. Or to anyone in this room for that matter. I know what you’re feeling.”
“You don’t know a thing about me or what I may be feeling.”
Carter snorts and shakes his head, his hair falling lazily over his forehead. He drops his head, moving within inches of my lips. I inhale sharply, the corset constricting. Damn him. I keep my eyes locked with his, refusing to look away. Too many emotions course through my body and I can’t decide which ones overrule the rest.
Carter licks his lips, jumpstarting my pulse. “I do, princess,” Carter whispers, “everyone does.”
“No…no they don’t.”
Carter purses his lips, his eyes smoldering slightly. “Oh, little Arabella, they do. Your emotions are staining this entire room. I can feel everything you feel for me. Taste every last one.”
I suck in a deep breath, pushing back from him.
Carter smiles darkly. “The one that tastes the most appealing is that white-hot lust you have coursing through you.”
For weeks Rob has been pushing me to block my emotions from the rest. To harness them in, keep them hidden. I have succeeded in some accounts, but when Carter is around, the defense that I’ve built comes crashing down. Which infuriates me.
Carter winks as he takes in my expressions and what I can only gauge as new emotions that rage inside me. “Though I have to say, the revulsion is a nice change for me. I’ve never had a taste of that one.”
“I can intensify it, if you want.”
“I want a lot from you, princess, but I think we both can agree that you would much rather have me feel and taste your lust.” Slowly he pushes his body against mine as he leans in close to my ear. Never in my life have I wanted to throttle someone as much as I do Carter. But that’s not all I would do if given the chance. He drives me crazy, in more ways than I want him to know. “I promise to be gentle,” he whispers.
The warmth of his breath against my ear has the pit of my stomach coiling tightly. My body tensing. Carter pulls himself from me. The scent of sweet spices I can’t place and lavender fill my nose. It’s distracting and enticing. I desperately want to wrap myself around him, feel his hands touch every inch of my skin, taste his lips. I swallow pitifully as my lips begin to ache with desire. Temptation can be cruel.
Cruel. In an instant, I remember his comments and the smugness that was laced in his tone. Carter doesn’t want me because he is attracted to me, he only wishes to prove his point. My jaw clenches. Instantly, I want to break his own. Carter takes a cocky step back, winking at me once more.
“All in due time,” he promises as he spins on his heels and crosses the training room, slamming the door behind him.
I’m not sure what he means. That in time I will come to him like every other girl has, or in time I will finally wipe that grin right off his face.
I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 stars
The Touched tells the story of Arabella, or Ara, who lives in a world where those who are 'Touched', while blessed by the gods, are cursed to be hated by men. Ara herself finds out she's Touched, and now has to come to terms with her newfound powers, as well as having to cope with living in Midnight City, a place where the Touched are respected, and even rule. One of the Touched, and the Leader's son, Carter Decker, both antagonizes her and attracts her.
With this conflict of romance, the conflict of politics, and the conflict of her powers, it'll either make or break Ara, and I'm happy to see that it was the former for her. Other heroines, or well weak-willed ones, would cry after being tormented by an attractive yet irksome love interest, or take the propaganda spewed about the Touched to heart, but Ara did the opposite. When she needed to break up with Caleb, she did it. When Carter was being too much, she shot back. When Leader Thorn was accusing her of assisting the rebels, she brought him down. Even her display of powers, though uncontrolled, showed how strong and passionate she was.
Carter was also a pleasure to read. It's usually from a girl's perspective that I hear them waxing eloquently about how beautiful the girl is, and this time hearing it from Carter is a fresh new surprise. He certainly has an instant attraction to Ara, and his womanizing ways/inner monologue were entertaining, too.
Caleb, by far, was a character I loved to hate. In a good way, of course. After his memories of Ara were wiped, his character does a complete 180, and we see his true face, an extremely zealous brother loyal to his parents (esp. his father) and his city. He's unaware of the power Ara has, and ironically is strongly against the Touched.
Now my favorite parts - two scenes in particular stand out. First, admitting to Tove she's a Touched, and then exploding at his initial response. Now, this could have gone in a way where Tove is extremely disgusted by her, and goes against her, but instead they talk it out and he's now helping her. This trope breaker is a brownie point from me. Also, powerful Ara was epic. Second, was the ending scene. Keeping spoilers out of here for the most part, but it makes me wonder what lies next for Ara now that Everett and Heatherly have caught her. How do they play a role with the two cities? Are they against or for The Touched? Are they the rebels? It raises all these questions, and our answers only lie in the next book, hopefully.
Speaking of trope breaking, the love triangle (or square, depending on how you look at it), was a rather fragmented triangle, and all the attraction to Ara by numerous suitors is duly noted. It was more like a the various types of love, in one book. The unreciprocated love, the young love, the true love. Plus point!
What I disliked about this book - Maybe I'm just dissatisfied with romance as of late. I'm a picky romance reader, but I found that the whole romance between Carter and Ara was rushed, and lacked development. He provoked her a few times, he realizes he's genuinely attracted to her, she realizes vice versa, wishy-washy romance back and forth, they finally kiss, etc. It seemed like such a short time for them to get on this romance train, even when Ara was the daughter of the Leader who... well, you'll read it, won't you?
Also, there was a lot of redundancy, particularly with the word corset. So many corsets. Couldn't tell what era fashion this was going for - a combo of modern/1900s, but girls should be able to not need corsets all the time.
Regardless, I recommend reading to get a taste of what strong plot-developed heroine is like, and to appreciate a new side of YA, one that actually breaks some tropes! Also, if you're a sucker for romance and hot guys.
— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —
Jennifer Weiser is a young adult author who has always been a book nerd and a bit chocolate obsessed. Writing has always been a favorite escape, but quickly became a passion not long after the birth of her daughter. When she isn't combing the shelves of her local book stores or blogging about newest book obsessions, you can find her nestled in her nook creating worlds she hopes that one day will inspire her daughter, who not only has given her the courage to follow her dreams--but offers the inspirations that help color their worlds together.