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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cold Fury

Publisher: Penguin (Putnam)
Pages: 313

Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Type: ARC, received for review

Jason Bourne meets The Sopranos in this breathtaking adventure

Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.



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If I look at this objectively, I can say that I enjoyed it.

It was fun.  It was interesting.  It was fast-paced and intriguing.  I never forced myself to read on, even through the info-dumps--despite the pages-long barrage of information, it was interesting enough to hold my attention.

And I really, really liked our heroine.  She was courageous, intelligent, cunning, relatable, imperfect.  She was thoughtful and witty, and her commentary on all that had happened--as well as this whole crazy world in general--was a pleasure to read.  Also, she kicked ass.  Yes, she did tend to take the approach of brute strength over reasoning, but it was refreshing to see a heroine who could and did try to handle her own problems.

But here is the problem: despite its marketing, despite the character's ages, I spent this entire novel feeling as though I were reading a middlegrade.

I have nothing against middlegrade.  Not at all.  Some of my very favorite reads are children's books.  But I was told this was YA, and the character is 16, so I came into this expecting a more mature novel.  One where side characters were created with real depth and attention, not made to be one-dimensional stereotypes.  One where the dialogue was sharp and captivating, not impossibly cheesy and unrealistic.  One where the plot was complex and thrilling, with actual stakes and actual obstacles, not a simple, random, tension-less creation where everything always works out.  One where the sixteen-year-old characters acted like teenagers, not elementary schoolers.

Also, while I won't go too in-depth for fear of a ramble/rant, I was very troubled by the way the subjects of bullying, suicide, and depression were handled in this novel.  It seemed as though all of it were created to be a superficial sub-plot, and the author seems to think that this can all be shoved away in an instant.  That someone who was genuinely contemplating killing themself will be A-OK once they find their "purpose" or "fate" or some bullshit like that.  It was yet another thing that stressed to me the overwhelming middlegrade tones in this novel; I know in many children's novels, authors are reluctant to get into the nitty-gritty of issues such as these, for fear that children won't be able to handle it/grasp the gravity of it.  While I disagree with this, I do recognize that it's common in novels aimed at a younger audience.  Since this is a novel geared towards teenagers, I see no excuse.

Overall? It's not a bad book.  It's really not.  The concept was great, the MC was well-developed and intensely likable, and the book itself always managed to hold my interest.  It just did not meet my expectations for a novel in this genre.

2.5 stars.




  

11 comments:

Sam

Hmm... I have to wonder if this would be for me. The premise does sound good, and the main character seems genuinely likeable, but the fact that it doesn't hold the level of maturity that might be expected will undoubtedly bother me. I usually end up losing interest in a book that ends up being younger than I expect. Anyhow, great review! :)

Megan

Sometimes I like to read a middle grade novel. It gives my mind a break. :)

Kris (Imaginary Reads)

I was expecting more of a complex, thrilling novel with this, but I'm still curious, so I'll be checking this one out. Thanks for the honest review. :)

Amy

It sounds a bit different than I was expecting, but still something I would enjoy. At least going into it I will expect it to be more Middle Grade than YA so that makes a difference. Great review hon!!

Katie

Hmm... I had higher hopes for this. Oh well, I'd still like to read it.

Julie

I like middle-grade novels, but I don't like the idea of the marketing flop for this book. It seems a lot different than what I originally thought Cold Fury would be like, but I might still get ahold of it. With this in mind, it probably won't be as disappointing.

Meg K.

COLD FURY is actually one of the books I'm really looking forward to (okay, that's mostly because of that kick-ass cover, but still). I'm really happy to hear that the MC was well-developed and everything, but seriously? Characters acting like elementary school children? That sucks. Badly. I guess I'll still try this one out, though. Maybe I'll think differently, and I've got an idea of what to expect, too.

Great review, Lexie!

Traci @ The Reading Geek

Great review! That is a bit disappointing about this book. It sounds really good but it is too bad that it doesn't read as a mature book. Also that is disappointing that important topics are brushed aside. The plot does sound really interesting still though.

Angie

It's disappointing that a novel would take such difficult and important subjects such as murder and suicide and brush it away as nothing.

However, mobs tend to deal with those subjects without much thought because they are obsessed with profit, so I guess it's not too surprising.

For most people, I guess it would be really unnerving, especially me. Still, I can't wait to read Cold Fury.

Jill Marie

This is a great review!
Middle grade reads or books that feel that way can sometimes be a good break for my brain ^^
Thanks for such a detailed review!

The Literary B!tch

I have to be honest I have high hope for this book. Looking forward on reading this and giving my own thought about it!

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