For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can’t keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.
This book gave me such a headache.
It begins with this girl named Lena who lives in a trailer park with her mother and father. Her father is a drunken loser who abuses Lena and her mother, and all she wants is to escape that world with a track scholarship. She goes to high school, dealing with normal teenage drama; Belva, the popular girl, teasing her and testing her patience; and Lena's best friend of three months, Zander, who secretly loves her as more than a friend. But when Zander and Lena go to the local movie theater and a chair mysteriously burns her arms, she thinks she's going crazy. Also, she's been hearing this haunting voice in her head.
And then, the narrative switches from Lena's to Tarek Montague's-- the voice in her head.
Turns out, there is a whole other dimension he, a Guide, and Wilma, his Protector, live in, called Arcus. Lena, Tarek, and Wilma all knew each other in a past life, called cycles, but when a new cycle begins, old memories are wiped out and new ones form. Basically, Tarek and Wilma are trying to work together to see who is messing with Lena and her new cycle.
And that's not even the first half of the book!
As I kept reading, I found myself not interested in Tarek and Wilma's dilemma to help save Lena. I didn't care for Arcus or Guides or Protectors, cycles or anything of that scientific world. All I really cared for was Lena and how she and her mother were going to escape their drunken father's evil clutches.
The pacing of the book threw me off a few times, as well. First the narrative was Lena, then Tarek, then back to Lena, and finally in third person. I understand the need for switching points of view to express the plot, but to go to a complete 180 and take it to third person really upset me. I almost stopped reading completely because of it. And Tarek's attitude towards Lena's mother and Jake, Lena's friend and boss at the movie theater, irked me to no end. He didn't know how to listen to authority. Yes he has lived many lives and come from afar to see and protect Lena, but he has no sense of respect towards anyone besides Wilma and Lena. I found that astounding!
This book is supposed to be a four-part series, but if I could barely get through the first one, it's going to take me a while to think about reading the rest. It had a good storyline in the beginning, but the way it was executed created too much confusion, the romance between Tarek and Lena was unbelievable, and the fantasy details were all of the place.
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