Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Review: Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch

Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Entangled
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Freedom comes at a cost... Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure...and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one's safe, least
of all the other pets. But she's trapped, unable to get back
to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.

Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she's lucky, she'll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she's tried to save...

This installment of the Perfected series wasn't quite what I was expecting, but don't get me wrong, that wasn't a bad thing.  Ella has crossed the border into Canada to find safety, but was unfortunately separated from her love, Penn.  She's living in a refugee house for liberated/escaped pets, and she doesn't really like it.  Basically, it seemed to me like she had traded one prison for another.  The people running the place weren't really doing anything to help these girls assimilate into society, to teach them how to make their way in the world.  Instead, they just kept them under lock and key.  So one prison to another, although the people appear to have the best of intentions.  Ella has only one thing on her mind though, and that's getting back to Penn.

I know some people had an issue with this because she spent so much effort trying to escape the U.S., only to try to get back to it for love.  Personally, as a romantic, I thought that was perfectly logical.  After all, the original escape plan had been for Penn to be with her, not captured and dragged back.  So I can understand why she would want to try to find him and get him back.

I liked this book because we got to see some major growth in Ella's character.  She's not the cutesy, elegant, naive and shy girl she was in the first story.  Throughout the course of this adventurous tale, she grows a backbone, and shows some real fierce personality that I absolutely loved.  As she meets up with another pet she used to know, the two are doing their best to cross the border, hide out, figure out how to survive, and find Penn.  I loved the journey she took internally and how much she changed over the course of this external and internal journey.

This was a more exciting second installment to the series that read a lot more fast-paced.  I loved how the author dealt with some sensitive subjects, showed us a little bit more behind the world of the pets, and progressed the story further.  A very good installment.  Looking forward to the next one.
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