Sunday, October 22, 2017

Review Sunday: Treasure, Darkly by Jordan Mierek


Treasure Chronicles #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Seventeen-year-old Clark Treasure assumes the drink he stole off the captain is absinthe… until the chemicals in the liquid give him the ability to awaken the dead.

A great invention for creating perfect soldiers, yes, but Clark wants to live as a miner, not a slave to the army—or the deceased. On the run, Clark turns to his estranged, mining tycoon father for help. The Treasures welcome Clark with open arms, so he jumps at the chance to help them protect their ranch against Senator Horan, a man who hates anyone more powerful than he.

Sixteen-year-old Amethyst Treasure loathes the idea of spending the summer away from her bustling city life to rot on her father’s ranch, but when a handsome young man shows up claiming to be her secret half-brother, her curiosity is piqued. He’s clever, street smart, and has no qualms jumping into the brawl between the Treasures and Horans. Caught in the middle, Horan kidnaps Amethyst, and all she gets is this lousy bullet through her heart.

When Clark brings her back to life, however, the real action starts, and Amethyst joins him in his fight against the Horan clan—whatever the cost. Defeating the Horans may seem easy at first, but going up against men with the same fighting vengeance as Clark, and a Senator with power he’s obtained by brainwashing the masses?

Well, Amethyst’s boring summer at home has turned into an adventure on the run, chock full of intrigue, danger, love, and a mysterious boy named Clark."



Review:
Thank you to the author, Jordan Mierek, for providing me with a review copy.  All expressed opinions are my own.

This is another book I feel conflicted about.  Just like Such A Good Girl, I couldn't decide on the first read through how I felt about it.  On one hand, it has such a dangerous feeling and I've never read anything like it, and on the other hand, some passages felt irksome to me and I couldn't get over how the world is glossed over.  I finally decided that in spite of that, I did like it, with some reservations.  Let me explain:

1.  The plot.  This is the most interesting aspect of the book for me.  The story centers around Clark and how he finds his father after being on the run for several years.  He's sent on a mission to collect certain items and that's when it gets really interesting.  On both read-throughs I was completely absorbed in the story and what would happen.  Mierek does a wonderful job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat as there are so many little hiccups along the way.  The plotline is a piece of art.

2.  The characters.  The book is set up as a third person omniscient POV which means that the narrator pops into all of the characters' heads at one point or another.  For a while, I was worried the characters would remain flat as they had been throughout the first fourth of the book.  However, once these little jumps into different consciousness's were first introduced, the characters really began to be fleshed out in a more substantial way.  We get to know Clark and Amethyst pretty well because they're the main characters but there are also dives into Amethyst's brothers (Jeremiah and Zachariah) that provided a wonderful insight.  One point I couldn't get over, though, is the use of 'brass glass' as a curse.  I completely understand that the author used it as a device to connect the reader to the world but to me, it just felt silly and impractical.  Curse words roll off the tongue and are typically all-purpose (like you can't use 'shit' in basically any other context other than swearing but you can use both 'brass' and 'glass').  I don't know, maybe I'm getting too into the morphological uses here but it bothered me throughout the novel.

3.  The world.  This is where I had the most issues with the book.  While I did enjoy each of the settings the author introduces the reader to, they aren't exactly painted with a fine-tipped brush.  They're more represented by broad sweeps and most of the outer world isn't touched at all.  This is the first book so there can't be a whole lot of world building (there's character building to be done, after all!), but I couldn't really picture the places they went and their specific layouts.  Characters went here and there but there was no in between and no directional orientation which made it difficult to become fully immersed.

4.  The romance/customs.  Of course, there is a romance, and I found it to be rather meh considering that it doesn't add too much to the story.  It adds a slight secondary plot line and a little more tension than normal but otherwise I didn't find that there was too much chemistry between the two.  I was also slightly confused on what the customs are exactly in terms of courting and whatnot.  This book is set in a sort of post-industrial wild west (think the Western US in 200 years after a government collapse or something of the sort) and there's sort of a mix between what we think of as traditional and modern dating practices.  The characters kept mentioning courting and modesty but the next minute, there seems to be scandal everywhere with the romance (or what I should think would cause a scandal; premarital sex for one thing).  The world seems to be undergoing a sort of transition between the two belief systems but I just wish it was made a little more clear what the sort of expectations are for couples.

5.  Clark's powers.  I wanted to give this it's own little section because Clark's powers kind of puzzle me.  He has the ability to bring the dead back to life (only the very, very recently dead apparently) and then can maybe sometimes use it to kill people too.  I would have loved a little more information on the mechanics of this because that's pretty much all that's said about it.  I also would have loved to hear more of Clark's feelings on the fact that he has these crazy, abnormal powers that he's somehow completely okay with.  I mean, in his thoughts he almost sounds cheered that after bringing someone back, he can transfer that power to a living persona and kill them but an hour later he's saying that it's a curse and that's that.  We don't really get any of his feelings on the subject which is a disappointment.

The Final Verdict:
The shining star of this book is the plot and characters and I have no doubt that their majesty will continue in the next books.  The world, however, could use some more development and a little clarification on the romance standards also wouldn't be amiss.  Also, Clark's powers continue to puzzle me (I seriously am thinking about another reread to maybe clear this up).
3 stars

4 comments:

  1. Um, yeah. This one sounds very, very flawed. At least the author got the characters right. Maybe they shouldn’t have tried such a complicated setting and plot???

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    1. Yeah, it just felt like there was so much going on all at once and nothing was super clear. I also received the second book for review so I'm hoping it improves! Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

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  2. I'd previously enjoyed reading Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth so had quite high hopes for Treasure Darkly, but it didn't resonate with me either. A shame as the premise is interesting.

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

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    Replies
    1. I had the same sort of feeling! I was really expecting the plot to take hold and it just didn't. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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