Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Review! The Dark Hour by JF Jenkins, 4 Cranky Stars

**** 4 Cranky Stars ****
This is a joint review by Cranky. Reviewer 1 gave 5 stars. Reviewer 2 gave 3. This just goes to show how different people respond to the same book. Moderated rating: 4 stars.

Cranky Review 1: ***** 5 Cranky Stars *****
 The story of a brave group of teens who must fight off a manipulative evil emperor bent on changing the world and genocide. Warning the story end with a "to be continued".  The story of a group of keepers who literally have a key to go to an other dimension and those protecting them.  The book is a temptress.  It gives you clues and half truths that had me wondering who was good or evil.  Action packed full of real life dramas and familiar childhood creatures, that come more from my nightmares than my fantasy of what an enchanted world would be like. 
The characters are well developed and stay in their mindset, which is really great.  Rebecca is the heroine and it is her narrative we see the storyline through. She and her friends must fight evil during a dark hour by protecting their apartment with spells as their parents go out to fight these creatures who seem to only want destruction and death. 
Her neighbor Kendall is also a keeper so for safety they all meet in one of their apartments to wait out the hour. Linnea is Kendall's guardian and  Erik is Rebecca's.  They squabble and tease each others like siblings, but each is willing to fight for the others.  
As the story unfolds the reader is privy to the thoughts of this young girl coming of age. She goes from ice princess to thinking about boys and then to thinking about one special boy. In the story she is looking for answers to age old questions like who am I, what is my purpose, but her parents have never told her and she is frustrated  by their vague cryptic answers that include your safer not knowing- then enter the  new kid at school.
 Kyne is just too good to be true. A mystery wrapped in a  cool accent and a confidence that was well above a new high schooler should have.  He says he is from the otherside and is willing to answer many of Becca's questions in exchange for learning more above her world. This could be a threat or solution to Becca's whole family. The book keeps you guessing which made me read on.
It has strong girls and boys who are trying to find out what they believe and how to act on them.  The girls are strong and intelligent and boys are adorable, but also loyal and hero material for sure. In the end the story leaves a lot of loose ends and yet explains so much,which is like any good series should.  Great book to read if you like romantic SciFi, but not mushy.  

Cranky Review 2: *** 3  Cranky Stars ***
“The Dark Hour” by J.F. Jenkins has an interesting story premise. It’s not your stereotypical take on Light and Dark Fae from the OtherWorld. Fairies and goblins have their place in this story, but it’s not all about them or a war between the Seelie and UnSeelie courts.
Unfortunately, “The Dark Hour” didn’t grab me until midway in the tale. Personally, I think the story moved slower because of the main character, Becca, and her teenage angst. Jenkins’ novel soared after we learn that there was a shady deal made between characters.
I actually liked the bad guy, Emperor Mosna. His rhetoric was so good that I nearly fell for it. He was charming and influential. Mosna probably could have struck a deal with the devil and came out the winner.
I appreciated the character of Linnea, a young Guardian. She seemed the most down to earth out of the cast. She was a girly girl who knew how to fight. Linnea was a good friend willing to tell the truth whenever she felt it was needed.
Another character I liked was Erik, the other Guardian. He was downright honest. He did not like his role at all. He was the perfect young adult—he knew what his job was and sometimes failed to do a good one. Most important, he wasn’t the love interest! 
Jenkins gave readers a love interest who couldn’t be trusted completely. Kyne held secrets and his intentions weren’t pure. Granted, he was handsome, but his dubious nature kept Becca wondering up until the last third of the book.
Becca was the only character I didn’t like. She was one of those hot girls who knew she looked good. Nothing wrong with that, except she didn’t mind coming across as a cold fish. She was quick to jump to conclusions and her level of snarkiness could be troublesome. It wasn’t until the last third of the book that she realized some of her decisions were made in haste. But she never admitted that her choices cost people their freedom. I wonder if her viewpoint will change in subsequent installments in this series?
Thankfully, there wasn’t a love triangle in “The Dark Hour”. Jenkins hinted at a possibility involving Becca, Erik, and Kyne a few times. Each time it was downplayed by either Becca or Erik, they’re too much like siblings. Maybe this will change later on…
I am interested to see where this story goes. I would give it three and a half stars due to its slow start. The snarky female lead, however, did not throw me off this story. I want to see if the Emperor does get his wish.

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