Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Red River by Kelly Van Hull

Red River by Kelly Van Hull (Book 2)- 3.5 STARS 

Red River (Tent City #2)No one knows Brody’s secret and Dani plans to keep it that way.
It's been seven years since the first plague. Things seem safe - until the river runs red and the blood-filled waters set off a series of catastrophic events. Seeking refuge once again, Dani and her group make their way back to Tent City, unsure of what the future holds.
Can Dani keep Brody safe long enough to fulfill the prophecy? Who can she trust? Will she be able to bring down The Council before they destroy what she holds most dear? With the plagues looming, is there a bigger threat than just The Council?
In the midst of chaos, Dani finds love, but is forced to choose between two brothers - the one who can’t live without her and the one she has promised herself to – knowing the decision could destroy their relationship forever.

* A copy was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Cover- Interesting 
Rating: PG
Characters: Bentley, Jack, Dani, Kit, Brody   
Page Turner: Sometimes
Series Cont.? no
Recommend if You Like...Ashes, Ashes; Eden (AKA The Bane) 
Book Boyfriend: Jack and Bentley 
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian 
Sex Scenes: Nope
Setting- Midwest (South Dakota) 

Where to begin. I liked this book. And it certainly intrigued me throughout. The constant buzz of the mystery really kept my rapt attention. And if you were a fan of the first book, then its worth reading this one! I love that there was finality to quite a few things. Especially the love triangle issue. I absolutely love Bentley and Jack, as characters they warm my heart, in their own ways they are strong and beautiful. I liked Hannah a lot too, he courage and compassion was really touching and watching Dani and Hannah become so close reminded me of what true friendship is like.

I think its important to note that this book deals with some pretty difficult and heavy issues including drug abuse, abortion, and religion. I do not provide an opinion on these issues (for the most part, see religion issue below) because it is not for me to judge on these issues to the public but think its important for a reader to know what they are about to read.

I must admit though, I had a number of problems with the book. For starters, and this is just me, I struggled throughout the book with the religious concept/theme. I got over that though, and while it was a primary concept throughout, the author managed to set it up nicely with the narration so not to seem as though someone is pushing beliefs on me, but instead just putting out thoughts and ideas based on an ideology. (i.e. providing some of both sides of the religious spectrum) Personally, I appreciated that Dani didnt just "go along with it" and was skeptical. Next, I HATED the love triangle. I was able to appreciate the difference between the two guys, and even the relationships she had with both, separately. But I just wanted her to make up her damn mind! Even that I was able to get over. It added to the plot line and mystery.  My biggest issue with this book was what felt like "jumping" and skipping of moments, scenes, thoughts, the vagueness of some of the explanations. I frequently felt like I was missing a connection between what happened in one scene and another. It wasnt that the scenes were in contrast to one another but I felt like I missed some piece of information some how (which I didnt, because I would go back and check). It seemed to me, that the author may have been attempting to add mystery and intrigue to scenes by "leaving" something out, but this really confused me at times. This issue did detract from my reading, but not to the extent that I couldnt continue or make sense of what was going on.
Shelley Hennig as Dani

Most of my questions left lingering from the last book were answered, and for that Im grateful. I have a some unanswered questions still out there (i.e. why is he "king" and why does everyone accept this? what does being king mean? whats the power of 6 mean? how did a character get boils? no one mentioned the frogs? Castor oil? Hows there electrcity?...). At the end of the day though, I enjoyed the book regardless of some of the flaws, which quite frankly are to be expected. (writing is hard!) Mostly though I love Bentley (I guess you can tell which team I am on!!)

Plot-This is a different approach than most of the young adult dystopian novels out there right now. The author took a really interesting approach to the idea of dystopian, corruption and religion. The overall plot the book was intriguing and really kept my interest. There was always something going on. Drama, action, mystery, suspense. This book certainly has it all! Theres also the love triangle and a budding friendship with a new friend. There are some points that were never explained (the wolf, the baby, dad?) and some pieces of the story I dont fully understand (King?) but feel that the overall plot line was flushed out by the end and the story ended "properly". I have not seen a book like this that takes the idea of religion/cult and makes it a focal point of a dystopian romance so I was able to appreciate that, but felt that more could have been provided in the way of explaining the back story of the cult. I think the amount of romance was good. I appreciate that in this book, the main heroine doesnt fall in love with someone right away, but gets to know them and builds upon a relationship with the boy as a friend before moving forward. All in all, this was a pretty good book, and if you liked that first book you should read this one!
Hayden Christensen as Bentley

Dani- Dani Dani Dani. Can you just make up your mind already!!! I mean honestly girl. Dani's pinning and indecision were not the only plot point in the book though. In fact, while the triangle existed, I felt like it was not nearly as centered as it was in the first book. I found Dani annoying. And I think Im supposed to. I also found her confusing and frustrating and immature (again, I think Im supposed to, shes 17 afterall!) Her drug abuse was surprising, but interesting. I think it added a level of depth to Dani, not because she did drugs but because we see the vulnerable side of Dani, the sad and weak side of Dani. We saw Dani struggle and learn to find her inner strength, which is really what this book was about. (aside from despair). The book really goes through Dani growing up and coming into herself. I like that she goes from struggling with her thoughts and feelings, her surroundings and the feeling of inadequacy, to figuring out to trust her instincts and to be her own person!
Chase Crawford as Jack

Bentley- AW. I love Bentley. He is such a handsome guy! I like that he cares so much, always willing to do whatever it takes to help Dani and do whats right. He stays with her regardless of what she does, proving that his love is more than skin deep. I like their relationship, which seems deep, yet distant at the same time (intentionally so it seems, per Dani's feelings) I like that we see his courage and strength, though Im still a little mad at him though for what he didnt do with Dani. I am pleased with his end role and the outcome, but a little confused on how he got there. (the vague explanation)

Jack- Such the caring gentleman.I liked Jacked but I was disappointed to not see him much in this one. I am happy with the way things turned out with him, though the twist in the book was a little confusing given Dani's reactions to Jack I thought more would transpire between them. His role in this book was a lot different than the last one, but thats okay his role he was pivotal in changing Dani and having her grow into her own. 

Elise Gatien - Google Search
Elise Gatien as Hannah
Hannah- I loved Hannah. Her spirit was weak and vulnerable, but she never gave up. She was willing to always put others before herself, finding compassion and love in all people. I love the friendship she creates with Dani, which seems so genuine. It appears Dani really cares about her. I do wish that Hannah put forth more effort in the beginning with Dani, but like that their relationship developed over time.

There are a whole slew of characters that I feel like I could talk about, but their role was far more limited in this book. Kit, Mom, Dad, Brody, Jessica, Jonah, and Grant were all present, but the story certainly didnt revolve around them. And while they each had their own part, I do wish that their roles were larger.

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