Review: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Posted May 4, 2013 in Review / 3 Comments

Vengeance BoundVengeance Bound
By Justina Ireland
Published April 2nd, 2013
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
320 Pages
Young Adult | Urban Fantasy
Source: Received ARC from Simon & Schuster (via Edelweiss) in return for an unbiased review (Thank You!)

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About the book:  The Goddess Test meets Dexter in an edgy, compelling debut about one teen’s quest for revenge… no matter how far it takes her.

 

Cory Graff is not alone in her head. Bound to a deal of desperation made when she was a child, Cory’s mind houses the Furies—the hawk and the serpent—lingering always, waiting for her to satisfy their bloodlust. After escaping the asylum where she was trapped for years, Cory knows how to keep the Furies quiet. By day, she lives a normal life, but by night, she tracks down targets the Furies send her way. And she brings down Justice upon them.

 

Cory’s perfected her system of survival, but when she meets a mysterious boy named Niko at her new school, she can’t figure out how she feels about him. For the first time, the Furies are quiet in her head around a guy. But does this mean that Cory’s finally found someone who she can trust, or are there greater factors at work? As Cory’s mind becomes a battlefield, with the Furies fighting for control, Cory will have to put everything on the line to hold on to what she’s worked so hard to build.

Ever notice that there are authors who are great with crazy story ideas and concepts and on the other side there are authors who do a fantastic job building worlds and characters to live in those worlds?  But it’s the rare and fantabulous book that combines all these qualities; combines both the crazy unique story idea with the well fleshed-out supporting world and characters.  These books for me are ones written by Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Rachel Vincent, or Darynda Jones.  Why am I discussing this in a review of another book?  Because Vengeance Bound has the super crazy-awesome story idea but for me it just lacked a little hutzpah in the character department.   I just needed to explain where I’m coming from; why I thought it got half the recipe correct.

Setting / World Building

Where the story starts is in a mental institution.  We’re then off to a small town in Pennsylvania where Cory has relocated herself to so she can continue her hunt for her former psychiatrist.  She’s looking to exact revenge for all the pain and suffering he’s put Cory through.  At this point in the story, it isn’t clear exactly what has happened.  We’re not even sure if he’s as evil as Cory makes him out to be.  Because anyone with “personalities” in their head are usually considered short on rolls in their bread basket.  You’re just going to have to let this story play out to find out who did what to who.

Cory is stuck with the Furies in her head and their need to feed their hunger for fear and death is pretty strong at times.  Cory longs for a portion of her life to be “normal”.  So she enrolls in the local high school and goes through the act of being just like every other teenager there.  Ms. Ireland did a great job illustrating this typical high school and it’s surrounding small town, showing us where and how Cory lived, and all the places she travels to hunt her prey for the Furies.  And even though this story is a typical urban fantasy, we do get a few pretty cool dream sequences with some whacked out settings.

Story / Tempo

In regards to story telling, it was slow and steady all the way to the end due to a lot of the details being held back as part of the slow reveal to the ending of the book.  Often times that drives me batty because I find that I get distracted by not knowing what is going on.  Then I get lost on what is actually happening because I’m still trying to piece it all together, and it’s a big crazy catch-22!  This time, I let my mind go, let it all play out, and it worked out just fine.  You just can’t get too wrapped up in figuring out the mystery before it’s revealed to enjoy this one.

Characters

Cory, our protagonist and narrator, was just “meh” for me.  Her personality seemed a little wishy-washy.  At times she acted like an old soul trapped in a young body with the smarts that went along with it.  Then at other times she acts like a typical teenager.  I know she was “posing” as a teenager in high school every time she went to a new school but it shouldn’t be such an act for her.  I just couldn’t pinpoint a clear direction for Cory’s personality.  That kind of frustrated me.

Add on top of that some nasty high school students and I was generally turned off by the supporting cast.  But that’s a completely personal thing for me – some readers might like the nasty high schoolers.  I just happen to think nasty high schoolers, in general, reads like Gossip Girl.  Not for me…

BUT, even though I wasn’t fan of the character development, I have got to say this book had THE best ending of a book that I have read in a very long time.  Extremely well done, couldn’t have been more perfect.

I think if you want to read something that is completely different than anything out there and has one of the classiest, most perfect endings, you should give this one a shot.  Just keep your mind open to some of the flaws.

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Other Reviews:

Danny at Bewitched Bookworms

Kt at A Book Obsession

Abigail at All Things Urban Fantasy

MyParaHangover

Kristin

About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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3 responses to “Review: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

    • K

      Not to spoil it, but it wasn’t a classic HEA… I will say no more 🙂

      It’s funny but I think this came out when a lot of people were burned out on girl warrior books so a lot of peeps couldn’t really get into it. I just hate DNF-ing anything I take for review… it eats away at my conscience (ahhhhhh!)

  1. I ended up making this a DNF at fifty percent, and so agree it was a fantastic premises, but I never connected with the characters. Wonderful review and well said! As for your above conscience comment..girlie I felt the same way, but with the amount of arcs I receive, I have had to learn to let go, and I always tell the publisher or author why…since sometimes its me. They know we aren’t going to love them all!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Review: Tempting Cameron by Karen Erickson