Thursday, March 13, 2014

Combined Review: Talented + Caged

ISBN: 1618429949
Pages: 316

When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... Talia herself.
Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal.
She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger.

Hey guys, today I'm going to present to you my newest series addiction. I don't know why I was so enamored by this series, but I literally cannot stop. Okay, enough let's get into the review.

I feel like a total hypocrite because a couple reviews earlier I was just saying how dystopians don't interest me and here I am with a new dystopian favorite. So...if you haven't already figured, this is a dystopian genre book. The story takes place in the future where people have been tested to have special Talents that make them stronger, faster, and in some sense better. You have morphers who can morph into specific animals, light manipulators, high reasoners (smarticles), mimics, telepaths, telekinetics, and our main girl's talent: Mind Manipulators. The world was so vividly created that you instantly find yourself immersed in the story and there's no way out.

I instantly fell in love with Natalia aka Talia. She was just so kicka** awesome with her killer moves and fiery personality. I loved reading the book from her perspective because she was so easy to connect with and the writing made you feel everything she felt. If you get on her bad side, you're done. Like the time she blew up the cabin after something happened. There's nothing small and subtle about her, she's confident and brave and super bada**. I'm sorry, I just can't put it into words. >.<

The boys in the story were definitely high rankers on the best YA fiction boys. Well, most of them were. Henri is like Talia's big brother/father. He's always there supporting her and while he can be a bit distant sometimes, you know that he'd beat anyone up for hurting her. Erik is not that bad either. Sadly, he does fall into the playboy category, but after a little trouble in paradise he really got his act together and stood by Talia. His bantering with Talia as well as his carefree personality made the story very enjoyable. You better take me seriously when I say he's hard to resist. Finally, we have Donovan. At the beginning he was the perfect boyfriend and totally swoon-worthy. Then he committed the unthinkable and I mentally slaughtered him. You know that heartbreaking feeling where a character you really like does something so bad that you just can't deal with them anymore? That's what happens. Big disappointment, but then it did bring together my official ship. ;)

Okay, I'm done talking about guys. When Talia gets her graduation mission, it's like a dream come true. She gets to track Crane and possibly kill him for murdering her parents. But when they actually meet it's a different story. From the summary, I assumed that the meetup between Crane and Talia would be super dramatic and it was, but what toned down the action was that I had already predicted what would happen. I still really liked the tension that vibrated through the book during the scene, but when reading it, it didn't come as much of a surprise.

Now Erik's letter, that is one damn surprise. Seriously Sophie Davis, you're going to end like that? I'm dying here!! Talented definitely DID NOT suffer "first book" syndromes, it was really freaking amazing! So, if you keep reading you'll see that I have read the second book in the series already. I'm addicted and I'm not ashamed. Definitely recommend this book, Talented is free so you can check it out and see if you like it before committing and buying the rest of the series. :)
4 out of 5 stars

Keep Reading for my review of the SECOND book in the Talented Saga!

ASIN: B007Y8O692
Pages: 380

After her brush with death at Ian Crane’s compound, Talia Lyons feels like a prisoner, confined in her childhood home. Plagued with seizures- the result of an unidentified drug injected in her neck by Crane’s men- Talia must put her dream of becoming a Hunter on hold. So when Agency Director McDonough asks Talia to go undercover at the School for the Talented, to find the spy who set the trap for her in Nevada, Talia jumps at the opportunity. 
Soon she learns that her new-found freedom comes with a price- working with Donavon on a daily basis. As if that isn’t awkward enough, her former teammate, Erik, also shows up at the School. But at least Talia has the unexpected company of her best friend Penny; to not only assist her in uncovering the spy, but also to deal with the complications that the guys create.
As Talia becomes more entrenched in her assignment, she quickly learns the lengths that the Agency and Mac will go in the name of war. With Crane’s influence spreading, Talia learns that there are few Operatives without ties to the Coalition. Forced to face hard truths and dangerous conclusions, Talia realizes that it is those closest to her who are hiding the biggest secrets. As the task of finding the traitor becomes more problematic, desperation and frustration rule Talia’s world. It becomes clear that Talia can’t do this alone. But who can she trust, when everyone around her is lying?

So this is the second book in the series. I cracked and ended up purchasing the second book for my Nook. And...I will probably end up buying the rest of the series as well. Oops...

Caged takes place a couple months after Talented ends and to be honest, it took a while to really get into the book. The first quarter to third of the book wasn't really all that entertaining. Talia is basically recovering from her injuries and dealing with her love/hate relationship with Donovan. There are all these explosive fights between them, Talia's unending complaints towards Ursula, and other annoying snobby teachers, and it was generally a bore. BUT, I repeat, BUT things definitely started picking up after that and 100% made up for the slow intro. 

The second part of the story gets super intense as Talia gets closer to finding out who the spy was that breached her mission. There's all this piecing together of facts and you can just feel yourself getting amped up and excited because Sophie Davis just leads you on the path of a big finale. What I definitely loved about the second part of the book was that you also get a deeper look at the world that Talented and Caged are situated in. As Talia goes to on uncovering all the little secrets, you get to see all this crazy awesome new technology being used, the extent of talent that some people have, and the true power of the Agency. Trust me, it's really cool.

Another thing you get to see is the character development which is super freaking intense. Well, for a couple characters at least. Donovan stays the same being Talia's anchor to sanity, his stubborn personality and his "I'm so much better" attitude. Erik stays the same being super sweet, supportive, and the womanizing man that he is. Talia goes through some change as she recovers from her mission and like I mentioned before, there are fits and there are fights. Penny doesn't really go through that much change, she's still bubbly and bright, but you definitely learn more about here. The big characters that went through the most I have to say is the Agency itself. And I leave it at that.

Compared to the first book, I definitely would say that I liked Caged just as much. It's definitely very well written and fast paced. While some parts might be a bit predictive (like the ending) which might be a downer for some, I still loved the revelation of it. Definitely recommend!!

So I have confirmed my statement in the first paragraph with I AM going to end up buying the rest of the series, but for the moment I'm going to ban myself from doing so because I just have way too many books to read. But somewhere in the future, Hunted (3), Created (4), and maybe Captivated (novella) will be reviewed!!

4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

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