Thursday, 8 March 2012

Review of PUNISHED by Kira Saito

WARNING: If you have not read BOUND (Arelia LaRue #1) then you may not want to read this review. 
For my review of BOUND, see here


Title: PUNISHED
Author: Kira Saito
Source: ARC received from the author in exchange for a review.
Publish Date: 3rd March 2012.

I hereby award this book 5 wings!

Firstly as always with me, cover appreciation. I do love a good cover. We all know I am picky. But this cover is definitely one of my favourites. I was lucky enough to do the cover reveal previously on my blog so I saw it before it was released. I opened the email with it attached and said to Kira "Oh my goodness, I love it". I thought the cover for BOUND was great and this is very in-keeping with that. I've never been a fan of the colour green and I suppose you could argue that this isn't exactly green.( But as I am a little colour-blind, it looks greenish to me.) Yet even though I have never been a fan, I find it really suits this book!

When I read BOUND, I was left on tenterhooks waiting for PUNISHED to be released. So much so I kept nagging Kira about when it would be ready for my attention. I was very much relieved when this landed in my inbox. 
As some of you may know, I am friends with Kira. But if you think that makes me bias, you should think again. I made friends with Kira because I saw the cover for BOUND on Twitter and had to ask her about it. From that, I became the first person to review BOUND and we became fast friends. 
But that does not mean that I would be bias about PUNISHED. Quite simply, I always try to be impartial. There's nothing to be gained by falsely buoying an author or a friends ego. No point in telling them their book is fantastic, when in reality it's nothing special. So with that being said, I'll get on with my review. 

PUNISHED is the second book in the Arelia LaRue series. So we're back in New Orleans at the Darkwood Plantation. Back with a colourful cast of characters who can't fail to brighten anyone's day. Whether it's laughing at the antics of Mr Dumpty, rolling your eyes at 'label snob' Sabrina or really wishing Lucus would just get on and kiss Arelia already. This book will make you giggle, laugh and maybe even a guffaw or two depending on your sense of humour.

I know a lot of people didn't really like Sabrina in BOUND and unfortunately for those people, I don't think you will feel any more love for her than you do already. To me, Sabrina is very misunderstood. Yes, on the surface she is a materialistic little madam. She likes Dolce & Gabbana this, Jimmy Choo that. But I don't really think she's as shallow as you think. 
In my opinion, if you scratch the surface, Sabrina hasn't really had it all. Her parents aren't there for her. They're constantly off in Morocco. So what's a girl to do when she's left to fend for herself? Well some of us might not but in Sabrina's case, she's made the most of her parents sending her money and she's bought herself things to try and find some semblance of comfort. 
I know that they say 'money can't buy you happiness'. But whilst that may well be true, money can help to alleviate stress in some small ways. It means not worrying about bills, it means you can buy yourself luxuries. Sabrina, to me, seems as though she buys herself expensive things to make up for the lack of parents or indeed other family in her life.


So anyway, I digress. I don't really want this whole review to be me nagging you to like Sabrina. You like her or you don't. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is just mine. I personally couldn't be friends with someone who seems as shallow as she does. Yet, if I knew there was a good person underneath it all, I would be willing to give her a chance. So for all those of you who don't like her, I'm asking you to try and see it from another point of view. Just maybe give her a chance. Try to see beyond her exterior and look into her heart.


As for the story itself, I don't want to spoil it too much by telling you what happens. This second book, pretty much like the first, ends on a cliffhanger and you are on tenterhooks waiting for the next book to come along. I don't yet know when the next one is due, Kira says it won't be long. But I know I am going to go insane without it. 
For some people, I know that it seems like these books are quite short and you think that they fly past. Well, this book is actually around 10,000 words more than BOUND and I personally think they seem a little short but not in a bad way. I'm not defending my friend here, I just honestly think that maybe they go by so fast because they are so fast-paced and easy to read. You sit down with a cup of tea and the next thing you know you are on the final page.
I have to say, the ending really sprung up on me. I wasn't expecting it quite so soon. But I think that was because it was really getting going. We were really at the point I wanted to be at when all of a sudden THE END was staring me in the face. As I said, cliffhanger ending. But in having said that, it was the perfect ending too. That's because it sets the scene for the next book in the series.


For me, these books have gone at a lightning pace but they are perfect in setting up for the next one and knowing it will be a longer series, that  Kira isn't trying to pack too much 'Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am' into only a couple of books - that is just how I like it. I like to be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next piece of the puzzle. 


Anyway, I think I digressed again but you get my point.


PUNISHED is a great story. We see more of the background of Ivan, whom I was absolutely ready to punch in the face back in BOUND. Honestly now, having read this, he's not as bad as I once thought him to be. He isn't my favourite character (because I think Lucus is) and though he isn't actually any more likeable at the start, by the end of the book you are actually left thinking 'Okay he wasn't always such a [insert own expletive] after all'. 


We also see more of Arelia coming to terms with herself and her powers. She is getting to grips with being a 'Voodoo Queen'. She isn't quite there yet and she hasn't mastered her destiny but I like that about her. In some books we see the MC's come to terms with their varying 'powers' all too soon. But Arelia is naive and in some instances she is too trusting but in others she isn't trusting enough. She needs to learn to trust in herself implicitly before she can really trust others.
That being said, she is growing as a character more and more each book and quite honestly she earned a place in my heart because I have never met another character like her.


In my review of BOUND, I wrote "Being an avid reader of YA books, and having read Ruined by Paula Morris, Meridian by Amber Kizer and Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, I feel the following sentiment to be the right way of expressing what lies in the pages of this book: 
You take a base layer of Paula Morris, add a pinch of Amber Kizer and a helping of Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, add them all together and you have the perfect recipe to make Bound by Kira Saito."
Now I look at this sentiment and whilst it was certainly true at the time, I feel that Kira has developed her own style as an author and I love it. I love to read anything she has written. I find myself drawn in by the magic.. or should that be voodoo? I wonder if she placed a spell on me? *sniggers*

Whilst I feel I could talk about this book and about Kira for a lot longer, I guess I better shut up now. I will get too 'spoilery' and then you'll all be mad at me.

So I will end with thanks. Thank you to Kira for providing me an ARC of PUNISHED. Thank you for bringing Arelia, Lucus, Grand-mere Bea, Aunt Mae, Mr Dumpty, Sabrina and even Ivan into my life. I long to see them all develop as characters in their own right. I know it's Arelia's story but I like to hear more about the cast of characters that are involved in her life.
Thank you for charming me with Lucus and tempting me for a moment with Tony. I like the way you write your men, even the bad ones.

If you want to read PUNISHED for yourself, purchase it here:

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