Set in an iconic Canadian setting, this novel is an action-packed YA romance.
Read from December 20 to 21, 2016.
Cheers to Heather McKenzie for providing me an ARC edition of this book for an honest review. I love to read and support new authors! It has been a while since I’ve read a YA novel and even longer since I read one with some substance so this was a refreshing read.
Kaya Lowen, by all appearances, lives the life that every teenager dreams about: She is the heiress of a billion dollar company and lives the life of luxury with her family in a castle in Banff, Canada. However, Kaya’s life is anything but easy as there are those that wish to assassinate her, meaning that Kaya is heavily guarded at all times and is nearly a prisoner in her own home. Smart and stubborn, Kaya is constantly at odds with those around her in a fight for her independence. Thankfully Kaya has a close bond with the people who protect her. Stephen has become more like a father to her since her own is never around and the youngest guard, Oliver, has begun to catch her eye. As that intrigue turns into love, Kaya meets a stranger on the evening of her 18th birthday that leaves her questioning her relationship with Oliver and the idea of love. Confused and distressed, Kaya’s world comes apart when she is kidnapped and starts to discover some of her family’s darkest secrets.
Kaya is a likeable and down to earth character, however she is naive which, considering her upbringing, makes sense. One of the things I loved best about Kaya is that she is an endurance runner. The first chapter drew me in with the descriptions of her running. The author must also be a runner to be able to describe that feeling so well. Kaya even wants to run the one of the most iconic Canadian ultras, The Death Race, which is a 125 km run in the Rocky Mountains.
As a Canadian living abroad it was also wonderful to get such beautiful descriptions of Banff, a place I have run and visited many times. It made me miss home. What was also great about this book was the intense pace it kept. There were no lulls in the story or with the romance and the scenes were adventurous and exciting. The last quarter of the book is riveting and the twist about Kaya’s father is jaw-dropping; that bastard is selfish madman!
Additionally, the author, whether on purpose or not, shows what the beginnings of a controlling and unhealthy relationship looks like. Oliver eventually outright claims Kaya and strips her of her independence and makes her believe it is for her own safety. It was refreshing to see Kaya come into her own as a character in these aspects.
There were two aspects of this novel I wasn’t keen on, one is the title. It doesn’t seem to relate well to the novel but the story line is going to become a series so perhaps that will make a bit more sense later, or perhaps the author is going a similar title approach to the Twilight series. The second aspect of this novel I wasn’t keen on was the love at first sight that was introduced with the mysterious stranger that Kaya meets. I mean, I get it. It seems wonderful to think that you can be that swept of your feet and in love but it was a bit over the top for me. However, I seriously struggle with most romance as it is so for those that are more into romance than myself the author did a great job.
McKenzie is a promising author that is going to give readers and powerhouse trilogy that will be sure to be successful. I would recommend this novel for YA and romance lovers, as well for readers who are runners. The novel is due to be published in April 2017 so keep your eyes open for it!