Review of ARC: Ferocious by Paula Stokes

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest shared review.

Ferocious is the second book in a duology, the first book being Vicarious. My review of the first book can be found here: Vicarious ReviewIf you have not read the first book, please be advised that this review will contain spoilers of the first book.

At the end of Vicarious, Winter found out that her sister Rose had already been dead for a number of years and that she actually has dissociative identity disorder (also known as DID). In an explosive finale of the first book, Winter’s friend and boss Gideon is murdered. Her friend and co-worker Jesse has been gravely injured, and Baz, Gideon’s friend, has been injured as well. This was all done as an attempt by Kyung to have his men steal the VISE equipment for some nefarious purposes.

Ferocious begins where Vicarious left off. Fortunately, if you read the first book but don’t have time to re-read it, Stokes does very briefly recap the events that took place in the first book. This allowed me to immediately re-enter the world. Winter begins in a hunt to find and kill Kyung, the person responsible for trafficking Winter and Rose as well as the person directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of Rose and Gideon.

Along the way, the reader is transported to both Los Angeles and Seoul, Korea as Winter hunts for Kyung. She initially plans to do this alone until an event in Los Angeles occurs that leaves her having two different “alters” (a separate personality) take over and seeking out her friend Jesse for help. Now, the hunt is on to not just kill Kyung but also to recover the VISE equipment which has been stolen for some unknown purpose.

As the plot progresses, there are several heart pulsing moments common to a thriller. This one, unlike Vicarious, does focus more on interpersonal relationships that begin to become romantic relationships. While Vicarious does deal with that as well, Ferocious does so much more heavily.  I’ll admit that I was not initially thrilled about the appearance of romance elements. However, as I continued to read, I realized that the romance elements were absolutely crucial for Winter’s ultimate character development. Without the romance elements, the book would likely have ended quite differently.

A couple notes too about the diversity in the book:

Stokes’ take on DID is done in a way that comes off as very well researched and respectfully done. However, it is not written as a textbook would be written but simply as a part of Winter. As Winter learns more about DID herself, this is the only part where the clinical speak does come in a little bit. I do not have DID so I cannot comment on the representation.

Winter is Korean, and the book takes place primarily in Seoul. While Stokes is not Korean, she has lived there, and she also used beta readers. Here’s a link to her blog with several links explaining the process she went through to write outside of her own culture:  http://www.authorpaulastokes.com/2016/08/vicarious-blog-tour-introduction.html
(I know writing outside of your own experiences is a huge deal in the diverse books movement so I want to point out all that she did to try to get it right.)

Finally, this is a very satisfying read and conclusion to Vicarious. If you enjoyed Vicarious, you will enjoy this one too.

Overall rating: 4/5

The book comes out on August 15, 2017.

Links to pre-order:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Review of Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

I’m sure most people have reached a point in their life , especially at some point in their teens, when they think they finally know who they are in all areas of their life. That’s what Ramona thinks anyway. She has her whole life figured out—until something happens that acts as a catalyst for her to rethink not just her sexuality but her very future too.

Ramona Blue is ultimately about identity and not just sexual identity either. And while Ramona may be going through a bit of a crisis, this is not an “in-crisis 24-7” type of novel. It’s honestly really good.

Those of you who dismissed this novel when the synopsis was first released (and later was thankfully rewritten), give it a fair read. For those coming to check this book out and seeing the low average rating, read the reviews by those who have actually read the book. (And yes, this is an “own voices” book.)