Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ARC REVIEW: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone (Thorn and Dagger #1) by CJ Dushinski

Title: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone
Series: Thorn and Dagger #1
Author: CJ Dushinski
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published: March 10th 2015
Format: eARC | Pages: 247
Genres: YA, Dystopia, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Publisher
★★★✩ (3.5/5) Stars!

CJ Dushinski | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth's Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

To avenge his father's death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating!

The Thorn and the Sinking Stone was both unique and surprising. I wasn't expecting a lot from this if I'm being honest. I was worried that my impulsive ARC request would end up being a mistake and I even put off picking it up to the last minute. So imagine my delighted surprise when I did eventually start reading it that not only was I really enjoying the story but I was sucked in to the point where I didn't want to put it down! Now that I'm finished I'm glad I had that little impulsive moment and I really need to tell that annoying pessimist that rattles around in my head from time to time just to shove off.

I was trying to think of a good way to explain this story and with rival families, rival gangs and forbidden love it's very Romeo and Juliet or even better... West Side Story. Similar and yet still very different and unique. I mean, there were katana wielding biker samurais for crying out loud! From the opening chapters you get immersed into the worlds of two of these rival families/gangs and get a good what they're all about and what brought these families to war. I'm highly intrigued!

The first chapter opens with Sebastian we get to learn very briefly about him, mostly the fact that he's of the Two Daggers gang and the tremendous amount of grief he's under, the why of it and how it had happened. This really sad opening pulled me in instantly and though I knew next to nothing about him there was something about Sebastian I liked initially which just grew even more as the story progressed. He, like everyone in this book, has lived a very hard life. Born into a war that started generations before he was even born, he struggles between what he feels is right in his heart and head and to the loyalty he has to his family and the Two Daggers. When it comes down to it though, he's loyal and protective...to those he cares about.

In the second chapter we get to meet Valencia and it's there that you can really see the stark differences between the two families and their gangs. Valencia is training with her katana and you get way more information on the Hara family and the Black Roses as their history is drilled into her through her training. Like Bast I liked Val instantly. She's this badass, disciplined warrior but even with all her skills and steely surface underneath she's still just a teenage girl. A girl from a very crazy and scary family. 

I was on the edge of my seat for most of this book. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. There's already been revenge, violence, betrayal and death filling me with anger and sadness. And there is still so much left unfinished. Things that we've only barely begun to scratch the surface on and I can't wait to crack them open and find out what's inside. You really can't judge the characters based on what you think you know either. Quite a few of them ended up surprising me with their actions. I'm hoping that maybe the other two families and gangs in this 4 way feud and rivalry will have a bigger impact on the future books. As it is right now I'm not even really sure what their purpose is to being in the story. They haven't added anything to the storyline except for the fact that they even exist. But I'm curious all the same.

It wasn't perfect and I wasn't completely blown away. But I did really enjoy it and won't hesitate to get the next book in the series right away when it comes out. Nor would I hesitate on recommending it to someone. It's fun. It's fast paced. It's different. The romance and connection between Bast and Val, while verging on the edge of insta-love, is still very sweet and what can I say I'm a sucker for a forbidden romance. The characters are complex and the story pulls you in. All of those things are pretty great in my book!

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book!

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