Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Wanderers by Kate Ormand {review}

The Wanderers
by Kate Ormand
♦publisher: Sky Pony Press
♦release date: September 1st, 2015
♦hardcover, 320 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦stand alone
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.

In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise. 

Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?

Review: While everyone knows not every book can be for every reader, The Wanderers was one I had high hopes for and found myself sorely disappointed . With the promise of a circus setting, a unique cast of shapeshifters, and a merciless powerful enemy, I was hoping to be drawn in, enchanted, and kept on the edge of my seat. Sadly, none of that happened. 

The story did flow along at a good pace.  There were a few moments that were really exciting or horrifying and kept me turning pages, wondering if maybe this would be the moment the story finally clicked for me. However, there were too many other plot twists that felt contrived, anticlimactic, or just not plausible. The storyline as a whole was okay, entertaining enough to get me to see it to the end.

My main issues with this book were with the writing style and the characters. The style felt choppy and disjointed and just wasn't appealing to me.  The story involves a huge cast of characters, most of which are unlikable and just awful towards each other, with the exception of Jett who is so "good" in contrast, he feels like an overly wise and angelic voice among them.  At times the other characters (including Flo, the main character) felt so immature and juvenile for their supposed ages,  it had me wondering if this was originally written as a middle grade. I might have been able to forgive a bit more whining, pouting, and childish behavior if they were suppose to be a bit younger. It almost felt like that was the case, and then the decision was made to up their ages, so a little romance, some graphic violence, and a few awkward swear words were thrown in. There were some good emotional moments that showed the characters caring for each other or their plight to find where they belong in the world, but it wasn't enough to overcome my frustration with all of them.  

The villians turn out to be the most obvious choice and though it tries to then make the reader feel a bit of compassion for them, I just wasn't biting. It may just be me, but when the synopsis of a book asks "have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?", I kind of don't expect that to be the actual outcome.  The ending wraps up this chapter of the characters lives but leave it a bit open for a possible series. Unfortunately neither the story or the characters appealed to me enough to want to follow them into a second adventure.  

Find Kate Ormand online: Website  •  Twitter  •  Instagram

Purchase The Wanderers: Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon


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