Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blog Tour: Perfection by J.L. Spelbring @SpencerHillP @kendrybird @jlspelbring

Today I get to make a stop on J.L. Spelbring's Perfection blog tour!
Have you seen this book!

 photo 13541871_zps341ca9a6.jpgThe personification of Aryan purity, Ellyssa's spent her whole life under her creator's strict training and guidance; her purpose is to eradicate inferior beings. She was genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier: strong, intelligent, unemotional, and telepathic. 
Only Ellyssa isn't perfect. 
Ellyssa feels emotions--a fact she's spent her life concealing. Until she encounters the epitome of inferiority: a dark-haired boy raised among renegades hiding since the Nazis won the war a century ago. He speaks to her telepathically, pushing thoughts into her mind, despite the impossibility of such a substandard person having psychic abilities. 
But he does. 
His unspoken words and visions of a place she's never visited make Ellyssa question her creator. Confused and afraid her secret will be discovered, Ellyssa runs away, embarking on a journey where she discovers there is more to her than perfection


Title: Perfection
Author: J.L. Spelbring
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Suggested age range: 13 & up
BISAC Category:
Price: 9.95
Pages: 296
ISBN: 978-1937053345



For The Cover Contessa's blog tour stop, I got to review this most awesome book! I was fortunate enough to get a copy of it from Spencer Hill Press (who, as it so happens, I am now a publicist for).
So here is what I thought!

The Cover Contessa's Review:
I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way changed my opinion or review.

Blurb from Goodreads:I want to thank Spencer Hill Press for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way changed my opinion or review.

As with all SHP books, I was truly excited to read this one. It's a strange mix of dystopia and science fiction set in a more current world. While we are never given the time in which the book actually takes place, there are several references to World War 2 and Hitler having been in the past. There are also references as to how long some of the characters have been part of the resistive movement, the oldest looking to be in his 70s and having been the one to start it. So I can safely say that this book most likely takes place in this day and age, in a world that has been altered as if Hitler's plan came to fruition. Scary thought, isn't it?

One of the most interesting parts about this book is that it is written in third person with an omniscient voice. Rarely do you see YA novels that fall into this category (Cassandra Clare being the exception). For the most part YA books have a MC (or perhaps a few) that gives his/her point of view and that is how you get an idea of the world building. Not so with Spelbring's book. She takes the chance and tells the story from the outside perspective. At first, I found it odd, to be honest. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. But as I read and got more and more into the story, it really grew on me and I noticed that this point of view truly helped to shaped the emotions I felt as I read along. Truly not an easy feat, as telling a story from this perspective has it's own difficulties (how do you get the personalities and emotions of the characters across if they cannot tell you about it through their own eyes?). But it really worked and in the end surprised me.

As for the characters, I really enjoyed getting to know them. They are fairly well developed with personalities all their own. I would have liked to see some of them in more depth, perhaps more interactions between them so I could flesh them out and connect with them. But for the most part they were relatable and realistic.
Elyssa is an interesting specimen. She is emotionless at the beginning of the story, trained to kill. But something clicks inside her and suddenly it's like a light was turned on and her emotions begin to take shape and form. We learn about her through how she reacts to others and to the situations around her. It's interesting to watch her grow from a sheltered being with no trust in anyone but her father and siblings, to a person who begins to understand the depth and reasoning behind human relationships.
I would have liked to see more about Rein. I don't feel like I got to know him well enough. He's tough on the outside, and certainly has some softness that's hidden underneath. He is fiercely loyal, which is always great to see in a male character. And he is able to bend a bit and learn as well, as the story floats along.
Mathew, Woody, Jason and the others are a great backdrop. I especially enjoyed the detective, Angela. She was hard core and unwavering in how she thought. She had an evil that underscored her personality and slowly seeped out during the story. Her rage and jealously were very palpable at the end. The Doctor was also a very interesting character. He was completely corrupt and there was no denying he is the bad guy in this book. He is so focused on creating a superior race that others begin to not matter anymore and all that matters is that he attains his sick goal.

Spelbring builds an interesting world. It's a world where there is a superior race. Anyone else is inconsequential. I have to say that I would have liked to see more of how the world came into being, how it was able to be maintained. This book does not focus on any aspect of the government, so we don't know how the people are so well controlled. Also, I didn't understand how the renegades were able to break off and hide so well. I would have liked to see more about their communities and how their network worked so well. We only get a short glimpse into the network towards the latter part of the book. But you can feel the corruption and see where it has emanated from. There's no denying this world to be a post war society filled with the ideas that there is a superior race and all other races must be destroyed. 

As for the romance, well, it would not be YA without a bit of romance. It was sweet. But, I did have an issue with the "insta-love" thing. I didn't feel like the characters grew and got to know each other well enough to really profess their love for one another. Don't get me wrong, I know there can be moments where characters feel so connected to one another that things just click, but I didn't get that here. And I was surprised that Ellyssa didn't question things more than she did, having never experienced such emotions before.

As for Spelbring's writing, there is an edginess to it that was actually a bit unnerving throughout the book. But this wasn't a bad thing. It actually helped to develop the tone of the story and move it along in a way that was easy to understand. At no point was her language confusing (although she does use the metric system, so if you are unfamiliar with that you may be a little lost). I liked how she stayed true to the European aspect of this book. Despite it taking place in the midwest (Chicago, Kansas City), she kept in line with a good amount of the characters speaking German (after all, the German's won the war). 

Overall, I really liked this book. The idea is completely and totally new and refreshing. At first I was not sure I would like it. I am not a huge fan of historical type books. But this is not an historical read, although the history does create the back drop for the world building. I was torn as to my rating until I got to the end. I really liked how things ended and how it was left open, without a cliff hanger, for future installments to a series. I'm looking forward to where Spelbring takes the story and how it develops into something that goes beyond the doctor and his offspring.

Sounds like I liked it, right? That's because I did!


 photo 22971581_BG4_zps9de3a7f5.jpg J.L. Spelbring lives in Texas, where she wanders out in the middle of the night to look at the big and bright stars. Besides knocking imaginary bad guys in the head with a keyboard, she enjoys being swept away between the pages of a book, running amuck inside in her own head, pretending she is into running, and hanging out with her kids, who are way too cool for her.



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