I received this book for free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Normally I’m very reluctant when it comes to reading self-published or “indie” books because previous experiences weren’t exactly positive. While Chained by Susanne Valenti may not be on my top 10 list, it’s certainly much better than most self-published books I have ever read.
The Writing: One of the things that drew me in about this book was the writing—it was quite simple, but the world-building was amazing. I particularly loved the description of Harbor City; the imagery was incredibly vivid and I could easily picture the complex system of skyscrapers and connecting towers in my head. In fact, one of the strongest points of the book was the way the surroundings and the events were described—for most of the book, the writing was so lifelike that it was easy to dive in to the dystopian world the book was set in.
The only problem that I had with the writing was that certain parts of the book—particularly a few of the action scenes—were not written well enough for me to visualize the actions as I read on. It sort of put me off the book for a while, and if I was the type of person to give up on a book without finishing it I might have put Chained aside and picked up a new book instead.
However, these are just minor flaws and seeing as how excluding those certain parts, the rest of the book kept me interested and left me wanting to read more, I give Chained two stars for the writing.
The Plot: At the beginning, the plot seemed very promising event though it had a bit of everything going on. You’ve got adventure, thrills, dystopia, sci-fi and bit of gladiator thrown in with a sprinkling of romance. I know it sounds a little out of place, but what’s amazing that it actually works! Sure, so what we’ve got so many themes going on at the same time—the writing is so good that it doesn’t seem strange or poorly planned at all. I don’t know really any author who can pull off so many different angles at once, and that was one of the things I loved about this book.
What I really didn’t like was the romance—somehow, it doesn’t feel necessary in this book. Moreover, I couldn’t really see the chemistry between the protagonist and her love interest. It wasn’t simply that the characters weren’t developed enough, but also because I couldn’t see the point of adding a love story to the mix and because the protagonist isn’t really the kind of girl I can see falling madly in love with someone.
There were several plot loopholes too–the fact that two inexperienced people are sent out on what is constantly being described as a dangerous mission for professionals, some of the after effects of the genetic experimentation were not properly explained, the fact that our protagonist is sent to fight in SubWars even though it was specifically mentioned her punishment would be strictly non-combative, the carelessness of the Wardens towards their own colleague, etcetera and etcetera.
Another thing that I didn’t like was how the story was stretched out—there were several parts that I felt was unnecessary, and truth be told I think this book would have been more interesting if it was split instead of jamming so many events in one installment. There were a few loopholes here and there too, so although the plot was promising and very interesting initially, during the last 40% of the book I had to push myself to continue reading it.
The Characters: There really isn’t much to say about the characters of this book—they weren’t as bland as the characters in Somewhere In Between—which has the worst characters ever, but they weren’t exactly easy for me to connect to either. I had particularly difficult time with the protagonist; I hated how irritable she was and how she was all-talk-but-no-game. She did have her moments, but most of the time I had a lot of difficulty warming up to her. This was another negative point for me: the characters weren’t engaging enough for me to care much about them.
The Ending: I couldn’t really find myself liking the way things ended in this book. I don’t need a cliffhanger to make me want to continue reading the second book, but I do need the ending to be promising enough for me to want to go on with the series. While I can’t say for sure that I will not be moving on to the second book, neither can I say that I will be reading the second book for sure. The writing style is interesting enough for me to want to continue with the series, but I’m worried about how lengthy the second book may be and also about the character developments.
All things considered, I’d give Chained three coffee cups.
I feel so sick and tired that I cannot even bring myself to look up GIFs for this review. Sorry if that makes this post seem dull–I have obviously failed as a self-respecting GIF-addict.