Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review ~ Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins

Series: Nameless #2 (series title unconfirmed)
Genre: YA fantasy
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books
Goodreads Description
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series. 
Crystal @ Bookiemoji recommended this one to me! So, I kept my eye on it for awhile. It was getting quite a bit of praise--REALLY high praise. After seeing some excitement about it on Twitter one night, I decided to just go ahead and put a request in for a review copy (despite trying to resist adding new fall titles to my pile).
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nameless had me glued to my Kindle from beginning to end. I did take a couple breaks, but I always felt a strong magnetic pull bringing me back to the book. I usually put a book down to eat, but not this time. Even though it was Top Ramen, did I stop reading to finish the meal? Nope. I needed to read. I ended up finishing Nameless on the same day I started it, which doesn't surprise me, considering how into the story I was.

I was intrigued by the world. There was a very ugly feud between clans that didn't seem to have much real backing--even some of the characters didn't understand why it was going on. There was just this antagonism that existed for long before the book takes place. Shortages of food and resources helped fuel it, but it was the kind of conflict that went way past that.

The Ram were a brutal clan. As Ram members grew up, they had to go through tests that weeded out the week. Imperfect babies were punished. There were "prizefights" between Ram trainees and Nameless--fights to the death that one couldn't opt out of. Ram weren't supposed to show pain or signs of weakness. They were supposed to be strong and loyal to the clan. I found this clan to be very interesting and well developed. The others (Wolf, Kodiak, and Raven) weren't showcased as much in this book, but I'm eager to learn more about them and the values and practices they stick to.

The characters were pretty interesting as well. Zo hated the Ram, but she had to disguise herself as a Nameless healer for them. She struggled with this a lot, especially since a lot was at stake if she messed up. Also, love was essential in her healing, and how could she truly heal a Ram? I really liked Zo! Her willingness to make sacrifices stayed strong throughout the book, but she grew quite a bit.

However, I actually liked Gryphon better. I liked reading his sections more because his struggles intrigued me more. He had an incredible sense of loyalty, yet that was constantly tested. As he discovered secrets, he had to make tough decisions. Who should he be loyal to? What should he do? how much should he sacrifice? He seemed to make many of his decisions on a whim, and . . . that was both a strength and a flaw. A lot of his plans needed to reworked or thought out in a different way, but he was able to do that quickly. 

The supporting characters were decent! Joshua was by far my favorite of all of them. He was a young boy with this huge heart and a lot of enthusiasm. He was also fiercely loyal to Gryphon (his mentor) and always looked up to him. I absolutely adored Joshua. He seemed like such an innocent part of an ugly clan. There were a few other characters that were like that too, but he stood out the most to me.

A couple last things! There was very little romance--at least, not by action. It's a nice, slow burn that builds up anticipation throughout the novel. The pace of the book as a whole was quick. I know I didn't read it quicker than usual, but it felt like time slipped by faster. 

Overall, Nameless was a solid, well written YA fantasy that deserves all the high praise it's been getting. With its ugly feud, forbidden feelings, tests of loyalty, well developed characters, and quick pace, this book is so easy to dive into and lose yourself in! The only negative thing I can say about it is that it didn't quite reach all caps AMAZING for me. If I had felt an extra dose of excitement, that probably would've done it for me. I'm hoping the sequel will do that, though. Speaking of sequel . . . that ending will leave you desperate for more!

2015 challenges this book counts towards:
Flights of Fantasy

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