Wednesday 30 April 2014

Review: Cracked

Title: Cracked (Soul Eater #1)
Author: Eliza Crewe
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Released: 5th November 2013
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cracked initially entered my life as a way of very briefly distracting me from my work, but whose deliciousness soon had me charmed and hooked.  And of course when I say this, I am freely admitting my delight with the blood, guts and general bodily destruction that goes on here.  You've been warned.
Meda is the one who brings all this to the forefront and, perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, I loved her.  As a soul-eater, she immediately had my attention.  Her lack of knowledge about her kind added a layer of mystery, but Eliza Crewe had no trouble in making me happy simply by giving me such a character.  As a protagonist, she ensured that attention stayed.  I don't think I've ever come across a voice like hers.  When we meet her she is on the hunt for food, Meda-style, and she had me from there.  She is both biting and witty, giving this book a level of humour and plain entertainment that I just didn't expect.  Her character comes even more into focus in the presence of secondary characters, which meant there is not long to wait.  Her mental running commentary when Jo, Chi and Uri turn up had me laughing and, to be honest, agreeing with her.  Chi in particular warranted a raised eyebrow several times over; initially he seemed to be quite the idiot, but I think by the end he'd become something of a loveable one.  Meda was undoubtedly the star of the show, but the secondary characters were also nicely rounded.
If the characters are a delightful bunch, so, too, is the demon-Templar mix.  The society of crusaders is Meda's ticket to finding out more about her kind, but of course she can't reveal her true identity since their job is to kill those like her.  It was not a combination I was anticipating, yet it was one that worked nicely.  Crewe sets a reasonable pace, throwing in a couple of startling revelations for good measure.  I liked the focus Meda maintained, not getting overly distracted.  Part of the result of this, or perhaps it was the cause, was the lack of romance.  When I met Chi I thought I had it all figured out, but it turned out (thankfully, I think) that I was wrong.  Its absence was surprising, but welcome.  I know, I know.  Usually I'm all for bookish love, but here it was more true to Meda's personality.  Instead what we had were sweet secondary relationships - so, you know, it wasn't all blood and fighting and soul-eating craziness.  But mostly.

Cracked proved to be an exceptionally delightful read I didn't see coming.  If I could sum it up in a word, it would probably be entertaining.  It was ridiculously funny, and the characters - main and secondary alike - were certainly attention-grabbing figures.  Throw in demon hordes and a (surprisingly) secret society with a healthy dollop of carnage and this book ceased to be simply a distraction.  In fact, I'm pretty sure this one was made with me in mind.  And perhaps you as well, if these things also call to you.

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