Indebted by Amy A. Bartol

13502963I hang my head in sorrow for just a moment when I know I am truly alone. I feel like I’m going to my execution, just as he had said. Then I move forward again. I hop a fence of fieldstone and cross a field dotted with Queen Anne’s lace. Goose bumps rise on my arms as I pass the cluster of windmills that I have seen in a dream. The scent is sweet in the field though, not the scent of heat, like it had been when it was forced upon me in visions. I gaze down the hill, beyond the small, whitewashed house that I knew would be there. The church looms dark and grim with its rough-hewn, timber façade, capped by tall, oblong spires reaching to the sky. Black, ominous clouds have collected above the roofline, as if Heaven is showing me the way.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — Oh look, yet again I’ve finished another book and I sit here completely conflicted and truly unable to decide how I feel about it.  I found that the reading of this book was a lot slower than I was expecting.  I’m not sure if the mood I’m in is impacting the books I’m reading, but I’m just having a hard time remaining focused.

I think part of the problem is that certain aspects of this book became drawn out and occasionally repetitive.  After awhile I just stopped being surprised or impressed when every person/creature that encounters Evie is immediately enthralled with her and wants her for themselves.  Maybe if we’d started to get more of a hint as to why they all feel that way I would appreciate it more?  I mean, I get it — she’s stunningly gorgeous.  It’s kind of hard to relate to that as a character trait.  And apparently her lethal-ness is very attractive.  Part of me could get on board with this aspect, b/c you could see that while there is an immediate draw to her, as soon as she opens up her smart mouth they go crazy.  And I will admit, Evie can be frickin hilarious when she starts getting all sassy up in there.  So *part* of me gets it.  I guess it would have been just nice to get some variety — to have SOMEONE not be enchanted by her, kwim?

And while I never had a problem with Evie’s overblown sense of self-sacrificing (it’s not a character trait that tends to bother me in heroines like I know it does for many other readers), even I must admit that it became a bit old hat in this book.  Maybe it’s that it would be nice to see some growth in her character?  Some trust shown to her friends and family?  Then again, at the beginning Reed was still treating her with kid gloves and not letting her get involved, but at least by the end of the book you could see he FINALLY learned that lesson.

And then there’s the Brennus situation.  (SIDE NOTE while I think of it — I am *personally* not a fan (AT ALL) of the written out accents that are represented by both the Gancanagh and Russell…it kind of irks me and in general doesn’t work for me.  But that’s a personal preference thing).  OK, so yes, the Brennus situation.  The great majority of this book is spent with Brennus and the Gancanagh, and I’m not entirely sure what Ms. Bartol’s aim was for them, and what she was hoping her readers would feel.  Because I have a few theories, and in each instance she falls just short of reaching that mark.  I don’t quite hate them…she effectively gives them enough personality, and likability despite their inherent evilness that you kind of feel things for them along with Evie.  But then are they redeemable?  Well, not quite that either, are they?  It’s like, if they were *actually* redeemable, then I could get on board with Evie’s feelings for them…but Ms. Bartol writes them (mostly Brennus) just that little bit creepy and…you know what?  Maybe it’s like Stockholm Syndrome.  It’s like I would have felt better if Evie was fully magically influenced into seeing them as family, but Ms. Bartol makes sure that that isn’t quite the case.  Or maybe if they were redeemable, I would feel better, but that’s not the case either.  So it makes it hard to sympathize with Evie and hard to sort out your own feelings about the whole situation.  And I don’t like feeling icky, you know?  Like, I’m kind of a bleeding heart, so I mourned when Evie mourned over the one death.  But…but…they’re killing humans.  I guess I just don’t like feeling so confused…  I suppose some people enjoy that, but this reader does not.  To some minor degree, fine, but this is a whole book where I end it feeling out of my depth.  Not my favourite feeling. (and we’re not even going to get into Molly — don’t like that situation whatsoever)

So out of that rabbit hole, whoops…sorry.  So you’re probably reading all that and thinking “how the hell did she get to 3.5 stars?” (and I still haven’t decided whether to round up or down).  Well frankly, I still enjoyed myself.  There’s sassiness and snarkiness galore.  There are elements of Evie’s personality that just tickle me to death.  The action sequences and paranormal elements are fantastic.  I’m still somehow entrenched and want to know what’s going to happen.

In the end I’m going to round down, b/c part of what I truly loved about this series are the secondary characters (Zephyr, Buns, Brownie, Russell, Phaedrus, Preben, and of course Reed).  And we do not get nearly enough of these characters in this book…  I so thoroughly enjoyed the parts where they were there, and in a strange way that made me miss them more.  Also — I’m still not a fan of multiple beaus for our heroine.  And GOOD GOD, if I have to hear them all say “she’s mine” much more, I’m going to have a coronary…turns out I don’t find possessiveness sexy, who knew?  (it’s starting to make my love of Reed fade just a little bit…like it’s tarnished)

Ooooo, ps – am I the only one who was intrigued by Reed’s theories about the immediately preceeding Russell/Evie past life??  It was such a short little snippet, I sincerely hope it’s not lost and gets explored in the next 2 books.

So yeah.  Still really enjoying this series, but with some reservations.


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