by McKenzie Hunter
Series: Sky Brooks #1
Published on May 11, 2014 by McKenzie Hunter
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Death should be the end of your life— not the beginning.
Sky Brooks’s life started with a death—her own. Sky’s spent the first twenty-three years of her life unaware of this, among other things. She always thought she was just a shapeshifter until she wakes up in a strange house in rural Illinois—battered, bruised, and with only vague memories of her mother’s death at the hands of vampires.
At the request of a powerful witch, Sky is put under the protection of the Midwest Pack. But she isn’t sure she can trust them, especially after she meets the dangerously sexy Ethan, a pack member, who’s known for being more ruthless than altruistic. After she’s attacked by a necromancer, a mercenary, and the vampires who killed her mother, she has no choice but to accept the pack’s help.
The Midwest Pack aren’t quite what they seem—but then again, neither is Sky. As they form an uneasy alliance to search for the reason behind the vampires’ vicious attacks, it becomes clear that Sky possesses magic no one has ever seen—and it all started with what happened at her birth.
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When I read the first book in a new series, I’m primarily looking for one thing: does this book make me want to read the next one? In the case of Moon Tortured, I would have to say that it did; however, the journey to that point was a rough one. This urban fantasy includes the familiar players in the genre: werewolves/were-animals, vampires, warlocks, and mentions of the fae, elves, etc. Definitely in the paranormal world here.
Skylar Brooks is a werewolf and something else that becomes the central point of the story. She doesn’t know what she is and neither does anyone else. And that little extra bit has put her in the protection of a were-animal pack.
I struggled with the first 20% of the book. Between the blatant character description dumps and lack of world information I felt like I was too immersed. It was clear we were in an alternate modern world but the descriptions focused on the characters and less-so on everything around them. As the story progressed, the protagonist, Skylar, was left in the dark by the rest of the cast because she “couldn’t know” what was going on. While this partially fit the story, it also seemed to become and excuse for her to be ignorant of the situation and create a sense of mystery. Instead of hooking me, I became annoyed as it continued like this for quite some time.
Despite the beginning third of the book, I eventually got into the story. I really wasn’t a fan of Skylar and her reckless decisions that kept putting her in danger. In fact, of the entire cast, I think my favorite character was Winter. Part of the Midwest Pack protecting her, Winter had the least amount of backstory given (except maybe Gavin) yet they both became two of my favorite characters in the book. She wasn’t helpless and her attitude toward Skylar held a lot of sense. Gavin is just interesting because he comes out of nowhere and you don’t know anything about him (which is at odds with this book because you’re given info on most of the characters). That made him stand out against the rest.
I also wasn’t a big fan of Ethan, one of the other main players. You can see how this can be a problem when I care more about side characters than protagonists. He held a constant animosity toward Skylar that went from being alright to just annoying when there was really no cause. Ethan became one-dimensional with anger and irritation as his calling cards. His brother, Josh, had more going for him with a lust for magic and a personality that was all over the place. Not sure how I feel about him, to be honest.
This book is almost entirely character-driven, circling around the decisions they make and the consequences that come from them. As someone who prefers a decent amount of world-building along with character development, this book wasn’t entirely suited to my personal reading tastes. Overall, I wouldn’t consider this a standout book in the genre but I enjoyed it by the end. While I’m not desperately grabbing for the sequel, I would certainly read it and may do so in the future. Moon Tortured holds potential as a series but I would consider this an average starter perfect for fans looking for a new urban fantasy series.