Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday #Review - Ferocious by Paula Stokes #YALit #Science Fiction @pstokesbooks @torteen

Series: Vicarious # 2
Format: E-Galley, 352 pages
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for vengeance.
When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter—finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.
Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?

Ferocious, by author Paula Stokes, is the second and final installment in the author's Vicarious duology. As we learned from the previous installment, Winter Kim's sister (Rose) is dead, the man who she thought of as a father figure (Gideon) is also dead. Jesse Ramirez and Sebastian Baz Faber are in the hospital, and it appears as though Winter may have a brother who she never knew. A brother who was born after Winter and her sister Rose were given up for adoption in South Korea, and later brought to Los Angeles.

What's worse, the man responsible for it all, Kyung Cho, wants the ViSE technology that was created by Gideon. Kyung is a disgusting piece of work. He made Rose and Winter's life a living hell by putting them to work as sex workers in LA, now he wants to tear Winter's world apart even further. Winter's past was brought to light earlier in the series, and that is explored even further. She has what's known as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Winter's alternative personas include her sister Rose, and a new character who we meet in this story called Lily. Lily is such a dangerous and frightening character. While Rose may be the voice of reason, Lily is the one who does the things that needs to be done to survive.

After the ViSE tech is stolen from her, Winter gets a surprising partner to hunt Kyung and end him for good. That person is Jesse Ramirez. Jesse is a veteran who lost his hearing in one ear, and has survived being shot and nearly dying. A partner who has obvious feelings for Winter. Winter's journey takes her from St. Louis, to San Diego, to Los Angeles, and then on to South Korea. South Korea is the favorite part of this story. I say that because Ms Stokes has obviously done her research and that research clearly shows in her story. She has obviously been to the country and therefore knows the scenery, the culture, and the cuisine better than anyone who hasn't been there before.

Stoke's story is amazing in that I felt as though I was along for the ride right next to Winter, Jesse, and even Sebastian who later shows up offering his much needed expertise. I have never been to Korea. I have no desire to travel there with everything going on in the Asia-Pacific region. But, I do want to try the delicious food that the author mixes into her story. Stokes does a remarkable job of weaving her characters into the real world environment that she has chosen. Stokes could have played it safe and stayed in St. Louis for the duration of this series. Instead, she upped her game even more with elements of surprise, action, and relationship moments that are finally sussed out. 

Winter's DID isn't covered up by the author, but explored with phone calls to her psychiatrist. Winter's worries about a relationship with Jesse isn't just a crutch for the story. It is an important ingredient to the final product that is filled with diverse and curious characters. Winter being a broken character who attempts to rise from her issues with DID is what made me yearn for this sequel. A sequel that might actually even better than the first installment. 

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