Series: The Girl in the Box book 4
Author: Robert J. Crane
Publisher/Date of Publication: Reikonos Press/ Nov. 27, 2012
Source: received from author for honest opinion of it
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Just hours after finding Andromeda and crossing paths with her mother, Sienna Nealon finds herself up against a bigger threat than ever before. Omega, the organization that unleashed Wolfe and others upon her, has declared war on the Directorate and the first strikes have already landed. Facing the seemingly unstoppable forces of Omega and Sienna’s own mother, the Directorate seems poised for defeat when a new threat rears its ugly head - a traitor in their midst, one that may mean the destruction of everything Sienna has come to care about.
I feel like determining an author that has that "timeless" writing style about them takes more than just how many books they have out there in the market and whether or not they are published by "big name" companies or self. My determining factor for deciding if a book/author is a classic is the quality of it. Is this a novel(series) I will go back and read over and over again? Does it have characters that grip me and won't let go even after I have finished the book?
Robert J. Crane has developed a series ( two in fact) that has done just those two things. The characters in The Girl In The Box Series has taken my world and turned it upside down. In a good way, though. I will find myself folding clothes and out of the blue I will consider another option that could happen to Sienna, her mother, or Zach. I have even had dreams about these stories because I was so engaged in the lives of these people.
And yes, I have read Alone, the first book, a couple of times since I have read it that first time. There is always another point I can pick up and look at from a different angle. I love it!
I believe the writing muses have reigned down all of the creative gifts they could think of to help Mr. Crane reach his full potential with these stories; and he has!
From all of that, I just wanted to point out that Family is probably one of my favorite installments of this series so far; and that is saying a lot since I enjoyed all of them! I do believe these books are timeless and I believe Crane will be one those classic authors that everyone can enjoy.
Okay enough of my fangirling and swooning but I just needed to get that out of the way.
Family pretty much begins where Soulless left off: they are running for their lives, but now they Andromeda, a very special meta with very special powers. Sienna is a jumbled mess of emotions in this story and we learn as much about her as she learns about herself. We delve much deeper into the rocky relationship she has with her mother through flashbacks she has in important and stressful moments. I enjoy flashbacks-as long as they are used sparingly. I do not, however, like when every other page is a flashback. Crane, thankfully, didn't do that here. He chose to give us a crucial piece of insight through these flashbacks that were placed carefully in the story. We were not bombarded with flashbacks like the waves crashing upon the rocky shores.
Also there is a lot of heartbreak in Family. The kind of heartbreak that can rip out your still beating heart leaving you gasping for breath as tears fall down your face. The pain Sienna goes through in the plot left me so hurt for her as well as some of the pain she caused others, including Zach. But hey, don't worry it is not just full of tears and grief, because let's not forget that Sienna is a snarky chic!
Even in the most dire circumstances, Sienna finds the time for a little humor- I mean come on, just because you are fighting off these insanely bloodthirsty metas that are trying to tear you apart piece by piece doesn't mean you can't throw sarcasm into the mix. Observe:
"Succccubus," he hissed, his black hair and red eyes caught in the light of the helo's spotlight.
"Vaaaaaaaampiiiiire," I said, mocking, and I stomped his mewling friend in the face before I took a step away from the protrasted blond fiend.
And of course: vampires! I knew Crane was considering doing a project with vampires, but I love how he worked the concept into this series and made it work with the plot wonderfully. These vampires are the "bloodhounds" of the meta civilization and are portrayed in a very animalistic way. I mean think about it; if we have metas that can shoot water out of their body, create a windstorm, are encased in fire, then the vamps aren't that far off. This keeps us on our toes, so to speak, as to what else Crane will surprise us with in the future.
Family just pretty much took my breath away, made me laugh, made me cry, and shocked the hell out of me with all the secrets that get revealed in this one. I liked the way it ended, not really as a cliffhanger but more of a declaration. Of course with secrets being revealed, we have new ones being discovered too. Crane showed us how his writing has improved through Family, and has also promised us that he can, and will deliver on great story telling no matter the cost.
If you have never been a fan of sci/fi but enjoy urban fantasy or subjects comparable to X-Men, Fantastic Four, or even the Justice League, I urge you to give this series a try. This is undoubtedly one of the BEST science fiction/UF/action series I have ever had the pleasure of finding.
Seriously, it reads like a movie being played in your mind and I could definitely see its worth on the big screen.
I give Family five hearts. I wish I could give it a hundred thousand stars, hearts, etc. and I cannot wait till the next book, Omega.
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