Book 13 of 2015: Courageous Souls by Nicole Daffurn

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The war of 2078 extinguished life as it was known, leaving a desolate world in its wake. Those who survived rebuilt. But as it goes, people make mistakes. The city of Hybora is a cruel place to live, those who reside among the lower parts of the city – The Pits – rarely see old age. Those who survive long enough, live a perilous existence, to live, to fight and to die for the amusement of the Upper’s, who sit upon their thrones that look over the city.
Jessie Halloran witnessed her parent’s execution at the age of ten, and for thirteen years she’s fought in the mandatory tournaments held in the pristine arena of Hybora’s Pits. Thirteen years waiting for her chance for revenge. Thirteen years swallowing her hate, until it was all she could taste. Now at twenty three, she is ready for vengeance.
Though the vengeance she so richly deserves comes at a cost. The Upper’s are not what they seem, and Jessie’s revolt not only casts the spotlight on herself, but also those who make a stand to fight with her. Among those who will stand with her is her boyfriend, Jaxon.
Jaxon fell from grace more than four centuries ago in an effort to salvage what was left of humanity among the throngs of war.
Now, together they will lead an uprising that those in power will never see coming.

Nicole Daffurn is the author to Destinata, a book I read and reviewed earlier. Unfortunately, I liked that book better than this one. Why? Well, let’s begin . . .

I felt nothing for Jessie. I didn’t really get her emotional side and though I understood why she hated the world she lived in, I didn’t feel the passion in that hatred. There are times where you see the passion (a good example is the ball), but I didn’t really feel much for Jessie. I just couldn’t get into her as a character. She seemed to do a lot of running around and fighting, but it felt like she was a means to an end, not a main character.

Jaxon, on the other hand, seemed far more well thought out. I understood him and I felt for him. It is because of him that we learn the history of Hybora. Those were the scenes I liked the most. I could empathize with him and understand what was going on. The tie in to angels and wraiths was interesting.

I think a big part of my confusion was the beginning. The narration felt off and didn’t melt together until closer to a quarter of the story. We aren’t seeing the story just in third person, we are also given philosophical thoughts. It is that break in narration that made reading the book difficult. I couldn’t get into the characters (except for Jaxon).

The action is good though. There are quite a few fights and dramatic moments that can keep you interested. The concept of Daffurn’s world is interesting. I was confused at first, but during Jaxon’s flashbacks everything falls into place. It really was just getting to that point and my lack of connection with Jessie that I didn’t enjoy this book.

Does Daffurn write well? Yes. I liked Destinata and would definitely read more of that series. She has proven to be a good author to me. Courageous Souls just felt off the mark for me.

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