Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Tour Review + Giveaway: Path Unchosen - Kim Cleary

Hello, and welcome to our stop on the Path Unchosen by Kim Cleary book tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours!

Path Unchosen
Path Unchosen
Kim Cleary
Series: Daughter of Ravenswood #1
Genre: Dark Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: September 7, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Sometimes good
On Goodreads On Amazon

About the book:

When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees first-hand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she just wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, but that’s a challenge when a beautiful otherworldly man, who claims to be her guardian, saves her life.

Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on a spirit she raised, but new zombies attack—zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he’s not trying to set anything right. To save her own life, and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy has to figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her—a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.


To begin, the premise of this book is insane. Massive props to Kim Cleary for taking on such a complex setting. I've changed my mind a lot throughout this book so just don't even consider my Stuffed Animal Saturday post about it. That Marlon was a different man.

The best:

Evelyn the Ghost and Lyken the Imp are two minor characters I sorely wish were explored more or at least were in the piece more. Basically most of the minor characters who's names you remember are going to be the ones who matter. Here's a snippet:
"I killed my unborn baby." Her voice took on a steely edge. "I don't deserve peace." (85 on eArc)
In a world of monsters and magic, this dead lady has taken her grieving beyond the grave. Her pain is raw in everything she does and she's just so real despite being a ghost. Well done Cleary. But Judy does not develop when helping this woman . . . she just kind of accepts things. I would have liked to see her get angry, have temper . . . at least be consistent with the way she is otherwise. I would have liked to see some real exposition between these two because Judy could have matured so much by the ideas that surround Evelyn, which are subtle and that's great but not for Judy. Judy needs to learn, the whole point of the book is Judy coming to terms with herself and her powers and growing . . . the minor characters don't have to just be good one liners and ideas, they can have substance and strong influence on the main character.

The good:

There is a smooth plot. Events around the middle to the end of the book are not at all hard to follow, and I didn't have to question authenticity in most of the later decisions.

The writing style is fairly decent:
"A calm but urgent desire washed over me. The space between us popped and crackled" (78) is alright.
I am a fan of the descriptions that Judy employs for her emotions, especially when she relates them to fire and water back to back, a dichotomy I like and I hope will be fleshed out later on.

The dialogue moves the story along fine, and though it's often dry at times, it only needs a little touching up.
"What is it with you two? He's kind to me, sweet and thoughtful."
Glynn huffed. "Only because you have something he wants.
"I don't believe that."
. . .
"Believe what you want. You aren't a kid anymore."

Reason number 401 I like Glynn. He takes just about zero crap.

The not so good:

With such a premise, one can do absolutely anything in the world on the note that everything in said world is beyond screwed up anyway. With that said, this story can fall short. Not because those things aren't done . . . some are . . . but the beginning is so absolutely confusing. Please, please if this is going to be a published work make the beginning far more explicit than it is. Overload us with background information if you have to. I loved what was happening but I had no idea why anything was happening until ghosts began to be raised. Is she a witch? Why exactly does Judy need to leave the orphanage? If this is a zombie-aftermath, why is the social structure so sensibly 20th century? Shouldn't there be a bit more edgy moral bits?

Then Judy . . . Judy is only interesting because we don't know things about her. And that is no reason to turn pages for a character. I don't care about her mysterious past or how amazingly special she is if she isn't relateable or she doesn't make me think or something. She's just, contrary to Glynn's statement above, just a kid. Judy is immature and that needs to change and if it does, basically all of her other problems dissolve. This doesn't present itself too much and I suppose it could be an effect of being in an orphanage for most of her conscious life but still . . . why not just make her fourteen or fifteen if that's the way she's going to act and think? For instance, she hears about a dangerous situation around ninety pages in about a zombie. Her first thought? Well fuck, I've got to go stop that zombie? Why? Hell, I don't know, It'll probably work out. Besides, cute guys.

She can be undeniably superficial, as she falls in love because of the way he looks at her. Really? Love is around three parts respect, three parts trust, and a little less ooh undress me with those eyes.
Another reason I like Glynn? He puts her in her place.
"Our eyes connected. This was serious, and it wasn't about me." (91)
When he's around she actually begins to think seriously about consequences and her importance in the world.

Overall I don't have much to say about this book other than a noncommittal shrug and a wish for a sequel that truly indulges in all of the books upsides and the vast potential that is conferred by its premise and the characters. It is okay and it can be so much better with just small tweaks in the right direction.

- Marlon

About the author:

Kim writes urban fantasy for anyone who longs to discover they are extraordinary. She writes about hopefulness and determination, and about heroes who push through extraordinary situations and obstacles, one step at a time. Magical friends and gorgeous guys help, or hinder, in one adventure after another.

When not writing, revising, or thinking about writing, Kim gardens, plays with her dog, chats on social media, catches up with friends or cooks an Indian feast. She is a member of Writers Victoria, Romance Writers of Australia, The Alliance of Independent Authors, and a certified chocoholic.

Kim grew up in Birmingham, UK, studied medieval history and psychology at Adelaide University in South Australia and has worked all over Australia and in London. She now lives with her husband and an adorable Cocker Spaniel in Melbourne, Australia.

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Zombies or ghosts? Or Witches? Or the ghost of witch zombies?
Let us know in the comments!

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