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Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: Dazzle (Delaney's Gift #1) by Amber Garza


Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Amazon Digital Services

From Goodreads.com: Sixteen-year-old Delaney Scott possesses a special gift. Ever since she was a child she has known about her calling and the duty she’s expected to fulfill.
However, all Delaney wants is to be normal. That’s why she is drawn to Sam. He can offer her the life she’s always desired. Only Sam has secrets of his own.
Secrets that are deadly. Secrets that can change everything.


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 My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was a book that I was able to download for free during one of my "Ohhh Amazon freebie hoarder sprees". As I'm sure you know as a reader yourself, sometimes even when the premise is good, you still get burned by the book. However... this was NOT the case for Dazzle.

There are a lot of things that the premise leaves out; the God-like ruler of Edenly called Zerach, the tattoos the mysteriously appear on his followers (of which Delaney is one), the threat of war with the Sarafites which looms ever closer, the fact that Delaney isn't the only one with a "special gift", and the most engaging fact of all, that underneath everything... the characters in this book are just kids. They are sixteen years old, and have already seen and done things that most would never dream of. And few things in their life are of their own choosing. 

Because the premise leaves so much out, I feel it is only fair that I do something I rarely do, and that is provide you with my own "account" or "summary" of the story.

Basically, Micah and Delaney have grown up together, are are now best friends. She has the gift of premonition, and he has super-human strength. Together, they use their gifts to help others, all the while Delaney longs to be normal, while Micah seems to embrace his gift and is actively looking for others like them (it is said there are 10). The book begins with them rescuing a girl named Ariel, who was once like them, but has lost the use of her powers. At first Ariel wants nothing to do with either of them, but eventually, circumstances force them into forming an unlikely bond. 

Delaney is weary of Ariel, convinced that she is hiding something from them, however Michah's feelings for her complicate matters as he also has feelings for Delaney.. who may or may not be sneaking around with a boy that is only using her to gain what he wants himself, for a time anyway.

Of course, I'm not able to capture everything the way Ms. Garaza does, but that should just entice you to enter her world for yourself. I found myself completely drawn in by her works. I could not only picture the characters and their locations, but I felt that I knew them. The author did a wonderful job with giving the whole town a back-story in the form of "the first war" and the legends surrounding the people that now inhabit it. I admired the fact that she not only acknowledged the Ekloge Warriors in one part of the book, but she also made their "legend" an open fact for the "evil" side of the story as well.  

There were many surprises to be found, as well as some character growth, but everything felt real to me. The surprises flowed as part of the story (and in fact added to the story), while the character growth seemed completely plausible to me.

Dazzle does bounce around between three different main characters (Delaney, Micah and Sam), but it was done in such a way that I was never left wondering just whose POV I was experiencing. The characters were all different, well developed without coming across as "perfect", and I found myself actually caring about them. It seemed as though all of the major players had a secret, and that made me wonder.. what was their leader Zerach hiding? What about the Sarafite leader? It seems to me that they would both have secrets from the "first war" that they did not want coming to light, and I hope that they become more evolved in the next book. 

Full of twists and turns, and (at least for me) unanswered questions like who will Dalaney ultimately choose, how close is this war to becoming a reality & who is the traitor the legend speaks about, Dazzle kept me on the edge of my seat eager to learn what happens next.

I will warn you that the ending of Book #1 does end on a major cliffhanger, but I felt that it was befitting the story. I have already gotten my copy of Book #2 in this series entitled Glimmer, and I can't wait to delve into that and find out what happens next! 



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Dazzle (Delaney's Gift #1) is available from Amazon.com

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