AUTHOR: Julie Reece
PUBLISHER: J. Taylor
PUBLICATION DATE: July 9, 2012
SOURCE: e-ARC from publisher
GENRE: urban fantasy
GIVE IT TO: Anyone! This book has mass appeal for guys and girls in MS, HS, and adults.
SUMMARY: Eighteen and homeless, Birdie has no idea her life is about to change forever when she follows a strange man with a large suitcase full of cash and the key to a mysterious safety deposit box. Now Birdie is fighting for her life alongside a gorgeous boy who may be giving up everything to help Birdie on her quest to destroy an ancient Viking amulet.
REVIEW: So here’s the thing: I usually know a 5-star book within the first couple of chapters. A 5-star book is, first and foremost, a page-turner. I have to care about the characters, who cannot annoy me or seem fake or typical. A 5-star book is unique and stands strong above books that are simply “good.” Five-star books do not have to be best-sellers, but they are written in such a way to appeal to any reader, despite his or her genre preference. Put simply, five-star books are storytelling magic.
Without a doubt, Crux is a solid 5-star book. I’ll be honest–urban fantasy is not a genre I’m crazy about. But when I started reading Crux on my Nook during a five-hour car trip, I was entranced from the very first page. I could not put it down! Birdie and love-interest Grey are some of the most-likeable characters I’ve met in recent reads; Birdie is tough, street-smart, funny, and knows herself well. She is beautiful but truly does not care–she has much bigger worries than her physical looks. Best of all, I actually liked her–she isn’t annoying AT ALL. Grey is her smokin’ hot counterpart who is adamant about joining Birdie on her journey, despite Birdie’s numerous objections and attempts to lose him. I love how Birdie truly seems to want Grey to go away for his own good; she does not pretend or make it easy for him to stay with her. She does what she does to protect his normal life, and, surprisingly, her motives and actions are totally believable.
The nonstop action is unpredictable. I really never knew what was coming next and constantly wondered if the three men chasing Birdie were simply three street thugs after her new money or if they were ancient warriors after the amulet. The Snatcher and the fate of Birdie’s homeless friend Shondra is another storyline that will keep readers guessing.
I honestly enjoyed every minute of this short-but-fabulous debut from Julie Reece. Sequel, please?
THE BOTTOM LINE: Action-packed with a memorable cast of characters, Crux will easily appeal to teen and adult readers, whether or not they love urban fantasy. The short length and quick pace will appeal to reluctant readers without sacrificing plot or dumbing-down the story.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: Oh, yeah, I’m so getting Crux for my MS library! Human sex trafficking is a major part of the story, but no sex acts or crude sexual talk take place in the story at all. Some MS librarians might object to the trafficking references, but really, the human trafficking serves mainly as one of the many threats Birdie faces in her life on the streets. No activity takes place beyond the violent kidnappings of attractive young girls. I also think the inclusion of the trafficking has the added bonus of showing potential runaways the reality of life on the streets for young girls.
READALIKES: Trafficked (Purcell)
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: none
- Sexuality: mild–some kissing; human sex trafficking is a major part of the story
- Violence: medium-high–lots of fighting and a few bloody deaths; girls kidnapped off the streets; gun violence
- Drugs/Alcohol: none