September 10, 2015
Don’t forget! There’s a fun scavenger hunt that’s part of this blog tour. Martina is releasing at least one new download each day! Visit each blog to find their code to unlock the the unique download and for more chances to win! You can find the full list of tour stops on the Tour Home Page.
For today’s codeword, keep reading below, and find the CODEWORD in all caps. You’ll find the instructions on what to do with that codeword down below as well!
The cover for Compulsion, the first novel in author Martina Boone’s Heirs of Watson Island series, alone was enough to catch my attention. Those gold tones were gorgeous and it was all in all, a total case where I judged a book by its cover. After all, looking as beautiful as it does, there was just no way that the story told on its pages would be anything less than great. I can say that, after having finished Compulsion, I was incredibly surprised by what I found in the storyline and plot. It’s a well-written Southern Gothic that is set in a very unique world, telling a story that tests the limits between romantic and familial love.
After her mother, Lula, dies, our protagonist Barrie decides to return to her mother’s childhood home in the form of Watson Island. Barrie doesn’t know why her mother ran away from home with her father when she was a child, but she soon learns about the woman her mother used to be. Young. Beautiful. Carefree. Popular. All words that could have described Lula before the fire that ruined her appearance when she was pregnant with Barrie. Upon arriving on Watson Island and her family’s plantation, Barrie meets her mother’s sister, Pru, and a mysterious boy named Eight. The town is abuzz with news of Lula’s daughter returning, and with it, old secrets come to light. Barrie discovers that the three founding families of Watson Island were all born with magical gifts—ones that she has also received. But Barrie soon finds that an ancient curse has been placed on her family and that it will take everything she and Eight have in order to break the curse, and come out of this alive.
My absolute favorite thing about Compulsion had to be the novel’s setting. You can tell that there was a lot of thought put into Watson Island. From the town’s backstory, to its founding, to its current state—everything about Watson Island is amazing. The amount of detail that went into describing the setting made it easy to imagine it while the novel’s conflict begins to unfold. Boone does a fantastic job of writing Watson Island in such a way that readers can immediately tell that the town—no matter how quaint it might be—has its fair share of dark history and darker mysteries.
As for the characters in Compulsion, I actually enjoyed Barrie’s character a lot more than I originally imagined I would. At first, I assumed that she would be a Mary Sue, but was surprised to find that Barrie was one of the most realistic characters I have gotten to read in YA. Her decisions are rational. Everything Barrie did, I cheered her on for doing. She’s a very real character who I think plenty of young readers will be able to relate to. She can be witty. She can be hot-headed. And she can become totally badass when she has to deal with facing the secrets that her family has kept buried down for so long. She’s a protagonist who I won’t soon forget.
Then there’s Eight. Eight who is described as the kind of boy every girl daydreams about. He was one of my favorite characters in the novel based on his dialogue alone. He is a bit of an alpha male, and he does come off as controlling from time to time. But it is good to know that he does have his softer moments. I don’t know what it was about the way Boone wrote him, but what really sold his character to me was his wit. The romance between him and Barrie did feel a bit ‘insta-lovey’ at times, but it slowly started to grow on me.
The only problem that I had with Compulsion was the pacing. I felt that there were a lot of scenes that just dragged on, and on, and on, and left my attention wandering. There were places where I would hope a chapter would end and continue on to something new and more exciting, but didn’t. Overall, I felt that there were bits and pieces of the novel that could have easily been shortened or removed, and it did impact my experience with the novel somewhat.
I would recommend Compulsion to readers who are fans of the Beautiful Creatures series. Seriously, the similarities between the two novels are uncanny and if you loved one, you’ll probably TREASURE the other. Any readers who are big fans of urban fantasy and Southern Gothics should also give Compulsion a read. Also, any readers who are interested in a novel that is balanced between teen fiction and fantasy, should also give it a go.
COMPULSION by Martina Boone
October 28, 2014, Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Family, Legends, Myths, Fables, Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.
All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.
Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.