Author: Eliza Crewe
Series: Soul Eater, #1
Release: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Meet Meda. She eats people.Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it.
Well, well, those Strange Chemistry people just keep throwing these little gems at us! It’s the only imprint that has yet to disappoint me in any way and Cracked is another one of their successes waiting to happen – funny, thought provoking, surprising and surprisingly heartbreaking, it is a great beginning to what promises to be a fabulous new series.
So many YA authors avoid taking risks at all costs, choosing to rely on tested recipes and roads well-traveled instead, but Eliza Crewe cannot be counted among them. The opening scene of Cracked, with Meda in an asylum preparing to eat the soul of a vicious murderer, sets the tone for the rest of the book. Cracked is bold and daring and above all, different, all due to Meda’s distinctive voice and her moral ambiguity. Meda has hardly any redeeming qualities. She is blood-thirsty, self-centered and just a tiny bit evil, but somehow Crewe made her likeable anyway so that, even when her actions make us cringe, we can’t help but laugh at her antics and her witty comments.
I’ve always known I’m a monster. My skin is as tough as sheet metal, my bones are almost impossible to break. I can run faster and jump higher than any Olympian. My strength is unreal. And let’s not forget, I eat people…
Crewe has the teen language down to a T, which gives Meda’s voice additional authenticity and spark. She cannot be mistaken for an older character, and her sarcasm combined with the typical teen wit and sharpness give her an original voice that will cause you to laugh yourself into stitches.
Demons and Templars aren’t new in YA, but Crewe offers a slightly different take. Although just a touch too juvenile at times, the worldbuilding is well structured and rich enough to give the story a very distinctive flavor. Cracked hides quite a few surprises along the way, things I never saw coming and some I suspected but was unsure of. In addition, Crewe has a talent for making pretty standard characters seem new and fully fleshed-out. All this makes Cracked a must read; while it doesn’t offer astounding depth, the entertainment value is practically immeasurable.
Eliza Crewe is a promising young writer who dares to take risks, already a force to be reckoned with. Read Cracked, and then join me in comfort-eating muffins and desperately begging for the sequel. Not because Cracked ends with a cliffhanger – it doesn’t – but because it’s just so darn fun.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.