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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Annexed by Rebecca McKinnon

Friends or family?
Desire or responsibility?
She thought she'd made her choice.

Now, finding herself trapped in a world splintered from her own, Narissa is determined to return home. Learning that the means of crossing between realities has been lost, she vows to find the elusive gateway.

Narissa doesn't plan to make friends. She certainly doesn't intend to fall in love.

Faced with the decision, will she choose the life she wants, or return to the world where she belongs?

This book had a very interesting premise to it. Narissa is a teenage girl, uprooted from her troubled home life and annexed into another realm called The Refuge. Here, a small plot of Utopia is runned by The Council and life is much simpler. While trying to find a way back home to her younger sister, Narissa emerses herself into The Refuge, becoming a type of 'foster child' to a loving family and undertaking certain responsibilities in the town. Unbeknownst to her, Narissa begins falling in love with life at The Refuge, along with a certain council member, that makes her decision to stay or leave that much harder.

I really enjoyed the originality of Annexed. The book was very creative as it centered around this alternate universe, reminiscent of The Village. At the Refuge, life is much simpler and people (for the most part) much kinder. However, the Council is very involved with the everyday runnings of its people, instilling unnatural fears, such as swimming in open water and internet access, into the town as an undermining way of controlling them. Its a very seedy government that opens a lot of questions to the reader and leaves you wondering what they are trying to hide.

I appreciated how the main character, Narissa, was bold enough to stand up to the Council. Personally, I would have expected anyone to be cowering in fear after being transported to the Refuge, but Narissa holds fast to her own beliefs and isn't one to be bullied. She's definitely a strong character with even stronger beliefs. I found it a little questionable how easily Narissa adapted to her new life in the Refuge however. With such a drastic life change, it seemed a bit unrealistic how fluid the transition was for her. Its hard to believe anyone could be THAT strong.

The relationships Narissa builds with other characters was executed perfectly. Particularly the progression between Narissa and her love interest Damon. Everyone knows that one of my greatest pet peeves is insta-love, so it was refreshing to see Narissa and Damon build their relationship first. It was really sweet to pick up on the small clues of Damon's feelings while reading Annexed, such as him building Narissa a desk and decorating her work space. It was like being a new relationship myself: denying the other person's feelings at first and then having that big 'ahaa' moment when he reveals his true feelings.

This book has definitely been one of my favorite Indie reviews so far. The story is engrossing and well planned so that every detail has its own purpose. There is plenty of romance, mystery, and emotion tucked away in the pages of Annexed that is sure to fill any book lover's imagination. The creativity and originality of the story is inspiring and leaves the door wide open for a thrilling series.

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