Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Tab Bennett and the Inbetween by Jes Young

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Title: Tab Bennett & the Inbetween
Author: Jes Young
Series: Princess of Twilight and Dawn, Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 1 May 2012

Lately Tab Bennett’s life is like a fairy tale. Unfortunately for her, it’s the Grimm kind. The kind where the woods are deep and dark and full of monsters; where a mother’s longing for something forbidden means terrible consequences for her daughter; where the huntsman who takes the princess for a walk in the woods plans to steal her heart – literally – right out of her chest.

Right up until the visions started, Tab would have described herself as normal. But her sisters’ disappearance brought long-hidden secrets into the light, revealing a world she never dreamed existed and a destiny she cannot deny. Now “normal” means wicked subterranean kings and murdered Elvish princesses and clandestine revenge schemes. Suddenly Tab is juggling her fiancĂ©’s broken heart and a handsome prince’s irresistible advances while trying to unravel an assassination plot, and avoid a sociopath with an axe to grind.

As she struggles to hold on to the human world she’s always known and understand her place in the magical one she’s just discovered, dangerous forces have begun gathering around her. If she wants to live to see the happily ever after at the end of the story, Tab will have to figure out who she can trust, who wants her dead, and why. The answers will change everything she believes about herself, the people she loves, and the place she calls home.

Tab Bennett & the Inbetween starts out with an incredibly fascinating scenario. Tab's sisters have been getting killed, one a month for the last three months. They disappear into the dark forest surrounding their familial home and Tab starts getting visions of their deaths. Only they don't come in time to save them, just to know when to go look for their bodies buried somewhere out there.

On the day of her last sister's funeral the world as Tab knows it comes crashing down around her. Everything changes. She finds out that she's not just a young woman working at a bank, with a bunch of family, but the story starts to unfold that she's got a much larger place in a world she never knew existed. In fact, she's princess of the Light elves.

I have to admit that at this point I started to lose a bit of interest. Prior to this it was interesting and intriguing. I thought we'd spend a lot of time trying to figure out what was happening, who was killing her sisters, who was hunting her, and how – or if – she was going to integrate back into the world of the elves. Unfortunately, the opposite occurs because when Tab shows up at the funeral with her finace she's suddenly drawn to another male, going so far as to make out with him on the porch in front of everyone. Thus started the love-triangle that I didn't know was coming. (Yes, I know it's in the blurb, but I hadn't read the blurb in its entirety.)

I have a bit of a bias against love-triangles. I think since Twilight they've been overdone – every young adult, and a good portion of adult, novels have one. I'm tired of reading them. They're manufactured drama and angst, usually. I was pleasantly surprised that this love triangle was handled a bit differently than others I've read. Tab and her fiancĂ©, Robbin, practically grew up together, their love was steady and constant. The mysterious elvish prince – Alex – has been betrothed to Tab since she was born and an enchantment laid to help them get past the 'getting-to-know-you' stage. Understandably, Tab has some problems with this enchantment leading her where she isn't sure she wants to go. I liked that aspect of it. Tab really spent time thinking about this, and trying to make sure it was her decision where her heart ended up.

Now, my problem with the love triangle is two-fold: essentially this became the entire story. We spent all but a maximum of 20 pages (out of 300) reading about Tab having opposing feelings for Robbin and Alex, learning new rules and her history in piecemeal, and basically being under house arrest. Any action there was occurred off-page – until the end of the book, where we were given about 5 pages in a row of the entire talk to battle sequence. Also, Tab seemed to waffle between the two never wanting to make a decision for the entire book, when even I could see the right decision staring her in the face

I had some problems with some word choices – most notably We and They when talking about the Light and Dark elves. Here's a couple example sentences: "I'm certain it's one of We." or "I want to be the one to make him suffer, not They."

This felt like a build-up to the main story which is apparently coming in the rest of the trilogy, and I think this could have been tightened some more. However, Tab Bennett & the Inbetween is a very well written novel, and very easily readable. If you're looking for something light quick, and with some explosive chemistry between two characters, then definitely pick up this book.

Grade: C-

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