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Asunder - Jodi Meadows Final rating: 3.5 stars

The strongest asset of this series is its originality. No joke, the premise of this series is one of the most mind-blowing and unique out there that I've encountered yet, and by the time I turned the last page of the previous installment, I was shivering with excitement and wishing, at the same time, that I was the one who thought of it first. But well, I didn't, so I'm sincerely glad that Ms. Jodi Meadows did, because she has written an excellent novel. With her outstanding storytelling and prose, she was able to create an all new fantasy world full of possibilities and wonders, a world I didn't have any problem immersing myself in.

It therefore comes as a no wonder that when I acquired this book, I was both expectant and nervous. High expectations, because, well, I had faith in Ms. Meadows' writing prowess; but I couldn't help but feel a tint of nervousness as well because most sequels oftentimes become mediocre, or find themselves falling short of their predecessors - a situation that is common in middle books of most series.

Thankfully, Asunder did not see itself fall into that abyss.

Granted, I've only given it three stars. While it is true that it failed to meet or transcend Incarnate, at least in my opinion, it wasn't mediocre by any means. The interesting mystery aspect, coupled with the author's innate talent of weaving a captivating and compelling storyline and fantasy settings, proved the second book consistent and enjoyable. However, it's far from fabulous. Just like any other book, there were strong and weak points, and I shall put those that I deem positive and negative in a list for your convenience.

Negatives first. These are what annoyed/bothered me:

* Ana going philosophical in some instances made me want to pull my hair out and gouge my eyes with a spatula. She was questioning whether or not she was capable of loving someone, because her no-good mother, Li, told her Newsouls were not capable of doing so. However, it was very obvious she cared for Sam. They kiss each other every 5 pages, they think of each other most of the time, she needs him near her. How can that not be love? But every time the latter tells her his adoration and his feelings, she'd go, Wow, he loves me! How is that possible? Should I tell him I love him, too? But how am I sure I do love him? Li told me I couldn't love, that it's impossible. No, I can't love, but what is this am I feeling? Um, gee, I don't know, love? T_T

* Ana and Sam's yawnfest "romance". At the start of the book, they were already in the kissing stage, that I was smothered and violated with kissing scenes left and right. Oh, something fell to the ground. But before I get to that, let's kiss first! *smooch* *smooch* *smooch* Oh, whoops! We were so busying drowning in our own saliva we overcooked our food! Oh, well! *smooch* *smooch*. Seriously, their love for each other was so boring I think my lips got an inch wider from all that yawning. As previously stated, she was questioning whether or not it was love she was feeling and if she was capable of it, and Sam, on the other hand, was hesitant of going further because she was maybe too young for his 5000 year old soul. Oh, please. Just get on with it already. Nothing really big or explosive happens between them, and it gets a tad bit old.

* The pacing and escalation of events were too slow. I love the internal narration. I swear, I could eat spoonfuls of it if I could. But in this book, I couldn't help but feel that Ana's constant wallowing in self-doubt, as well as her whining on how Newsouls should be given rights as well, were too dragging. All right, I get it. This guy and that guy are bad, they hate newsouls, but it's really no use to keep on repeating it ten times over...

These three really made the read a bit of a struggle. However, thankfully, there were a couple of positive factors, too, that made the book enjoyable. They are as follows:

* The mystery aspect as well as the twists and turns were phenomenal. After enduring Ana's whiny monologues here and there, I was rewarded with more progression with regards to the storyline and worldbuilding. We learn more about the past, and how the world came to be the way it is. For certain, it was an explanation I did not expect, but I welcomed it nonetheless because it was very fitting and controversial.

* As I have said, Meadows has a knack for writing personal and intimate internal narration, and she did not disappoint here. Even though Ana pissed me off more times than I can count, I can't deny that the prose was intricately weaved and fabulously written. I just wish there were less monologues about the same thing over and over again. Hopefully in the succeeding books, she'll try to make the plot and storyline more engaging and repetitive, and make it more explosive and philosophical. And by philosophical, I don't mean the "How can he love me? Do I really love him?" bullshit. It would be interesting if she could somehow touch on the topic of immortality and its affects on humanity and the universe as a whole. I'd love to read that!

Overall, this is a decent second book. Ana became a stronger and more focused person, but her pseudo-philosophical moments made me want to go HULK, SMASH!!! on everything. It really depreciated my reading experience. HOWEVER, if you don't mind those instances, and actually enjoy those, then I reckon this will be a favorable read to you. The progress in the storyline and the mystery that surround Range is extraordinary and would leave you breathless and at the edge of your seat. Despite my complaints, I am still looking forward to the third book, which will hopefully portray a better Ana.

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