Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Review: Black Tiger by Sara Baysinger

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Title: Black Tiger

Author: Sara Baysinger

Series: Black Tiger #1

Genre: Dystopian/Science-Fiction

Audience: Young Adult - Adult


When the fire goes out, supposedly dead, the embers still remain, tiny specks of deadwood and ash that have the capacity to start a fire large enough to burn down an entire city.

Ember Carter is a sixteen-year-old farmer’s daughter who wants nothing more than to stay close to her family in the Community Garden when Career Day approaches. Unfortunately, all farming careers are given to boys, and besides, as of the past two years, all students have been drafted to the Line of Defenders to fight in a war no one seems to know about. When she meets Forest, the mysterious stranger who seems to know a bit too much about city life and the way the government is run, she’s even less eager to leave the safe haven of the Garden.

On Career Day, the future couldn’t look brighter when Ember is the only student assigned the career of a Farmer. But all hopes come to end when she attacks a Defender to save her best friend. Suspected a rebel and sentenced to death, she’s transferred to Frankfort Prison where she will carry out her sentence.

But Frankfort is full of surprises and snotty Patricians. While in prison, Ember learns a dark secret about Forest that makes her question what little she knew about him. And then there’s Rain,the carelessly handsome boy who enjoys instigating her just a bit too much. If that's not enough, the world learns something about Ember even she doesn’t know. A secret that brings her character into question, enlightens her on her mother’s true identity, and ultimately, gives her the power to affect the rise or fall of Ky.

With the handsome Forest tugging at her heart, and the rogue Rain whispering treasons into her ear, can Ember make the right decision that will redeem the corrupt government of Ky?

**5 stars**

This book. Deserves five stars. Fans of dystopian fiction, if you're searching for another thrilling read of that genre, look no further than Black Tiger by Sara Baysinger!

It's set in a fascinating futuristic world, akin to the DIVERGENT series, but unique in its own ways. Sixteen-year-old Ember Carter questions the ways of the government of Ky, (once known as Kentucky), but she can hardly speak out about it, because outside her home in the Garden, Defenders prowl, arresting anyone for words against the chief.
So as Career Day approaches, Ember stubbornly holds on to optimism, hoping that somehow she'll be chosen as a Farmer, and life will stay the same.
But she is Ember. And embers are meant to start fires.

Oh, how I love dystopian! After discovering Christian dystopian books, such as Nadine Brandes's OUT OF TIME series, I am constantly on the look out for more. And Black Tiger did not disappoint! The writing was fantastic - the words just grabbed a hold of me; pulled me in. It was so easy and intriguingly enjoyable to read. This book kept me on the edge of my seat, with surprising twists and turns. I thought the plot was great, having you wondering throughout the book ... breathless at the climax ... satisfied at the ending ... yet dying for Book Two! Very well done, Sara Baysinger! I loved this novel!

Something about Ember struck me as different from the mainstream fiction YA characters. She was more feeling; more soft inside. She was a blend of fieriness and fear. Determination and vulnerability. Anger and sensitivity. I really liked her, and look forward to reading the rest of her story!
Forest was first introduced as every YA hero seems to be. Breathtakingly handsome. (haha). I like him, but at the same time, I'm not sure I like him. (view spoiler)
Don't ask me why, but Rain is my favorite character. He came across as very real somehow; mysterious, but real. Passionate. Perhaps torn inside. Just a very complex character. I am really, really, really intrigued to see what happens next with him.

The romance-y stuff got a little frustrating for me, personally at times. But in the same breath, most of what happened was understandable. I am very interested to see where things go in the next book! (view spoiler)

The black tigers. EEEEE! They were simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. I literally felt the dread of them rushing through my veins.

Yes, the action, the thrills, the sheer adventure! There were royal balls, and there were prisons. Farmland holding apple trees and poor folk, and wealthy cities full of the powerful and proud. The characters were amazing. Intriguing. Black Tiger had/has me captivated.

The budding faith theme has my rapt attention. I'm excited to watch these characters discover their Creator. One quote I loved: "You are the Garden. God is the Sower."

A few cautions. I do recommend this book to about 18 and up, depending on what you're used of reading. There was a bit of mild language, and one or two crude phrases. Some things are mentioned and scenes described that are not suitable for a younger audience; (view spoiler). Also, the majority of the people of Ky have drinking habits that were a little uncomfortable for me. So yes, some of the content in Black Tiger was edgy, and demands a mature audience.
However, most of the characters in this book don't know God (yet); but even so, still see that what Ky calls "acceptable" and "entertainment" is truly evil and corrupt.
Some of the characters are confusing, but you have to keep reading to understand their actions.

I cannot wait for the second book to the BLACK TIGER series! Enthralling! Can hardly wait to see what's going to happen next! Ember, Rain, Forest, Elijah, and Jonah are on my mind and I'm thoroughly intrigued!

For those who love dystopian, Sara Baysinger has written a work of fiction that you do not want to miss!

(And isn't that cover fabulous? I need to get this book on my bookshelf!)

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