Friday, March 3, 2017

Feature Friday ARC Review : Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

*Feature Friday is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to feature YA books that have not yet been released by reviewing them.

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release DateApril 4, 2017
Pages: 384
Source: ARC

The Story:

"Everywhere I go, I leave a trail of dead bodies. My parents died fighting to stop the darkness. I'll keep fighting too, even if it means I have to die. Dying's not half as hard as being left behind, anyway...

Evil is real. We are at war. Anyone who tells you differently is lying."

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she's never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that's now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she'll continue her parents' fight or stay behind to save her friends.

With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she's not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn't as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.
via Amazon


My Review

Blink generously emailed me offering to let me review  Toward a Secret Sky in which I gladly accepted.  

Tag Line:

Trust not your eyes.

Opening Line:

I was okay until they started lowering my mother's casket into the ground.


I really did not know what to expect going into Toward a Secret Sky. I wanted to be mostly surprised so I only skimmed part of the blurb. 

Young Adult. 

Secret agency.

Murder and mystery.

Hot guy.

The setting of the novel is in Scotland which is awesome! A teen girl, Maren Hamilton, loses her mom and has to move to the other side of the world to live with her estranged grandparents -- who she's never met and lives in Scotland. Where a whole new world unleashes. 

Marne's mother wasn't who she thought she was . . . Her grandparents may or may not love or care about her.  . . Her life is in danger. . . And the supernatural is real . . .

The pacing of the story is a bit erratic. At first the story moves quickly. Maren's mother's funeral, move to Scotland, meets mean, hot, mysterious guy. 

"I'll see you around?" I called after him.
"Hopefully not," he muttered.
The words hit me like tiny daggers. "What?" - page 55 

Then it slows down. Nothing really happens. The readers are told Maren is in trouble and there is evil near ... but not not much actually happens. Then the pace kick-starts and we jump to a different city and there death, proclamations and major decisions . . . then there is heartbreak and loss and we are left on a cliffhanger.

What had I done in a past life to deserve so much heartbreak in this one? - page 148

The writing was decent; definitely some noteworthy, swoony lines that gave me heart-eyes. Mean as Gavin, the otherworldly mercenaries was, the guy knew how to tell a girl how he felt!

"Because you're you," Gavin answered softly. "There's no one else like you on the planet. You're beautiful, charming, clever . . . I'd do anything for you." -page 342

The characters are well enough fleshed out. Maren starts closed-off and alone. By the end of the story she has a family, friends and love. She is strong, clever and true to herself. And I was able to connect with her character -- always a plus! Gavin has the gift of the gab, fierce and more than meets the eye. And I will let you meet the other key characters on your own;) However, I feel like the world-building could use a little improvement. Maren moves to Scotland but I did not feel like I was in Scotland with her. It felt like she was still back in the States. 

All in all, I did enjoy the story of Toward a Secret Sky - although it could use some tweaking. Maclean can tell a story and I look forward to reading the sequel. The story ended on such a breathtaking cliffhanger and I am dying to see how it continues.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from 
Toward a Secret Sky: 

Gavin stood motionless, held by invisible restraints. I could no longer feel him, as if he were made of air. He moved his mouth, but no sound came out. I read his lips: "I love you. I love you. I love you." -page 378

Meet the Author:

NYT bestselling author of books about science, food & reality TV nonsense. Princeton grad, Disney princess, Scotland obsessed. Visit Heather at or @HeatherMaclean

***Check out Heather Maclean's website for more information about her and Toward a Secret SkyHERE

Happy Reading!


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