Monday, August 26, 2019

Escape by Annabelle Jacobs Blog Tour

This isn’t the life Cole dreamt of, but what choice does he have?

With his twenty-fifth birthday behind him, Cole Moreton now faces the shifter compatibility test which will decide his future. Testing positive means joining a pack and eventually taking the bite. Unfortunately, with enviable skills in self-defence and hand-to-hand combat, the kind of packs interested in him aren’t any he’d want to join.

Logan has been a member of the McKillan pack for most of his life. Pack is family and loyalty is everything, but when the shifter government turns out to be no better than the oppressive humans before them, he questions everything.

Right from their first meeting, Logan knows that a life with the McKillan pack isn’t right for Cole, but with his alpha taking a keen interest in Cole’s skills, Logan’s hands are tied. Mutual attraction builds between them, but acting on it is futile—helping Cole will put their lives at risk and an end to any future they could’ve had.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a creepy, action-packed dystopian thriller set in London. In the not too distant future, humans are ruled and controlled by shifter packs. When 25-year-old Cole takes his mandatory Shifter Compatibility Tests, he is faced with terrifying options for his future. To escape, Cole is forced to place his trust in Logan, the shifter tasked with easing him into the McKillan Pack. The result is a terrifying game of cat and mouse as Logan attempts to help Cole to safety.

This is an exciting read. I’m not always a fan of dystopian writing but I really loved the world building here. I also love the familiar UK setting. I’m not sure if this is futuristic or set in a parallel now, but I enjoyed the nods to current and historic events. Some scenes made me reflect on current politics while others reminded me of the Resistance in WW2 or the Underground Railway in America.

It took time for me to warm to the characters in this book, mostly because they all need to work hard to blend in to survive their oppressive shifter government. At the start, Cole and Logan are both deliberately bland and beige and it isn’t until they start taking risks that they begin to feel more like individuals. By the end, I really loved them both and they are both interesting enough characters to carry the series. While this is marketed as m/m romance, there really isn’t much romance in the book. It’s a dystopian thriller. I really enjoyed this first book and I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Escape is the debut in a new series by Annabelle Jacobs, Rebellion.

With a mix of dystopian and urban fantasy, Escape had a dark, hopeless vibe, which had me turning the pages at a rapid pace.

At the start, we get a small prologue showing the events that led to the current administration. Shifters were the minority, held under what was essentially a police state. With an uprising to even the balance, it pitched the opposite direction, with the humans being held under a police state, with the shifters in power. Opposite ends of the same atrocity.

Twenty-three-year-olds are forced to be tested to see if they're compatible to be changed into a shifter. Bitten. Then they are affiliated with packs, which hold varying amounts of power, as well as contribute to different parts of the governmental structure.

Cole is terrified, as it's a one-in-four chance of having the gene, with his parents and two siblings testing negative. The odds weren't on his side, as he was terrified of becoming a monster. Having tested high in the martial arts and weaponry, Cole knew he would be enlisted into the most cruel sector, where they patrolled/controlled the humans, and if the rumors were correct, he would be forced to take the bite.

Logan is a recruiter, the one who touches base with those who test positive, making sure they're placed where they best fit, signing the contract.

Cole and Logan's lives collide, showcasing how dark and hopeless their lives are on each side, both human and shifter.

What I want to applaud Annabelle Jacobs for is the world building. Solid, easy to understand, a fully formed world, with structures explained in a non-info-dump fashion, unfolding organically as the story was told.

Dark and depressive, a hopeless air that lent perfectly to a rebellion. The pacing was swift, unraveling all the reader needed to know, ending on a slight cliffhanger as the setup for the sequel.

The reason I couldn't pass out a five-star rating is simply because the character development and the romantic entanglement suffered with how thorough the world building was presented. Honestly, I preferred the world building being explained to the character building.

While I adore slow-burn, I wouldn't call it slow-burn between Logan and Cole, because of how very little they share page-time together. So that connection for me was missing. Lust, I could understand. But even though it was near the end of the novel, declarations of love felt out of place and too soon, because of how very little they interacted with one another prior to that to build the foundation necessary.

Highly recommend to fans of the author and those looking for something different, with a solid world building structure, bridging the gap between dystopian and urban fantasy.

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They're usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Escape (Rebellion #1) by Annabelle Jacobs to read and review for this tour.

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