Author: Jennifer Jenkins
Release date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.
Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.
What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
Electrifying and intense and instantly and completely captivating, NAMELESS is one of those reads that will make you race through the pages to find out what’s going to happen next. With a fascinating new world to discover, one that is primitive, harsh, brutal, and intriguing new characters to meet who are fierce and determined and deadly, some of whom are cruel and others who are compassionate, you will be immediately pulled into the story and you’ll never want the journey to end.
Zo was determined to help the Allies, even if it meant sacrificing herself. While she knew she might be able to get beyond the wall of Ram’s Gate, she held out no hope of getting back out. But it would be worth it if she could discover anything about her enemy that could be used to help take them down.
She was the Allies’ best chance of getting inside. Her abilities as a Healer would hopefully make her useful enough to the Ram to keep her alive long enough to fulfill her mission. And it might have worked.
If only she hadn’t let her rage blind her, she would have known that the two people who cared most about her wouldn’t let her go so easily. While she was more than willing to risk her own life to avenge her parents’ deaths, she would never have risked her sister Tess’s life or her best friend Gabe’s.
Now with something to lose she’d have to be careful. She couldn’t take any unnecessary chances. She couldn’t risk being discovered as anything other than one of the nameless. And she’d have to find a way to do the impossible – to get herself and her sister back over the wall.
Jennifer Jenkins immerses readers into her story right from the start. There is no long lead up to Zo putting her plan into action. There is no lengthy backstory to slow the pace. She brings the action, the suspense, the intrigue from the get-go.
She keeps readers riveted by making them curious to know more about the nameless, more about what made Zo so vengeful, what made the Ram so aggressive, how they got so powerful, whether Zo will succeed or if she’ll fail. She lets her story unfold from not just Zo’s perspective, but from that of another incredibly appealing character, Gryphon, who is brave, powerful, loyal, determined, but also merciful and conflicted.
And she introduces a heartfelt romance that is not of the “insta-love” variety, she builds the foundation for a much expanded world in later books in the series, she teases bits and pieces of information about the other clans, and she reveals hidden plots, sympathizers, and allies, making for an interesting and engaging and unputdownable read.
NAMELESS is powerful and surprising and unexpected. It tackles a number of issues that mirror real-life issues that have arisen throughout the history of the world – starvation, genocide, enslavement, sacrifice, the cost of retaliation, doing whatever it takes to survive. It explores the many facets of human nature. It shows opposing perspectives, giving readers a more complete picture in order that they might be more understanding and sympathetic.
It has a number of strong characters that are immensely likable. It’s set in a world that is cold-blooded, severe, ruthless but still allows for kindness and beauty. It’s a story that is beautiful and breathtaking and one that is absolutely not to be missed.
Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.
About Jennifer Jenkins
With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).