- Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin
Foreign to You by Jeremy MartinHot
Ruthless hunter Finn Hail and prophesied liberator Adelaide may be heroes to their own species, but they are enemies to each other. With war on the horizon, the reluctant pair must team up to find the most elusive of prey: the god of the Forest.
As enemies press in from all sides, true intentions begin to show. For Finn to save the boy he cares for most, he might need to aim his gun at the very god he seeks. And Adelaide, with her festering hatred for mankind, will have to determine if peace holds true salvation for her people.
Let me start with the basics. The POV, the tense, the characterisation, and the writing style were everything I could have wanted in this book. The writing style was right up my alley, and beautiful enough to be evocative while giving us all the detail, attention, and information we could want. The world building was solid and smart, giving background information not in info dumps but only as and when they were relevant or necessary.
When it comes to the story, I was instantly intrigued. I've been on a huge YA kick for the last few months and this story perfectly fitted everything I want and need in a YA novel. It had a hint of romance, a sprinkle of intrigue, a pinch of action and a whole lot of adventure. All wrapped up in characters who were clever, original, and well fleshed out. Even minor and secondary characters were unique and intriguing. (And, I won't lie – I'm still hoping for a miracle that will make the twins die a very slow, very painful death in book 2) I found the atmosphere created in the first few chapters engaging and captivating, while the characters really drove the story, for me. I was immediately sucked into their trials and experiences, always wondering what would happen next.
I also have to give a shout out to the 'bad guy' of the story – Garth. For a villain, he was a great force of motion for the story. Sometimes bad guys fail to be truly evil or corrupt, but Garth had that unassuming quality of appearing stupid and 'all brawn, no brain', yet he was constantly clever enough to be a few steps ahead of Finn, and to stop and appreciate an opportunity when it came to him. I really liked that. The added dynamic of having Garth control – for want of a better word – the twins, who were also pretty evil, was genius. There was a constant wonder of which – between Garth and Hazel – was the true power and who would emerge victorious over the other.
I don't want to say too much about the plot itself, because I truly think this is one book you need to read, to experience and understand it for yourself. However, I can admit that by 60% I was already looking forward to re-reading it when book two releases, and wondering over how the plot would continue into a second novel. Then that ending hit me – so clever and so unexpected – and I knew that this would be an entire series worth re-reading, time and again.
I fell in love with Finn. Then I lost my heart to Jay. And, in the end, there was nothing to save me from being wholly and completely destroyed by this beautiful story.
Let me also just add my appreciation for the underlying issues that mirror life in today's world. They weren't in my face, like they can be when trying to make a point. Instead, the story managed to convey themes of gender, race, religion, faith, trust, loyalty, sexuality and stereotypes, all challenged and explored unobtrusively throughout the novel's underlying themes. I never felt bogged down by the implications of those things, because they were so cleverly woven into the world building and characterisation. The fact that I noticed them but didn't feel oppressed by them is just another sign of the author's craft. They managed to accomplish all of this, while delivering a truly original story, creating an entire world, and weaving a tale that is both complex yet easily understood and engaging.
I found the world to be wholly unique, yet sprinkled with little details that reminded me of some brilliant books I've read before. There was a hint of the pagan-religious aspects of The Wode trilogy, by J. Tullos Henning; and there were signs of an apocalyptic, simplified world similar to that of the wilds in T.J Klune's amazing Immemorial Year duology.
“If I was brave, or had a fraction of courage, I would stop him. Tell him to come back. Tell him everything I keep bottled up.
“When they take me in, gun on my back, boots still crusted in blood, it's easy for them to ignore me. I'm simply a demon they are accustomed to.”