Tarnished by Kate Jarvik Birch
Published: December 1st 2015 by Entangled Teen
Freedom comes at a cost…
Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet—graceful, demure…and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman’s gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one’s safe, least
of all the other pets. But she’s trapped, unable to get back
to Penn—the boy she loves—or help the girls who need her.
Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she’s lucky, she’ll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives
of everyone she’s tried to save…
I loved the first book in this series. I thought it was unique and well written and I was looking forward to seeing what the author was going to do with this world she had created and how she was going to develop it. However, this book fell completely and utterly flat for me. I was left feeling so disappointed and wanted to punch the characters.
One of my biggest issues with this book was the plot – in a lot of ways, it felt too convenient and predictable. From Missy being right there when Ella wanted to escape the safe house in Canada (with no explanation as to how she got there and why she was there), to the easy way these characters just strolled through the story and the way that Ella’s plan to get Penn just fell into place without any issues whatsoever. The plot really suffered in this book, and I struggled to pick the book up throughout.
I loved the unique idea of people (namely women) being owned as Pets. Having said that, I was expecting this to be more developed in book 2. We had gotten a pretty good look at the life of Pets and what they’re expected to do, but we have no idea how America got to the point of allowing this kind of legislation through. The world needed to be developed more to make it plausible. The America that was presented to us was very much like a modern day America…they had just allowed people to becomePets (slaves). What happened to the constitution, the people who uphold the law, the supreme courts and everything else that would stop this kind of bill from being passed? Especially genetically engineering people to be pets – where are the ethics? Scientific ethics etc. Nothing about this was written in a plausible way.
Another major issue I had with this book was Ella. She was naive to the point of being a 10 year old child and a lot of her actions were extremely stupid. I physically couldn’t get on board with her actions because they all felt extremely stupid and I didn’t agree with her reasoning. The love between Penn and Ella is really too insta lovey for me, so using love as the reason to return and get him (even after everything he sacrificed to make sure she got OUT of America) just… I wanted to bang my head against the wall, ok? I struggled. Her naivety about EVERYTHING else throughout the whole book, despite everything she had been through in book one and the things she had seen, also left me struggling to pick up the book if I had put it down.
Missy was another aspect of this book that I struggled with, but I did sort of like her. She was constantly sacrificing herself for Ella and protecting her. She was definitely a strong character – but her actions made no sense to me. She openly admitted to not liking Ella in the first book. She suffered and went through a lot to get to Canada and then she just decides to help out Ella (eve after miraculously being there with no explanation). Nothing she did was explained and I honestly don’t know why she did what she did throughout the book.
All in all, this book suffered severely with second book syndrome. The plot was underdeveloped and all too convenient, the world building itself was completely lacking anything that would make it plausible and the characters were naive to the point of me wanting to bang my head off the wall. I gave this book 1.5/5 stars (half star for Missy).