Sunday, April 20, 2014

REVIEW: "Summoned" by Rainy Kaye (Reading Addiction Blog Tours)

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him.

SUMMONED is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.


Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.
She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

My son recently was rather obsessed with a toddler show called "Abby's Flying Fairy School".  Unfortunately, there are only a few episodes on YouTube.  One of these episodes includes a genie....which brings up an interesting question?  Is genie-hood a form of slavery?  What if the genie does not want to complete the wishes for moral reasons?  What if she or he has no choice.....

Dimitri is a man with a secret.  This secret means that people are abducted or die, things are blown up or stolen, and all at the whim of someone else. Blackmail?  No....something far more sinister.

Many of us have seen Aladdin, or some other similar story where a genie can be summoned to perform three wishes for the lucky master.  How many of those stories are told from the genie's point of view?  Summoned is a wonderfully written story told from the story of an unfortunate genie who is bound to a vicious master who has way more than three wishes.  Oh, and he can summon his genie at any time.  Dimitri, the genie, has one rule when it comes to relationships - wham bam thank you ma'am.  Until Sydney comes along and rattles his world.  Dim then finds himself longing for a "normal" life, one where he doesn't just disappear at the whim of someone else, one where he doesn't have to kill, abduct people, steal, lie, and otherwise obey the increasingly excruciating hum in his brain when a wish has been made and is unfulfilled.  One where he and Sydney might live a long, happy life together.

This is a superb book written in a raw, sarcastic style that made me laugh.  Think Sawyer from the television show "LOST" and you have an idea of the rough-around-the-edges-with-a-secret-snarky kind of person that Dimitri has turned into.  A whirlwind of a plot throws together ancient stories of jinn, modern technology, moral questions, and quite possibly the most dysfunctional biological family in history in an easily accessible story written in a snarky, sarcastic style that is just plain endearing.  This book was just plain fun to read.

On an ascending scale of 1 to 5, I give this book a 4.


The Good
Genie stories abound in ancient literature, in many forms.  Generally one being is bound to another to somehow carry out the other's wishes.  Aladdin primed much of us to expect the genie to have to grant three wishes of his or her master.  Aladdin touches a little bit on how unsettling this may be for the genie, but Summoned takes it a step further.

Summoned is the story of a modern genie who has inherited his unfortunate spot in life through bloodlines.  His father was a genie, his grandfather was a genie, etc.  They were all bound to successive members of the Walker family.  Now, the Walker family just may be the most dysfunctional family in literary history, but I can't go into "why" too much without spoiling the plot.  Suffice to say there's lot of people out for their own interests despite whatever might get in their way.

Well, Dimitri is this genie.  Dimitri can be summoned to the wish chamber at any time....he just *poof* disappears.  This makes normal relationships complicated.  This makes anything complicated.  Oh, and he cannot tell anyone what he is, he cannot harm his master, and he cannot harm himself.  Well, he's just plain trapped, huh?

Too bad masters in this kind of situation tend to not be very nice.  Dimitri's master is up to something, and Dimitri doesn't know what.  All he knows is that he's been sent on a slew of back-to-back wishes that seem to have some sort of connection....but what is it?

And then there's Sydney - the woman who has rocked Dimitri's world to the point where he is bound and determined to have a normal life...too bad he can't tell her what he is, or why he disappears for days or weeks at a time and comes back all beat up.

Intrigued yet? Good, you should be.  : )  This is a superb book written in a style that flows very well.  Settings are described from the eyes of someone who has either been in the Four Corners area or has studied pictures of such in detail.  Movements of individuals make sense (i.e. there are no "wait, how'd he get across the room?"  moments).  There is an intricate web of deceit, murder, and mythology that just plain works.  

The characters?  Oh - I liked them a lot.  : )  Have you ever seen the television show "LOST"?  Well, Dimitri is kind of like Sawyer: major chip on his shoulder, SNARKY and sarcastic, endearing in his own bad-boy kind of way.  Sydney reminds me of her namesake from "Alias": strong, determined, kick-ass, not willing to back down from a fight, and very caring.  These two are written in such a way that you cannot help but cheer for them....except near the end when......oh darn - I just about spoiled something!

Here's what I also appreciated about this book - it takes on an angle of the genie story that most stories I've read that include genies just gloss over entirely: genies are little more than magic slaves.  In stories they are bound to their masters and must perform whatever wish that master requests (except, somehow, more wishes....always wondered why that was never anyone's first wish in any of the things that I've read).  But what if that master is requesting something that the genie finds morally repulsive?  As I've mentioned, the movie "Aladdin" talks about this a little bit, but not to the extent that it is covered here.  And what are the repercussions if the genie doesn't obey?  I loved how Kaye worked with this - very real, very shocking, very sad.

You should read this book.  This...I...wish.

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
I don't have a lot to gripe about when it comes to writing style, or many of the other things I generally pick stories apart for.  Rather, my complaints here revolve around the characters a bit, namely that Dimitri reads as a 40-year-old guy, not someone who is supposed to be in his 20s.  He reads far too old for his chronological age.  Maybe this is just me - but somehow this bugged me a bit. Then again, perhaps he sounds older because the stuff he's been through has aged him beyond his years - certainly I've run across this before.  Still, somehow his apparently chronological age vs.  his mental age/attitude bugged me a bit.

Another thing - there are sections of this book that are definitely NSFW.  Now, this inherently isn't much a problem except for two major things that happened here: there are far too many of these scenes.  I get it - the people involved can't keep their hands off one another.  There were so many of these scenes, however, that I kept finding myself trying to skip pages in some of the later ones.  That being said, when I did read them it felt like they fell apart a little bit by the end.  The last few NSFW scenes were far less involved than the early ones.  I get that the author didn't have to spend as much time on this as in the beginning because this kind of scene was already set, but I really like consistency.  :P

Oh, and there are typos.  Not a huge amount, but definitely enough that I found myself wanting to have a red pen in my hand.  Generally they were just the kind of typos that one becomes guilty of after viewing the same text for hours on end...I've done the same thing.  These are just the kind of typos that should be edited out.

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