Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison

Under My Skin by Shawntelle MadisonUnder My Skin by Shawntelle Madison

Series: #1 The Immortality Strain
Genres: YA Dystopian Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on December 9, 2014
Pages: 308
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

I thoroughly enjoyed Shawntelle Madison’s Adult Urban Fantasy Coveted Series with all its unique paranormal world building and colorful characters so I was intrigued to try this new Young Adult series that delved in a different direction. I’m not honestly sure what label to slap on it and I’ve seen it tagged as several: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian. Personally, I lean toward dystopian because of the tone and plotting. No matter, all that is of real importance is that this was one engaging story from cover to cover.

And because I really want others to experience this one with all its surprises and twists that way I got it, I’m not going to say much in summary.

The story opens when Tate Sullivan, a girl from an obscure small coastal town, receives the summons along with her cousin to go through the Water Bearer processing test. It has been the tradition since the Guild took over the governance of their country shortly after the big plagues ravaged their world and left things in chaos. Countries folded and new ones arose with the Prime Minister and the Guild bringing stability and peace to her country and the nearby islands. A class society and government formed with people from the poor and merchant classes hoping to have their children picked as Water Bearers to the elite Guild Members. If a child is picked then the family is set for life and the new Water Bearer goes to live and work for the Guild Member who chose them.

No one from Tate’s poor, humble family has ever been chosen and she has no desire for the so called privilege even if it would mean a more comfortable life for her hardworking family. But nearly as soon as she is shown in for a physical and an odd interview, she is informed that she has been chosen. She is escorted into a room with other chosen including her cousin which is her one comfort. While she is miserable and only wants to go home, the rest are all ecstatic. From there she goes through preparation and instruction before the day comes when she and the others are paraded before the mighty Guild. Tate has a bad feeling about it all and well she should.

This was the sort of story that the reader is given enough up front not to be totally clueless, but yet is left with so many questions and mysteries until the story reveals things as it goes usually at a pivotal moment. I loved the feeling I had through the whole story. It was fascinating, interesting and exciting. I didn’t have a clue at first and then once I did…just wow, it got even better from there. Tate is the narrator for the story and I really liked her as a heroine. She’s smart, kind, but yet spunky through all that happens to her and those around her. There are some real villains in this one. I so loved to hate them, there are others that I wasn’t sure for a while what hat they wore and then there were the characters like Tate’s cousin that were just as good in a scene as Tate herself.

This is a YA book so as to cautions and appropriate level, I would recommend it for any age teen. No language or sex, but there is a moderate amount of violence.

The story wrapped up in a good place, but there is still a lot left to be told. I am very eager to know what comes next in the series. I pretty much read it in one sitting because I was so into it. I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA Dystopian Romance with the action and suspense getting more attention than the romance, at least for this first book.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

About Shawntelle Madison

Shawntelle Madison is a web developer who loves to weave words as well as code. She’d never admit it, but if asked she’d say she covets and collects source code. After losing her first summer job detassling corn, Shawntelle performed various jobs—from fast-food clerk to grunt programmer to university webmaster. Writing eccentric characters is her most favorite job of them all. On any particular day when she’s not surgically attached to her computer, she can be found watching cheesy horror movies or the latest action-packed anime. She lives in Missouri with her husband and children.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Love the cover and I love twists and turns in a story. Thanks for the review.

    • It is a gorgeous cover with her straight on stare and that ruby dress. I was trying so hard to give a good feel for the story without revealing any of the cool twists. There are some interesting surprises that I didn’t want to blow for everyone.

  • I’ve been dying to try her adult series. I’ll have to get to it in 2015 😀

    great review Sophia! I’m not much of a YA reader, but this does sounds like it was really good!

    • Oh I loved her Covet series. I was so bummed when it was over. I’m crossing my fingers that she will go back and write up the stories of some side characters.

      Yeah, this was a really strong story. It had such a unique secret behind all that goes on and I was just dying to share, but it would spoil it for others so I had to suppress my excitement to blurt out the rest of my thoughts. It was creepy good and …just wow.

  • In the Hammock

    New adult paranormal sounds interesting! thanks for sharing this one!

    • You’re welcome! It was very interesting.

  • I love a good world building story..and even though I am not huge on the YA I think I would definitely try this one out, it sounds really great. And I have started to like dystopian a bit so that is a plus too.

    • This is probably a really good choice for those who want to try some YA, but don’t want it to feel immature. The backdrop on this one was just spectacular once the reality of her situation hit her. It took all my self-control not to just blurt out about what took this from just a typical dystopian subversive work against the corrupt gov’t to something chilling and more exciting.