Today WinterHaven Books has the opportunity to review First Light by Samantha Summers as part of A Tale of Many Reviews blog tour. Thank you AToMR for allowing us to participate!
First Light (Project Five Fifteen #1) by Samantha Summers
Publication Date: May 28, 2012
Publisher: Publicious Self-Publishing
What do you do when you’ve always dreamed of a hero; your knight in shining armour, only to find when he arrives he isn’t a hero at all?
… He’s a killer.
Ronnie Rose is trying to cope with the loss of her father; now it looks like she might lose everything else that’s dear to her too. Huge debts threaten to destroy her family, her childhood home and her future. Only one person cuts through her pain. Kalen Smith has just moved to town. He’s trouble and everyone knows it. He and his mysterious friends keep to themselves and the town likes it that way. But when Kalen mourns at her dad’s funeral, Ronnie wants to know why and her investigation plunges her into a dangerous world of murky government secrets, with deadly consequences. Ronnie knows she should walk away from Kalen before it’s too late. Problem is, she’s falling for him…
Can we choose who we fall in love with?
First Light by Samantha Summers was nothing like I expected. This book captured my attention from the moment I read the prologue to the time I stumbled on the epilogue two short days later. Breezing through a novel so quickly is quite rare for me as of late, so I can only attribute it to the fact that I was pretty much hooked on this high impact, high energy YA novel. First Light is a story about trust, survival and friendship that feels like a combination of Bourne Identity slash Outsiders. The plot was quite unique, the characters were extremely likeable and the pacing of the book kept me focused on the events as they unfolded.
The story commences in Clanots County, a small town near London where we meet Veronica Rose (Ronnie) on the day she’s burying her father after a long illness. At the funeral, she’s trying her best to keep it together, and as she looks a bit beyond the distance, she sees a mysterious guy at the funeral grieving right along with her. She’s never met him before but she knows from town gossip that he and the crowd he hangs out with is bad news. Ronnie sets out to discover who he truly is and how he knew her father.
Kalen Smith was orphaned at a very young age and adopted when he was four by a mysterious couple. He was then taken to a camp where he spent the next ten years learning new languages, defense techniques… all the skills for becoming a professional assassin. After learning what his fate would be when he reaches his “shelf-life” at the age of sixteen, he and a band of boys in Project Fifteen escaped the Special Requirements Unit in the hopes of surviving another day. They travelled from town to town and across borders, never setting roots in any particular place. Then one day the SRU comes close to capturing Kalen when a civilian takes him in and saves him from being “disposed of."
I was extremely intrigued by this whole concept of government agencies taking children to brainwash and condition them into perfect assassins as the ultimate guise or weapons that targets would never suspect. Probably not farfetched from any true possibility. Extremely interesting to say the least.
I really liked the group of runaway assessins including Ace, Denver, Nash and Laith. They had that “Outsiders” dynamic going on where each filled a specific role. You had the young one, the charismatic one, the responsible one and the elusive member of the group. They were all so different but blended so perfectly as a band of brothers. Caring for them was not difficult for me to accomplish. They have a bond and loyalty for each other that’s easy to admire. The sacrifices they had to make to stay together and keep each other safe really added a whole new layer of depth to this story that made it even more captivating.
I also came to like Ronnie and Kal as a couple. There was that beginning skittishness that I like to read about when the author develops two characters as a couple. What was more refreshing was that Ronnie and Kal’s feelings for each other felt genuine and real. I really enjoyed reading about these two characters and I rooted for them as they battled the odds stacked against them. First Light kept me at a constant state of high interest because the pacing of the novel never slows down. Summers really knows when to execute a twist or high impact event to make this an ongoing adventure with two likeable protags.
Overall, I’m curious where Ronnie and Kal find themselves in the upcoming installment. Summers delivered a unique and gripping story with her crafty plot, setting and perfect pacing that easily hooked me into her adventure. Definitely enjoyed this one!