This must have been the week of NetGalley hidden gems! I really, really loved Shari Arnold’s debut novel, Kate Triumph. I was in a book slump (this entire month has just been me eagerly awaiting In the Afterlight and The Retribution of Mara Dyer) so I have been really struggling on the reading front. This gave me the little nudge I needed to break down my readers block. Kate was a badass yet vulnerable character who I fell in love with. This seems to be a growing trend in YA fiction, and I have to say I’m pretty excited about it. Zack was delicious and mysterious, which is a always a great combination for a love interest, and Kate’s father had a few secrets of his own. At times the writing felt juvenile, and the story took a while to get going, but once it did it was off like a rocket.
Kate went through a lot in this book. Though it is never fully revealed exactly where and how her powers came from, and to what extent they went, we know that she is extremely fast when it comes to both running and healing. Despite these totally awesome abilities though, her life is in no way a cake walk. She considers herself a freak because of her abilities, lives in constant fear of someone discovering her abilities, is tormented by her competitors and even her teammates because of her insane speeds on the track, and believes her father is dead. Eventually, she finds out that her father actually isn’t dead, but it takes the horrifically violent death of her mother for that to be revealed. Following the death of her mother her life is turned upside down. She finds herself in a new town, with a mysterious father, a mysterious (albeit drop dead gorgeous) neighbor, an infamous killer who wants her dead, and an evil scientist who wants to make her his latest lab rat. So basically, her life sucks. Kate doesn’t let this get her down though. She calmly takes it all in stride, and that’s one of the things I admire most about her. Arnold could have written Kate as a depressed “woe is me” character who moped and complained the entire book, but she didn’t. Instead she created a character who actively worked to find answers to her questions, all while fighting to stay alive. This kept the book at a fast pace, as opposed to a dragged out mopefest (I’m looking at you New Moon).
Zack. Oh boy. Dreamy, tall dark and handsome boy next door who just so happens to have intense chemistry with Kate, as well as some hidden ninja skills. I liked how he was up front about how felt about Kate right from the beginning. He didn’t put up with her denial. He basically said, “hey, you can’t deny something is going on between us. Don’t play games.” He wasn’t super aggressive about it, but he wasn’t the type to drag his feet and hope that maybe she would snap out of her denial. And also, he was secretly a spy…well almost. He had the skills of a spy, and that’s good enough for me. Mysterious? Check. Handsome? Check. Perfect? Check.
I really liked how Arnold handled the parental relationships in this story. Kate was extremely close with her mother, since it had been just the two of them for years. I was kind of picturing Gilmore Girls, because that’s how close these two seemed to be. However, in an evil scientists’ attempt to end Kate’s life, her mother is killed, and the father she presumed dead shows up on the doorsteps carrying quite a few secrets. Like, MAJOR secrets. The transition was really tough for Kate, as it would have been for anyone. She was hesitant to trust Andrew, but eventually she decided she could. The development of their relationship was really well crafted, and I applaud Arnold for that.
This. Book. Was. Awesome. Writing this review, reliving the book, makes me want to go back and read it again, like right now. Nevermind the fact that its one in the morning and I have an 8 am lecture tomorrow morning. Pshh. Books always come first. But seriously, this book was incredible, especially for a debut novel. By the way…THERE’S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL…RIGHT??? YOU CAN’T END A BOOK LIKE THAT AND NOT WRITE A SEQUEL. Seriously. I’ll be waiting. But until then, I’ll probably re-read this book about 5 times. It was just that good.
Until next time,