Saturday, August 3, 2013

REVIEW - ELITE (Eagle Elite #1) by Rachel Van Dyken:

Title - Elite
Series - Eagle Elite
Series Placement - #1
Author - Rachel Van Dyken
Genre - New Adult Romance
Pub. Date - July 9, 2013 
Copy Provided by NetGalley

My Goodreads Review Link

Goodreads Book Blurb:
For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .
The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.

Reviewers Note: Elite is book one in the Eagle Elite series and is a NA/Romance written by Rachel Van Dyken. I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) through NetGalley.

4 WTF!, Crazy Stars!
Confusing, Plot Hole Heavy Yet Strangely Intriguing and Compelling! 

Short Rundown: 
Trace Rooks moved in with her grandparents after her parents died when she was six. Being raised on a farm and home schooled, her experiences are limited but upon her failing grandmothers wishes, she applies to the lottery for admittance to the Elite college who only pick one impoverished winner out of millions yearly. Upon her acceptance, she travels to Elite only to be harassed, mocked and threatened her very first day there by... everyone, most notably the Elite’s, a group of thuggish boys who seem determined to ruin her life! But there is definitely something strange about how everyone acts and rallies for the one guy who causes her the most trouble but he’s also the only one she can’t seem to resist. Suddenly, everything starts to change and everything she thought she knew about herself, was a lie.

The Review:
First off let me say, when I hit that last page in this book, I could look back at this read as a whole and think, “wow, that was pretty great!”. But if I was to form an opinion after only the first three chapters, then the next few chapters and then some more after that, I would have said, “wth? I’m so confused and this book makes No. Sense. AT. ALL!” So my suggestion, read it in full before forming a complete opinion. Now, on to the review...

I enjoyed this read and it kept me coming back, even though I wanted to pull my hair out because I just didn’t understand the things happening and it was riddled with plot holes! From the moment it starts, its a confusing mess of characters, events and secrecy that left me scratching my head. We get tidbits all along of where the story is headed, who the characters are and at about 35% into the book, I had a light bulb moment, where everything started to click. I began to understand where the story was headed, but what I didn’t understand, was why would a person stay and endure that kind of torture at a place she had no allegiance to. I think there should have been something added to ensure the fortitude of the characters choice to stay other than stubbornness. I mean it was an elective college, not compulsory high school.

The overall conflict was well done but there were so many times I thought, why did that happen and why would any character stay to endure that kind of abuse.

I have a Spoiler Rant at the end of this review if you're curious what I question as sever plot holes.

If you break the book down and really start to questions the events, things don't make a whole lot of sense, there are a ton of plot holes and things seem to fall into place to easily and I would have given it a much lower rating. But just sitting back and enjoying it for what it is as a whole, I really kind of liked it!

Quick Character Rundown...
Nixon, aka Satan!, has me completely conflicted. One minute he’s cruel and horrific in both actions and the things he says and the next he’s charming, caring and protective. But then he turns his glare on you and he’s cold and heartless once more. I totally had a Love/Hate relationship going with his character. His past is steeped in abuse and pain and you can’t help but feel for him once everything is spelled out. However, when remembering all the things he did, you also can’t help but picture what his body parts would look like ground to bits by a sledge hammer!

Trace is a sweet character who is innocent and caring and her time at Elite for the most part was grisly. I understand her determination and grit to find a place amongst the Elite’s, to prove she’s just as good as they are but WHY did she keep taking Nixon’s hand? The push-pull in that dynamic was horrible and the things he did were severe! She just kept coming back for more of his abuse and didn’t really stand up for herself. He’d hurt her, she’d cry, he’d come back with some sort of offer of help and she’d jump right on it. I felt there needed to be more resistance and after all he did, he needed to WORK for her trust.

Chase, oh how I LOVED him. Our introduction to him isn’t pleasant but he more than makes up for it as he goes out of his way to help and protect Trace. He’s sweet and kind to the people he cares about but can be cruel and heartless to those who he thinks are being disrespectful and it only made him hotter to see his sweet side and then experience his rough side. He genuinely cares for Trace and I thought he deserved better than to be used as an escape and then thrown to the side when he wasn’t needed anymore. The only thing about his character that didn’t make sense to me was why did he help Phoenix that night at the party? That was totally out of character for him, especially given what happened to Phoenix who acted outside Nixon’s orders. If Chase knew it wasn’t what Nixon wanted, why did he go along with it? Plot hole!

As for the Elite groupies...that school need a good extermination!

The Wrap Up:
Certain things definitely needed better explanation because by the time it was all said and done, there were more questions than there were answers. But overall, the story was good and kept me reading if not wondering and questioning. In all honesty, I'm intrigued enough to move on to book two when it’s released.

Quote Spotlight... 
...“You feel this?” His hand continued moving up my arm until he reached my shoulder, and then his hand moved to my neck and his thumb grazed my trembling lips. “Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much breathe in the same air in my atmosphere, I will make your life hell. This touch, what you feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.” - Nixon aka Satan!

Quote Spotlight... 
“Its going to be a long afternoon.” Nixon whistled. 
“Because we are freaking living our own Romeo and Juliet.” - Nixon

Quote Spotlight... 
“Damn it, Trace, I’m the one that doesn’t deserve you. The messed up part is I know it, but I want you anyways.” 
“Need.” He croaked. “I need you like I need my heart to pump blood through my body, like I need air to breathe, like we need gravity. Hell, Trace, you are my gravity. Being with you makes me feel centered and whole, and I'm too screwed up to convince you to want any different. I’m to selfish to push you into someone else’s arms when I know mine may be the worse ones for you to be in.” - Nixon

Spoiler Rant!
Why would Trace need to hide out after her parents died? Why would the grandfather who is obviously the head of his side, be in a farm one minute and back in the city the next giving order? Why would other people in the school be so cruel and literally attack her? Why would Nixon take an interest in her safety and go so far as to put her in his lunch circle before he knew who she was? At the end, who did Nixon get in a fight with? Why would Grandpa risk his granddaughter when he clearly cherished her and why give her the family necklace if she could be recognized by it? And how did she win the lottery out of millions of applicants without string being pulled then end up being who she was? Too coincidental! And I expected more reaction to her learning the truth and also to her run in with Phoenix considering how she reacted to much less traumatic events since she arrived at Elite. And how could she just keep going back to the Elite, keep accepting their “hand” after they did the things they intentionally did?
Gah! The questions keep coming!
End of Spoiler Rant!


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