Unnatural Law by Natasha Larry
Genre: Fantasy, Young-Adult, Romance
Series: Darwin’s Children #2
Published: October 26th 2011 by Penumbra Publishing
Seventeen-year-old Jaycie Lerner’s psycho-kinetic power surge is over, and her astounding powers are under control for the time being – sort of. As she struggles to maintain her humanity in the face of the awesome terror and responsibility of her abilities, she also yearns for the chance at a normal life – and a relationship with Matt Carter, the best friend she had to leave behind. But Matt’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, and he’s not about to give up on his feelings for Jaycie.
As Jaycie and her family grapple with the day-to-day routine of trying to keep their world together, Jaycie’s mother figure, Allison Young, endures a personal crisis of her own. The superhuman blonde possesses the physical equivalent of Jaycie’s awesome psychic power.
So evolved, at ninety-two she still looks twenty. But what good is extended life when everyone else around her is so fragile? With no one to share her unusual life, she’s a uniquely lonely woman yearning for the romantic love she sees all around her. But in a dream she gets her wish – and it quickly turns to a nightmare for everyone else in her life. The memory of a rose is all she can hold onto in the storm of obsession that nearly sweeps her away.
Things quickly turn deadly for the vampires, but the Dey-Vah Guard fairies refuse to acknowledge there’s an imbalance in the nature they protect. As the danger gets ever closer to Jaycie and her family, the race is on to find answers before a secret plot can destroy them all.
Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as the first. That wasn’t to say it’s a bad novel because there are lots of good aspects, particularly the plot. I just found the character foundations dissolved and the characters themselves became more childish and verged into the unbelievable whilst they were meant to be maturing. At first I really enjoyed the impact of the opening of the novel and I thought we were really going to get a dark, exciting story.
“If no one got there fast enough, the being created to protect her was going to snap her neck.”
From here things changed direction. The dark direction wasn’t really taken and I guess my disappointment seeped into my enjoyment of the novel.
We followed on largely where the last book left off with a little bit of a time skip and some new revelations. However, it wasn’t hard to fit back into this book. The prologue is a jump ahead of time, but it doesn’t really seem to fit with the rest of the story really. It misguides you in all honesty and whilst it makes for an interesting read, I didn’t quite like the delusion at the start to the different ending. The plot is rather good and there are lots of different paranormal elements with fairies, ghosts and vampires, so for all those paranormal fans out there, it certainly has lots to offer. It did fall into my predictability trap with what I assumed was happening. I don’t know whether I’m just getting good with my guesses or the story was actually predictable, but I felt like there could have been a bit more of a surprise for us by the end.
The plot focuses on Jaycie struggling to deal with her powers and imminent threat of the Dey-Vah Guard who are supposed to protect her family. The balancing act of power between the two and the development of their relationship and power roles by the end certainly lead for an intruiging premise and really helped to pace the novel to draw you in as a reader. I never thought the novel was dull nor was it boring, I just felt a little out of tune with events at time to the realism which was of a greater problem. Jaycie may be the protagonist, but we particularly focus on her mother figure Alison and her loneliness, but I think her character was rather underdeveloped to take such a huge role. I felt in the first novel she was much more fleshed out and that Alison became a little weak in the second novel.
Like I stated the characters were not at all how they’d been in the first novel. The only character I really liked was Jaycie’s friend Hayley. Jaycie didn’t grow on me again and as the female protagonist this lack of connection and dislike for the main character really hindered my enjoyment off the story. I think my particular problem is that Jaycie never really gets just her story, in the first book she is overshadowed by Hayley and in the second Alison takes the central role and Jaycie is just the background protagonist almost, there is never a particular storyline that focuses on her, it’s others that have to be endangered for her to be used almost as the figure to revolve around rather than an independent protagonist. Her overuse of the phrase…
“Christ on a cracker!”
…really grated on my nerves. She must have used it a dozen times in one chapter. Personally, I just hate overused phrases.
Her character seemed to dissolve a little bit more after that and she became really childish and just ploughed ahead and did all these stupid things. Some of it is laid down to elements of her power, but it didn’t seem plausible enough to me and maybe I held onto rational mind with this one, but I think you really have to transcend reality if you want to understand Jaycie and maybe be a little younger. Not only that, she just didn’t feel and act like a 17 year old girl to me and this distanced me from liking her. Particularly her reactions and actions around her boyfriend.
“Hmmm. Coming over to hang out with you?”
Jayice smiled hugely. “Yay!”
Matt’s deep laugh vibrated in her ear. “Okay, babe. I’ll be right over.”
Having said that I didn’t particularly like their relationship they did have some cute moments and romance fans will appreciate their relationship. Matt was particularly overprotective, but he did work to save her in an intellectual way rather than run around trying to be Mr. Muscle and I like Larry’s take on the alternative method of a hero who doesn’t have to be all brawn. He was an intellectual character who seemed more central and down to earth, rather like Hayley. I think those two characters had greater substance to anybody else who surrounded Jaycie or Jaycie herself who all seemed less thought out and more ungrounded.
Matt sighed and opened his eyes.
“Alright, get out before I tie you up in my closet!”
I particularly liked the ghost element of this story and the character who connected with the ghosts. He forms a friendship with Jaycie which was the only reason I found to like her in the fact that she connected and learned to understand him. The ghosts don’t have an huge role in the novel, but their presence is important and I enjoy the little details Larry goes to.
The secondary characters of the story are lacking a little and I think after reading several books that have strong secondary characters, it makes for a less exciting read. Matt and Hayley are without a doubt the strongest characters in the book for me, but I don’t really feel like enough about them is known. There still seems to be something missing and whilst Larry has such a good plot and premise, her characters seemed to be the real issue I have with her novels.
Overall I didn’t enjoy ‘Unnatural Law’ as much as ‘Darwin’s Children’, and my review for that can be found here but I can equally say Larry has continued with a strong novel that sets a nice addition to the paranormal and fantasy world.
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