Untamed (Untamed #1)
by Madeline Dyer
Publisher: Prizm Books
Release Date: May 20th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy
Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
(This review may contain spoilers).
So… the first thing I should probably say is that I picked up this book on Sunday evening, intending to start reading it… but then I was pulled into the world so quickly and easily, I ended up reading the whole book faster than I’d been expecting.
I found Seven to be a really intriguing character. I thought it was interesting to see how she was constantly struggling with being forced into the Enhanced way of life and how she had to deal with how the other Untamed saw her. I had a really strong dislike for Rahn’s character. While I think that, at first, he was trying to save the people he was in charge of, I think he lost sight of that after quite a while.
It was really easy to empathise with Seven and to see the world through her eyes. There were clear differences between the Untamed and the Enhanced and I found the Enhanced to be especially creepy, even while I could understand why the Enhanced had come into existence in the first place.
For a lot of the book, I couldn’t decide if I liked Corin or not. He seemed to switch moods almost constantly and I had no idea if he cared about Seven or not. At the same time, I loved Seven’s relationship with Three. There was a good amount of brother/sister banter going on and I thought it was obvious how much the two of them cared about each other.
It was interesting to get bits and pieces of the culture as the book progressed. I liked the opportunity to see how the two different cultures contrasted… though I was confused about how the spirits thing. Seven’s visions were creepy and succeeded in drawing me in, making me curious about how they worked and how Seers might be chosen.
I felt the author portrayed Seven’s struggle really well and it really endeared her character to me. In the future, I would definitely be interested in reading the next book/s in this series and seeing what journey the characters will take next. Although it doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, there is clearly still a lot more of the story to be told.
“No, please, no!” I try to roll over, try to escape, but my limbs won’t work. They’re too heavy, shaking too much. The vial containing the augmenter gets closer and closer. The liquid is as blue as the clear, shimmering sky.
“You have violent intentions. There is no other way,” the first man says. His eyes flash, throwing light back at me. I squint, try to blink the sharp stings away. “You have to be saved. The hunger and fear is controlling you. It is not healthy.”
“You must taste our way of life,” the blond female says. “Then you will understand, and you will wonder why you ever resisted. Why feel fear if you can choose not to?”
I roll over, taste blood at the back of my mouth and scream as the dark-haired woman grabs me again. She forces me onto my back again as the other woman lunges for my hands. The uninjured man is a heavy weight on my legs. The one I shot is still standing; who knows what augmenters he’s taken?
My heart pounds, I can hear it in my throat and my head, beating in time to my shaking, cold fingers. The vial’s less than an inch from my mouth. The dark-haired woman flicks its lid off, whilst the other female crushes her nails into my shoulders. I try to break free, but she’s too strong. I don’t have the strength; everything but the augmenter is dimming, swirling away.
The augmenter gets brighter, steals color until it’s too blue, too vibrant. My eyes burn.
“Not the augmenter! No!” I pull a hand through the air, trying to gouge chunks out of the nearest arm, but everything’s blurry. I move, but they’re too powerful. Sweat drips into my eyes. I know I can’t escape, not without the Luger. Especially not once I’ve swallowed an augmenter. No, I need my gun. I have to fight them.
I turn my head as the dark-haired woman forces my mouth open, her fingers latching onto my lips like clamps. I struggle again. A few feet away, I see my Luger lying on the dusty ground. It’s shimmering, smiling at me.
“Get it in her!”
Her grip on my jaw is tight, and she pulls at my lips roughly. I shriek, turn and try to strike out at the woman. Adrenaline suddenly pounds through me, getting stronger and stronger, pulsing, coursing, forcing its way through my body. I kick out.
Air rushes through my ears. My stomach turns.
My mouth is forced open. The vial tips up. The blue color disappears. I choke, try to turn away, try to spit it out, but I can’t. Everything moves, blurs, spins. Heat pours through my body, chased by blinding coldness. Pain shoots through my chest, holding me down like tiny stone arrows. I gasp, my body stiffening, as the world around me drains of color, until even the skeletal images fade entirely, merging into a spectrum of grays, whites and blacks that won’t stop laughing at me as I’m crushed, choking and drowning.
“Take her to the chamber. A level four is necessary. She’s strong.” He turns back to me, grinning. “It won’t take long. We’ll break you into perfection.”
“A bison is most definitely not ridiculous.”
Sideways, I glance at him. He’s staring straight ahead, looking tense. He’s like Rahn: a loaded gun.
A willow’s branches dance in the water up ahead and I swim toward them, then under the hanging branches. I smile as I resurface, shaking my wet hair out. Droplets fly everywhere. This is freedom.
“Our people never steal. We don’t need to. We are the perfect society, stealing has been eradicated in our people.”
The worst days are when everyone else goes out on raids, leaving me here with the terrier, waiting, wondering, imagining…
Praise and editorial reviews for UNTAMED:
“From the first line, Untamed pulled me in. This is the sort of book that is incredibly difficult to put down, the kind of book you can fall into and forget the world, forget you’re reading words on a page. Our narrator is a true heroine in a tumultuous futuristic world in which the Enhanced Ones are “better, faster and stronger than you.” The premise is unique and engrossing, and by the end of the book I was left wanting more (good thing – it’s a series). As a person who rarely reads fantasy/sci-fi but grew up with it always on the nightstand, Dyer’s book reawakened in me a buried love for the genre.” – Jen Knox, author of AFTER THE GAZEBO.
“Seven is a satisfyingly human main character, whose strength arises not from athleticism or fighting prowess, but loyalty and tenacity, in the face of wobbly self-confidence and the powerful attraction of a superficially attractive lifestyle that’s there for the taking. The other characters are recognisable and individual in their particular failings and weaknesses, and occasional redeeming strengths. The action is plentiful and the pace high as the Enhanced close in – there’s not a lot of stopping to smell the roses. The ending managed to twist and turn [and] left me with no idea of how things might pan out, so I look forward to future installments in Seven’s journey” – Matthew Willis, author of DAEDALUS AND THE DEEP.
“This book proves Dystopian is not dead. Not dead at all. Seven is a rock solid, super cool female heroine that I could root for. Dyer creates a captivating dystopian world that I can’t wait to dive into again when the series continues in book two. Supporting characters were richly drawn and the pacing was spot on. Loved it! Bring on the sequel!” – T.A. Maclagan, author of THEY CALL ME ALEXANDRA GASTONE.
“This is a good solid dystopian. I think the thing that made me give it 5 instead of four stars, is that it doesn’t give you everything upfront. You have to read to get a sense of the book, to find out why the enhanced ones are indeed better and stronger. […] If you’re looking for a well paced story, flawed characters, are fine with violence that’s well grounded in the world, as well as science that feels like it’s a real part of this new world? Then this sometimes dark book will serve you well.” – K.T. Hanna, author of CHAMELEON.
“The fast-paced action of Untamed really drew me into the story [and…] kept the pages turning. […] I found it easy to root for Seven as a character and […] I liked that she was flawed but still strong and smart enough to work some things out on her own. I think readers who enjoy dystopian novels would enjoy this book.” – The Story Sanctuary Reviews.
“I really couldn’t fault Madeline Dyer. I could see the care that had been taken with the writing and the story. [… The protagonist] was quite a complex and interesting character […] For anyone struggling with identity issues themselves, Seven will more than likely be their favourite character. […] Untamed is a fantastic dystopian survival story, filled with twists.” – The Literature Hub
“Rarely is a book written in active present tense because it can be difficult to pull off. However, Ms. Dyer does a magnificent job of it.” – A Drop Of Ink Reviews
“Untamed is very captivating and I found myself racing through it… I think the author did a fantastic job with this novel. Although we don’t find out much about Seven’s world and why it is in the state it is, the imagery Madeline has created is brilliant. I had a vivid picture in my head of the characters and their surroundings.” – A Secret Book Lover
“If you’re interested in dystopian fiction and want a series that will draw you in, UNTAMED is a great start. It will grab you from the first line and force you to read to the end because you have to know what happens. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series” – Heidi Sinnett, author and librarian.