Is Azalee and Joel’s connection a blessing or a curse? Azalee’s life has never been close to resembling anything normal. As a child, she was an outcast. After she was blistered, she was thrown into an underground prison by her own parents. When Joel comes to rescue her, Azalee is understandably skeptical. After all, she’s never even known basic kindness. Azalee’s desire to be free is stronger than her doubts so she reluctantly leaves with Joel. However, it isn’t long before they are joined by Niribelle. I didn’t trust Niribelle from the first moment she appeared. Her whiny and superior attitude grated on my nerves. I couldn’t help but wonder what her true motivations were and how much damage she would do to Joel and Azalee’s quest. Azalee is a likable character, but she can be very abrasive. She and Niribelle fought constantly while Joel made futile attempts to stay neutral and keep the peace. I must say that I’m rather surprised that Joel didn’t see through Niribelle’s attitude sooner. While it is clear he tries to see the best in people, he is also very smart. Niribelle shows her true colors on multiple occasions yet he persisted in making excuses for her. I found this hard to swallow. Azalee and Joel’s budding friendship and romance perfectly balances the animosity between Azalee and Niribelle. Azalee is very guarded, convinced no one could truly care about her. However, Joel is so genuine, honest, kind, and patient that she gradually begins to trust him. I loved watching them get to know each other, particularly when Joel takes the time to teach Azalee how to read. The little things Joel did for her every day thawed Azalee’s heart bit by bit. I enjoyed watching their feelings grow so naturally that before they realized it, they had fallen in love. However, no one, not even the gods, is likely to look on their relationship with favor. I do wish there had been more details provided about a couple of issues. I’d like to know more about the Chertz and Spinel. How did these two groups come to be, and why do they hate each other so much? I’d also like more explanation on why some children weren’t given Greek names. Clearly it is meant to shame them, but why? Because the child was conceived unexpectedly? This doesn’t make much sense to me. I also have an issue with the fact that there are no good parental figures. Most of the adults are absolutely horrible and completely devoid of love and compassion. Familial bonds are nonexistent. I realize I’m not getting a picture of the entire culture, but the families I’ve met so far are beyond dysfunctional. Despite these issues, I really enjoyed reading Blistered. The pacing is excellent, the plot is compelling, and Azalee and Joel are wonderful characters who are easy to cheer for. I must warn readers that this installment ends on a “to be continued” note. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that Azalee and Joel are relatively okay, but their situation is far from ideal. I will be picking up the second book immediately because I absolutely have to know what happens next!
A Modern Greek Myth, 1
The imagery came in spurts: curling blonde hair, skin smooth and golden, a pure white tunic that had never seen a speck of dust since its creation, curves galore, and startled eyes the icy color of pure aquamarine. A bag made of the finest leather hung from her back, the strap lifting up the already large swell of her breasts.
Azalee took it all in as she dove for her tattered shift. The young woman before her stepped back in a swirl of scented oil. Terror and adrenaline pumped Azalee’s body into swift action. She dove for the intruder, stabbing wildly with her shiv.
The young woman ducked.
Gasping, Azalee swung at the blonde once more, this time missing her by literal hairs. The curls caught momentarily under Azalee’s nails before the young woman darted down over the nearest slope of grass.
“Furies,” spat Azalee. Her first thought was to chase after the trespasser, but she recalled her nudity. She yanked her filthy clothing over her dripping body. The shiv fell from her fumbling grasp as she fought to tie the leather strap at her chest.
By the time Azalee grabbed her weapon and staggered over the hill, she knew the girl had too far a head start. She muttered a slew of curses and continued on.
Joel was over this hill.
She had to make sure Joel was okay.
If she lost the only person who had shown her an inkling of kindness in years…oh, great Hera, Azalee didn’t know how she’d manage on her own. Not with her lack of education, not as she was.
Not as a Chertz in a world of Spinels.
Azalee tripped over a rock. Throbbing pain traversed her big toe and up her foot. She slipped in a loose patch of dirt. Panic swore to seize her, sending horrible tremors through her thoughts and to the hand gripping her bone shiv.
When she clambered over the hill and caught sight of Joel’s large, bronzed figure, her heart deflated with relief—and then immediately jammed tight into her throat.
The aquamarine eyes of the girl met hers, and another shriek flew from the intruder’s throat. She ducked behind Joel. Azalee darted down the hill, her chest expanding in dizzying anticipation. She brandished her shiv.
She barely heard Joel in her attempt to dodge around him and get to the girl. But Joel was fast despite his mountainous frame. He sidestepped to block her, his large hands grabbing Azalee by the arms. Azalee tried to jerk free. The move only dug her heels into the dirt.
“Stop,” shouted Joel. “What are you doing?”
“Move!” Azalee tightened her grip on the weapon, parting her lips in a snarl. “She’s mine!”
The girl twisted back, blonde curls swaying in the motion. Her voice heightened in a terrified squeak. “I—”
“It’s Niribelle,” thundered Joel. His eyes grew dark and fearful as he struggled to push Azalee away from the young woman. “She’s from the village. She won’t hurt us.”
Betrayal lit the ground beneath Azalee’s feet. She tried once more to wrench free, yet only succeeded in stumbling. Joel kept a firm hold of her. The iron grip on her arms boiled her blood. Heat swept across Azalee’s face and ears.
Joel at last released one of her wrists, only to snatch the shiv from Azalee’s grasp. Outnumbered and overpowered, she frantically kicked at the ground until Joel released her. Dull pain blossomed in Azalee’s rear as she tumbled to the ground.
It was a trap, she realized. Hysteria shortened her breath.
“She tried to stab me,” wailed Niribelle from the riverbed.
Joel looked doubtfully between the two. Confusion clouded his eyes, as though he didn’t know who to approach. In the end he carefully held the shiv at a distance and crouched near Azalee. “Hey. Look, I know she’s Spinel, but—”
“Of course she’s Spinel,” snapped Azalee. When Joel reached out as though to touch her shoulder, she bodily scrambled back. Dirt scrubbed her feet—so much for the bath—in her haste to put distance between them.
Hurt bled from Joel’s gaze. “If you’d just—”
“You don’t know anything,” yelled Azalee. A horrific wetness caused her voice to rattle and catch, and she blinked back stinging tears. “I know that’s Niribelle.” She glowered at the cowering young woman, wishing she could light her on fire the way the sun did her own flesh. It would only be fair, in her savage opinion. Jabbing an unclipped nail in the perfect Niribelle’s direction, Azalee angrily choked out, “She’s the reason I’m Blistered!”
I give Blistered (book 1 in the A Modern Greek Myth series) by Deirdre Huesmann four stars. Azalee is a prisoner. Unwanted by her people because she is Cursed. She has been kept in a prison underground for many years without any chance of being released. Then along comes Joel. He is also unwanted, not good enough to have a Greek name but not Cursed like her. But he believes he is fated to help this poor girl out. So years ago, he started digging tunnels to get down to her. Unlike her, his people get energy from the sun so they would never think to guard against tunneling. He finally gets to her and is completely surprised at what he encounters. This isn’t the damsel in distress who lovingly and willingly goes with him that he was expecting. In fact at first she says no. She assumes it’s a trick. But this boy seems so genuine and innocent that she trusts him, at least a bit. Besides, she’d rather die than rot in that cell for the rest of her life. She comes to learn that not only is he about fifteen, she is not over 20 like she assumed. The people who she if not loved, but came to trust, have been deceiving her. She hasn’t even came of age yet. Joel promises her that he has done much research and there is an island of people like her and he feels it is his duty to take her there. As soon as they get near the end of the tunnel, she knows it was all a ruse and this is the end. She will die if she goes into sunlight and Joel keeps pulling her that way. When they come to understand each other, he realizes they have to travel at night. Now the journey will take twice as long. She comes to see that while he believes in this, he sees it thru the eyes of a teenager – it will be all fun and adventure. And then another shows up saying she was fated to help them both. But Azalee remembers her from childhood and doesn’t trust her at all. Joel on the other hand, trusts her and seems smitten.
I loved that the main character Azalee was no withering flower. She approached everything with a hint of skepticism, as would be expected by someone who had been imprisoned like her. She was broken out of her prison by Joel, a boy who believed that it was part of his destiny to help her. Joel was by far my favorite character in the story. His optimism and his desire to do the right thing (while potentially facing serious consequences) were admirable. There is a point in this story where the fantasy world mixes with a modern world, and I thought it was done very well. Seeing Azalee and Joel process some of the things we take for granted in today's age was super amusing, and definitely had me laughing a time or two. I think fans of Greek mythology would enjoy this story very much. I would rate this 4.25 stars. The main reason why I didn't rate this higher was only because it took me a little time to get my bearings since I'm not terribly familiar with Greek mythology. Once I got deeper into the story and learned more about the characters, it mattered far less, and I was completely engrossed in the journey. I'm looking forward to Book #2 in this series. I will be putting it on my TBR list for sure!
I have said this once, I may as well say it again. Normally I am not a huge Young Adult genre fan, but Deidre Huesmann totally drunk me in with Blistered, which is why it is getting a solid five stars from me! Blistered is a mix of Young Adult and Greek Mythology. I have always been a fan of Greek Mythology so I think that is what really did me in with this awesome book! I was hooked from the get go. The plot, conflicts, and the well-developed characters just tied together so well that it was hard not to love this book! First there is Joel – our hero, who is slightly naïve and makes slightly poor decisions at times. He believes it is his destiny to save Azalee. Azalee is our heroine. Normally, I would say that I absolutely loved her, but I am still on the fence with her. She is strong and you cannot help but feel a bit sorry for her due to being treated wrongly essentially her whole life. She has a lot of sass which I absolutely love but sometimes her attitude annoyed me. She is flawed which I really like because these days you see so many heroines who are portrayed to be perfect. I love how Huesmann made her characters imperfect. The knowledge of Greek Mythology shows me Huesmann definitely did her research which I seriously respect! I felt like I was transported into the story, the imagery alone was absolutely perfect. Blistered hands down is one of my new favorites and I plan on rereading very soon!
Blistered (A Modern Greek Myth Book 1) by Deidre Huesmann is the first book in the A Modern Greek Myth series. This book is excitement, action and fantasy. This story is what a fantasy book should be. This story is about destiny, trusting and secrets. Azalee is a woman labeled as a witch who has been held prisoner deep within the cold earth. All she really wants is a home but that means she would have to escape. Escaping is appealing but the only problem is that she can't be out in the sun light, her skin will burn and fray, blistered by the gods. What will happen when he breaks her out? How will she survive? Will they make it to Mykonos? Joel has been shunned, outcasted and forbidden to take a Greek name. His goal is to keep her safe. Will he be able to keep her safe once he breaks her out of prison? What will happen when the battle-worn Kurios send their warrior after them? Will he fall for the warrior's charms as she is gorgeous and cunning? How will her magic effect things? This story brings these characters to life and will pull you into the fantasy world. They have one goal, Mykonos! But what will they find when they get there? What will they discover once they reach Mykonos? Will they survive? Are they all in danger? This is my first ready by Deidre Huesmann. Deidre works in her local shipyard, dressed all in safety gear and getting her hands dirty. When she isn't in the shipyard or writing you can usually find her catching up on her reading, kicking it with her children and playing video games. This story is a page turner that will have you turning page after page until the end. I highly suggest this story as I know you will enjoy the journey it takes you on as much as I have.
I enjoy YA novels from time to time. This isn't usually two genres I'd think to mix - young adult with Greek mythology - but I think it really works well. The heroine is a flawed character, relate-able, and at times annoying, as any of us can be. You can tell research was done into the mythology being written about since the terminology was correct and it felt very much like you were "there" in the story. The ending was just the right amount of suspense to make me interested in reading more. I enjoyed this story and can't wait until my kids are a bit older so I can share it with them as well. It could become a new classic, at least in my house.
I really enjoyed reading this book, start to finish. The elements of fantasy and adventure along with moments of romance unite to make the perfect page-turning combination. I really related to the main character, Azalee. Her intelligence and, at times, sassy attitude made her a fun and unique character to follow. She's had a hard life, and it's not getting any better, yet she still struggles to overcome her adversaries. Can't wait for the next book!
Once I started reading the book I was completely hooked. The plot and pacing are outstanding, with great conflict and very well developed characters. From the start, we feel awful for Azalee and the way she's been treated, but you can't help but admire her strength of character. Joel is adorable and though he falls under the influence of someone he shouldn't, he proves to be a hero worthy of the strong heroine. The author has started with traditional Greek mythology and created a unique and intriguing world combining the old world of myth with modern day. It has a Percy Jackson type feel to it but bears no real resemblance to Riordan's books. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!
I will admit, I'm not usually a YA fan. Sure, I've read the series that got 'big' and popular and they were all great stories, but generally I don't go seeking them out. Blistered should be up there along with those 'big' series books. In addition to all the elements - young heroine chosen for something greater, young hero helping her along the way, and a quest they must go on to solve their problems. Here's the difference though, in Blistered it's an actual Greek QUEST, given to them by the gods. The author has managed to take Greek mythology and weave it into the storyline in a way that makes it interesting and relevant to this time. And not just the major gods, but many of the minor ones as well - the ones you have to Google to figure out who they are. She's woven their mythology so seamlessly into Azalee and Joel's story it become integral to their journey. Azalee isn't always a sympathetic heroine. Weird, I know because usually you want to LIKE the heroine. Not that I disliked her - I was sympathetic to her, but she's flawed and she struggles and she doesn't want to be 'chosen', she just wants to be somewhere where people accept her for HER. Joel is naive and searching for hero status. He wants to help Azalee because he believes it's his destiny. Somewhere along the way he begins to like-like Azalee and sees her as more than just his quest. Then there's Niribelle. I don't like her. At all. She's not evil. Exactly. But I don't like her. If you like epic quests and flawed heroines and heroes and/or have any interest at all in Greek mythology, I really, really recommend this book.