Review: Scorched by Erica Hayes

scorchedScorched by Erica Hayes
Urban Fantasy
Harper Collins Publishing
May 22, 2014

Reviewed by May

My name is Verity Fortune. I’m thirty-one years old. I’m not a bad person.

Locked in a mental hospital, tortured, and determined to hang on to her sanity Verity has finally found her chance to escape. What she doesn’t realize is her life as a super hero might not be quite the same as it was since she was captured and tortured. Things are different and the only person she can trust just might be the fellow superhero stranger – a man whose true identity she doesn’t even know.

This is a new urban fantasy series focused on Verity aka ‘the Seeker’ as she works to recover the memory of the dark night that everything went fuzzy. Hiding from her own family, desperate for revenge on the villain that killed her father, and scared of her own memory Verity has quite the future ahead.

The first thing I fell in love with was the heroine’s face:

A horrid sickle-shaped scar curled over my left cheek, from my temple to the side of my nose. The skin there was seared away, replaced with shiny red scar tissue. Half my eyebrow had burned away for good. My cheekbone was dented, and when I touched it, it ached faintly, the echo of something lost.

Christ on a cracker. I’d never been pretty. But this…

The second thing I loved about this book is the contrast of Verity with the secretive hero known as Glimmer.

Glimmer, bless his skunky head, was a true believer.

His heart was pure. He’d never give up. Never lose interest, or call in sick, or betray me to the highest bidder for a lark. All I had to do was keep the faith – live up to his standard- and retribution would be mine.

He didn’t need to know that my bruised soul thirsted for a darker, bloodier, less honorable end than justice. And if Razonfire ended up dead when we were finished?

Well, best to worry about one problem at a time.

The pair is unlikely at best, and while Glimmer seems perfect at first glance it becomes clear that he has his own demons, issues, and problems to deal with as well. There really is not romance in this story, though there is potential for the future and given everything that happens in this epic tale I think that is a good place for it to stand.

The third thing I want to say in praise of this book is that the author is clearly not afraid to go to a very dark place. Many dark places in fact. Nothing and no one is safe, and more than once she made me gasp from the choice to have a heroine with a truly damaged and scarred face to the actions that lead up to our story – which are not revealed until very late in this book. I can’t say more about this without spoilers so I will stop here on the reasons I adore this book.

Now as much as I savored reading this book, and as hungry as I am for more from this author I did have one problem. The pacing of the story and the details being revealed got a bit sloppy at the end, This makes me question if the author can maintain the level of high expectation she’s created into a second book. That is my only criticism of this book. That things went so quickly and so much was thrown at us at once (at the end) it didn’t give me a chance to truly digest and absorb everything before simply ending.

My hesitations aside, I definitely recommend this book, and it is by far one of the best reads for me in quite a while. How often does a strong superhero female lead come along who gets to carry the story, be the strongest of the heroes, and has a darkness in her as well? How often does an author come along who is brave enough to take her story to a place so dark, you aren’t sure there is redemption?

I can’t name an instance when this combination has been done so well. For these reasons as well as how well this book sets up a new UF series I recommend it.

Grade: A-

Prior Erica Hayes Reviews

Recent Reviews:
Bitten By Books
Paranormal Haven
Between Dreams and Reality

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  1. says

    I’m glad you had a good time with this one, I really enjoyed it. I don’t read a lot of superheroes books but it’s fun! I’m quite curious to see what will happen in book 2. To see if it will be up to it.

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