Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Cold Fury

Author: T.M. Goeglein
Series: Cold Fury #1
Publisher: Putnam
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Pages: 313
Read it in: 3 days

Summary: Sara Jane Rispoli is a normal sixteen-year-old coping with school and a budding romance--until her parents and brother are kidnapped and she discovers her family is deeply embedded in the Chicago Outfit (aka the mob).

Now on the run from a masked assassin, rogue cops and her turncoat uncle, Sara Jane is chased and attacked at every turn, fighting back with cold fury as she searches for her family. It's a quest that takes her through concealed doors and forgotten speakeasies--a city hiding in plain sight. Though armed with a .45 and 96K in cash, an old tattered notebook might be her best defense--hidden in its pages the secret to "ultimate power." It's why she's being pursued, why her family was taken, and could be the key to saving all of their lives.

Action packed, with fresh, cinematic writing, Cold Fury is a riveting and imaginative adventure readers will devour.

LC's Take:

Cold Fury was a book that I was really interested in reading because it sounded pretty much like nothing I had ever read before-- and let's be honest, it isn't very often that you see the Mafia coming up as a genre in YA fiction! So I knew that I had to give this one a try, especially since it looked like it was going to be an action-packed thriller that would be keeping me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end...

Now, don't get me wrong-- I did enjoy reading this one. However, I can't say that it turned out to be *quite* the crazy adrenaline-rush that I had been hoping for. It was still a really great book, but I had some issues with it-- which is unfortunate, since Cold Fury did have many really good things going for it too.

First of all, I definitely liked Sara Jane as the main character. I thought she was a tough, kick-butt kind of character and she managed to have this great assertiveness about her without coming across as being cocky or overly aggressive. I loved that she was a boxer and knew how to fight but that she also had this whole girly thing going on too with her crush on Max. So points have to be given out to the main character in this book-- I thought she was strong, brave, and totally rocked.

Another thing about Cold Fury that I loved was that a lot of the writing was incredibly good-- case in point:

"The recesses of a troubled brain at rest are terrible places because they have no boundaries-- no backward or forward or beginning or end. They are timeless, bottomless pits where a sleeping soul goes to sort out its worries and woes...  The subconscious spins like an awful, haunted buzz saw. It turns faster and faster, ripping through the day's events, shredding forgotten memories, and slicing to bits all hope for the future."  p. 128-9

Some of the more reflective and descriptive writing in Cold Fury was amazing, and a lot of the action scenes were just as well done. T.M. Goeglein is one super-talented writer who stands out against many other YA authors I've read lately, so I have to gush a little about the awesome writing style in this book. The back of the cover described it as being "cinematic" and I absolutely have to agree-- you felt like you were right in the middle of a Mob movie during certain scenes!

So... when it comes down to it, my main issue with Cold Fury was the pacing-- it just did not work for me. The beginning was filled with lots of flashbacks and memories, then around page 100 some present-day action starts to take place, but then we're thrown a bunch of family history and super-lengthy explanations about the Mob, and it just really threw me off. I felt like things were all over the place-- we have Sara Jane on this hunt to find her family while being chased by this crazy Ski Mask guy, then there's a sub-plot going on at Sara's school with her crush Max and her outcast suicidal friend Doug, and then there's all of these flashbacks about boxing and backtracking to Sara's childhood... not to mention, the whole long-winded chapter explaining the Chicago Outfit-- AKA The Mafia-- and to be honest, some of it just seemed to drag a bit, pulling me away from the main action. So with the pacing, it seemed to start slow, then sped up, then it slows way down with tons of explanation, and then slams you back into the action again-- it just didn't flow very well in my opinion.

Cold Fury was one of those books that I have a hard time putting a rating on, because there were aspects to it that I really liked and others that fell flat for me. On one hand, I loved the main character, the writing was really great, and I thought that the plot that centered on a girl from a Mafia family was really unique. Unfortunately, I also felt like there was just way too much back-tracking, Mafia history, and explanations-- and not enough action. It's not that I didn't find these things interesting, but they majorly slowed the plot down to a crawl in some spots and made it really difficult for me to stay invested in what was going on. The ending was still really good, and I would say give this one a shot if you want a genre that's really different-- and even if you do like action, I think this series has great potential to step it up in the next book and get really good!

~Cover Talk~

This is SUCH a kick-ass cover, and I absolutely love how it looks like a movie poster. Once again though, and not to beat a dead horse, but the cover for me turned out to be slightly misleading, because I looked at it and figured this was going to be an all-out adrenaline-fest kind of story with tons of action and a super fast-paced plot. The story didn't quite live up to my expectations in the end, but the cinematic cover is still pretty awesome.

LC's Rating:
The writing was really great and the main character was one tough chick-- I only wish that the pacing hadn't been so sporadic and the plot less choppy! I would have liked this one more if there had been more action and less explanation/back-tracking.


  1. gr8 review. i think i 'll skip

  2. I've been reading a lot of mixed reviews on this one. It sounds so awesome especially because I just LOVE kick-ass girls but doesn't really sound like it's for me...great review though!

  3. Haha this seems to be the general consensus on this one... and I have to agree, it definitely isn't for everyone. I'm glad I gave it a shot just because I liked that it was a genre I haven't read before, but I can see how this would be a skip for some people!

  4. Pity about the pacing! That is always a HUGE turn off .
    I wanted to read this because of the mafia aspect too!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  5. I've been wanting to read this for a while now, but I haven't gotten the chance yet. I'm sorry there were some issues in this book for you and that the pacing sucked. Maybe the second book will be better. I'll definitely have to check this out soon. I'll know what to look out for now with it. =)

    Great review!

  6. Wonderful review. This one has been getting some really good feedback. I need to get myself a copy.

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  9. I personally liked this one. It was a bit on the slow side, but it was so different from most in the YA genre that it just completely pulled me in. I also like movies that fall in line with this style (Mission Impossible, etc.) so I think that helped. It was refreshing. And like you said, the writing really was quite good. :) But I agree, it's going to have its particular audience and I don't think it's going to be for everyone.

    Fantastic review as always!


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