When illness strikes her best friend and a maniacal underground ruler wants to destroy all that is ‘different’, 16 year old Livi Dixon must lead -- not because of her bravery or abilities -- but out of necessity and fear.
With the hope of a cure, Livi makes a reckless gamble that just may save her friend -- but at what cost?
With her new allies (a strange and sundry group of outsiders including a handsome escaped prisoner and a kind but secretive old man), Livi sets off on a race against time, looking deep within herself in order to defeat a faceless enemy and (just maybe) manage to save her best friend in the process.
Livi's strength is tested, her character revealed, as an attempt to save one life turns into a quest to protect thousands. But is she enough to stop the shapeless evil sinking its teeth into the ones she loves? And in the end, will it even matter?
I was lost at the beginning of Beware the Sheep by M. Lewis-Lerman. Maybe I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the enormous amount of exposition necessary at the beginning of a fantasy novel - where not only the characters are introduced, but the world as well.
Parts of the story which answered many of the questions which arose for me were either revealed towards the end or saved for an ensuing installment of the series. Why did the young people beat up Benny just before they left Primareaux? Why did they call Livi's mother a traitor?
Once they got to the Petrichor, which was a setting and a living being at once, things began to pick up considerably. Or maybe my mind was finally able to grasp the rhythm and flow of the novel. You kind of know, once there are two cures for Violet's condition, one that works if the bout is not too serious, and one that will absolutely cure it, but is almost impossible to get - you just know they're going to have to go for the impossible cure.
But I must say that I thoroughly enoyed the way M. Lewis-Lerman worked this part out. For me, the time spent in preparation for the quest was very interesting. There were a lot of things to take into consideration for there to be any hope of success. Most people didn't think it would really happen, and had no hesitation saying so, but Livi and her questmates were determined to go.
And I didn't figure out what the sheep were right when they were introduced, or what happened to the victims. Of course, an explanation was given after the first attack, and then more and more revealed until we finally got the whole picture.
And the character of Livi grows during the course of this book. She starts out basically a naive teenager, just knowing that they are 'leaving' where they are to go somewhere there is a chance for Violet (her friend and pseudo-sister) to be saved. Along the way she learns things about her mother and father and her past that she didn't know before. And she learns one really big thing about herself. (But I'm not going to tell you that, because it really is kind of delicious.) I especially enjoyed the scene after the 'big reveal' and how she learned to deal with what happened.
There is a lot of room for this story to grow. This is not to say what we have so far is deficient in any way, but there is still a lot of meat for the grinder. And there are those pesky questions: 1) a fuller explanation of Livi's parents' fate; 2) Will Livi wind up with Benny or Kip, or either? 3) Are the wrongs set right?
I'm definitely sticking around to find out!
MEET THE AUTHOR
(Disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book through the "Read it and Reap" program, hosted in the GoodReads "Shut up and Read" group in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)