Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: Torn by Erica O'Rourke

Title: Torn
Author: Erica O'Rourke
Category: YA paranormal*
Pub Year: 2011

Torn opens with Maura, nicknamed Mo, wounded in a hospital after an attack that killed her best friend Verity. Mo's mother and her Uncle Billy watch out for her since Mo's father has been in jail for most of  her life, reportedly for a mob scandal. The stigma attached to Mo's family draws the attention of police investigating Verity's death. The police, and her uncle, believe Mo was the target of the attack, perhaps relating to her uncle's secretive dealings with the mob, which he lies about to Mo. There are things Mo is not able to explain about the shadowy dark figures who attacked them. She's not sure they were even human.

While her family and the police are convinced Verity's death is related to mob dealings, Luc, a mysterious guy with a southern drawl, shows up to tell Mo to keep quiet about what she saw. Through Luc, Mo pieces together the life her best friend really lived, going far beyond Chicago. Verity had secrets, which Mo needs to uncover in order to find out who - or what - really killed her.

The story does a great job of illustrating multiple paths characters can take depending on whether they keep secrets or share the truth, and thankfully, it works without being preachy. There's a love triangle here, and a good one, too. Mo is frustrated with, and enamored by, Luc, an heir to a magical destiny of sorts, and Colin, Chicago tough-guy (with a sensitive side, of course) who is hired by Mo's uncle to protect her from what he thinks are mob hits.

I put an asterisk next to paranormal here since much of the book has a contemporary feel, and the hidden magic world Verity had been a part of is slowly revealed. I liked the mix of Mo's Catholic school life in Chicago and the intricities of her family along with a pretty cool magic worldview complete with swords, spells, magic sources and creepy dark beings. I think the writing is strong with minimal points of over- description that could potentially pull a reader from the story. Some of the magic worldview explanation could get murky, but if you accept it as magic, it's a little easier to not be concerned with all the rules. Mo is figuring it out herself which helps the reader put the pieces together.

I got this as an e-book for under $7 which is a great deal. This is the Erica O'Rourke's first published book, and Torn is set as a trilogy. It's a fast, interesting read, and I enjoyed the character development.


  1. Great review. At only $7 that's a good deal. I'll add it to my list. Thanks!

  2. This one hit all the right spots for me.

  3. This sounds like an interesting read, and that cover is lovely.


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