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Sorrows (The Rogue Saga) by Donna Fernstrom
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Wrenched from his ordinary life by a violent madman and turned into a vampire against his will, Jayson Wallace must learn to adapt to a world he never knew existed; a world full of magic and wonder, where vampires, donors, and shapeshifting rael-shaa travel between quantum realities. It's a dream come true... but not his dream. His sleep is haunted by blood and fear, and a terrifying voice that he cannot shake from his memory. The Circle who rescued him do their best to help, but a terrible betrayal sets off a cascade of events that give them problems of their own to deal with.

Despite a growing relationship with a beautiful young donor, and a strong friendship with a lupine shapeshifter, Jay finds it difficult to accept the contrast between the idyllic reality before him, and the brutal torture he endured. To make matters worse, somewhere, out there, the monster who changed him still runs free... ( )
  WingedWolf | Mar 16, 2015 |
Wrenched from his ordinary life by a violent madman and turned into a vampire against his will, Jayson Wallace must learn to adapt to a world he never knew existed; a world full of magic and wonder, where vampires, donors, and shapeshifting rael-shaa travel between quantum realities. It's a dream come true... but not his dream. His sleep is haunted by blood and fear, and a terrifying voice that he cannot shake from his memory. The Circle who rescued him do their best to help, but a terrible betrayal sets off a cascade of events that give them problems of their own to deal with.

Despite a growing relationship with a beautiful young donor, and a strong friendship with a lupine shapeshifter, Jay finds it difficult to accept the contrast between the idyllic reality before him, and the brutal torture he endured. To make matters worse, somewhere, out there, the monster who changed him still runs free... ( )
  WingedWolf | Mar 16, 2015 |
Wrenched from his ordinary life by a violent madman and turned into a vampire against his will, Jayson Wallace must learn to adapt to a world he never knew existed; a world full of magic and wonder, where vampires, donors, and shapeshifting rael-shaa travel between quantum realities. It's a dream come true... but not his dream. His sleep is haunted by blood and fear, and a terrifying voice that he cannot shake from his memory. The Circle who rescued him do their best to help, but a terrible betrayal sets off a cascade of events that give them problems of their own to deal with.

Despite a growing relationship with a beautiful young donor, and a strong friendship with a lupine shapeshifter, Jay finds it difficult to accept the contrast between the idyllic reality before him, and the brutal torture he endured. To make matters worse, somewhere, out there, the monster who changed him still runs free... ( )
  WingedWolf | Mar 16, 2015 |
I try to be as honest as I can with my reviews, and in this particular situation it’s relevant for me to mention that I consider the author of this book a friend because it’s very likely that I’m biased to some degree. Having said that, I did my very best to remain neutral while reading and will do my best to give a fair and balanced review.

Though I’m a big fan of horror & fantasy, Sorrows is not the sort of book I would ordinarily pick up. This is mainly because I tend to shy away from books with high drama and/or a crime solving component, though even if those are things that tend to make you shy away from a book too there really is plenty of variety in this story and I think a diverse group of readers would find something to enjoy.

The story mainly concerns Jay, who begins the book as a newly turned vampire and, we learn, became a vampire under extremely traumatic circumstances. Kidnapped and abused by a sadistic monster, he is rescued by a group of people that make up a small law enforcement circle. They live in a world quite different from the world Jay is used to, and he must spend the majority of the book not only coming to terms with his abuse but also learning about the complicated and fantastical world he has been thrown into.

Alongside vampires, there is also a healthy assortment of other fantasy and science fiction elements. The most compelling for the series (Fernstrom has announced that Sorrows is merely the first book to take place in the universe she has constructed) is the presence of dimensional travel, which is used skillfully to make sense of many of the magical and supernatural bits of the story as well as to flesh out a rich world filled with mages and shapeshifters, amongst other beasties.

This all sounds quite complicated, and admittedly it is. At times the reader is assaulted with a veritable barrage of information that is not always adequately explained. At other times information is presented to the reader through dialogue between characters but still has the feel of a textbook. The world that that Fernstrom constructs, though, is thoroughly satisfying and entertaining and seems to hold limitless possibilities.

Sorrows is also, as mentioned before, quite a dramatic story. It deals with many serious issues — including physical abuse, psychological trauma, drug abuse, murder, and the myriad complications of the different relationships we choose to nurture. I occasionally felt like I was reading a cross between Degrassi and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On the other hand, these issues are dealt with elegantly and respectfully and drive much satisfying character development — which is Fernstrom’s greatest strength at this point. All of her characters are rich and distinct and very rarely does even a side character feel superfluous or unnecessary, which gives an overall impression of a very well thought out and carefully constructed narrative.

The narrative voice is simple but smooth, without any excess flowery language or embellishment. I would call this book an “easy read” if just for style and not for content. I read the Kindle edition, but the paperback version comes in at a slim-medium length of 332 pages during which at no point does the action let up. There were several points toward the middle of the story where it seemed like some focus was lost, but during these periods we are given some valuable insight into the various dimensions that the characters move through as well as the complicated societies and subcultures that exist within them.

All in all this was, in my opinion, a strong first novel by an ambitious author with some wobbly focus and periods of distracting density. I would recommend it to people that are looking for an interesting twist on the wrung-out vampire genre, or those who are looking to be absorbed into a rich new fantasy world with a lot of potential. ( )
  vombatiformes | Sep 22, 2013 |
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Wrenched from his ordinary life by a violent madman and turned into a vampire against his will, Jayson Wallace must learn to adapt to a world he never knew existed; a world full of magic and wonder, where vampires, donors, and shapeshifting rael-shaa travel between quantum realities.
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Donna Fernstrom is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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