Penumbra by Keri Arthur | Book Review

December 19, 2014 Reviews 7

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Penumbra by Keri Arthur | Book ReviewPenumbra by Keri Arthur
Series: Spook Squad #3
Published by Dell on October 28, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher


Agent Sam Ryan wants out of the Special Investigations Unit. She’s sick of the attitude from her partner, Gabriel Stern. She’s sick of the paperwork. Most of all, she’s sick of feeling lonely. But her boss isn’t about to let her go that easily. He gives Sam a choice: either stay stuck in her office or guard a clone replacement of Dan Wetherton, a government minister. Sam reluctantly chooses the latter—even though she suspects she’s being used as bait to draw out the SIU’s elusive nemesis.

Gabriel would like nothing better than to be on his own, without a partner to hold him back. Then he learns that Sam has been assigned to protect Wetherton—or whatever it is that’s replaced him. Wetherton’s clone could have come from only one place: Hopeworth, the military base that contains the secrets of Sam’s past. Determined to protect her, Gabriel is drawn into a fight against unspeakable evil. And all too soon, Sam and Gabriel discover that the connection between them is far more powerful than anyone could ever have imagined.

Unfortunately for Penumbra, I started reading this when I was in a reading funk. Not listening – audio books continued to flow quickly – but reading. And Penumbra just didn’t have what it takes to pull me out. But it was a good book. It just took me about three weeks to read because of my funk.

Note: Penumbra is the third book in the series, so there will be some spoilers in this review.

To avoid letting my funk contaminate Penumbra, I’m going to give you a quick list of what worked for me and what didn’t.

What did work for me:

  1. The mystery. Technically there are two, one for this book and one for the series so far about what/who Sam is. For me, the latter mystery really took over. Which was fine because it was good.
  2. The world. As usual, I love the world Keri Arthur built. Its complex and believable all in one. There’s unique twists and fascinating supernatural types. This is made even better because you’ve got military scientists trying to breed new breeds. Enter fun genetic twists!
  3. The characters, for the most part. I really like Sam(antha) and, for the most part, Gabriel. Sam is independent, spunky, and goes for what she wants. Gabriel is deeply caring.

What didn’t work for me:

  1. The characters, to a lesser degree. Sam starts acting kind if dumb halfway through Penumbra. I think its supposed to be that she doesn’t WANT to see the truth more than that she doesn’t, but annoying. Gabriel just spent months pushing Sam away because he doesn’t want her hurt. Now he wont leave her alone. Annoying.
  2. The pace. Even though it took me a really long time to read Penumbra, I think the pace was actually too fast. Everything felt rushed. Too much was being figured out too easily.
  3. Lack of suspense. Because of the pace, I wasn’t ever anxious. Just turn a page and whatever worried me would be resolved. Probably why I never felt pushed to finish.
  4. Lack of development of Sam’s powers. Again, this probably had to do with the rushed feeling, but we’ve got a girl connected to the weather! Lets exploit that and see some major action scenes! The action we did have was definitely anti-climatic after Generation 18’s pretty great action moments.

So it wasn’t my favorite, but Penumbra was a pretty good read. And, even though I haven’t seen anything about future books yet, the ending is definitely open for more. And I’d definitely read them – as long as I’m not in a reading funk.

3.5 stars pretty good

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About Keri Arthur

Keri Arthur, author of the New York Times bestselling Riley Jenson, Guardian series, has now written more than 25 books. She’s received several nominations in the Best Contemporary Paranormal category of the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and recently won RT’s Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy. She lives in Melbourne with her daughter and two crazy dogs


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

7 Responses to “Penumbra by Keri Arthur | Book Review”

  1. Bookworm Brandee

    I completely understand how a funk can affect your enjoyment of a book, Berls. I just took a week to read a book, that shouldn’t have taken me that long, due to a book hangover. 🙂 Penumbra does sound like a pretty good read – Keri Arthur tends to build great worlds. I hope the next installment really wows you. And I also hope you’re out of your reading funk…
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Blog Tour Review & Giveaway ~ The Darkest Part ~ Trisha Wolfe**My Profile

  2. Ramona

    What I find most interesting about your review is the final pronouncement, “pretty good”. LOL. You’re just nice by nature, right? 🙂 I haven’t read this series and I have to admit that it doesn’t particularly call out to me. I want to feel things I’ve never felt before when I read a book and this doesn’t strike me as the right trigger for that. I loved the succinct review. Nicely done!
    Ramona recently posted…Best YA fantasy books: Chime, by Fran BillingsleyMy Profile

    • Berls

      Thanks Ramona – yeah, I guess I am 🙂 But it was pretty good, just not great or anything. I’m trying to figure out how much was reading funk and how much was the book. But I don’t think its got that something special, mood be damned lol. Hope you’re having a good weekend!

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