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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Ghost Crown by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Be sure to check out my review of Dark Territory (The Tracks #1)

TITLE: Ghost Crown                      SERIES: The Tracks #2
AUTHOR: J. Gabriel Gates & Charleen Keel
PUB DATE: 6/5/12                         PUB: HCI Teens
FORMAT: ARC, 480 pgs
SOURCE: from pub for review

After their harrowing adventures, Middleburg's teens are hoping life will return to normal. Despite a tentative alliance between the goth Flatliners and the rich, preppie Toppers, any hope of peace is dashed when Topper girl Aimee arrives at the homecoming dance with Raphael, a Flatliner. A fight erupts between the two gangs and, in the midst of the rumble, a bizarre catastrophe occurs when Middleburg's homecoming queen discovers she has supernatural powers. To make matters worse, Middleburg real-estate moguls who have bought up most of the land in the Flats have started evicting their tenants. They are searching for a priceless treasure prophesied in ancient Chinese writings and will stop at nothing to find it. But Raphael and his impoverished Flatliners vow to get it first and use it buy back their homes. Meanwhile, a handsome, charismatic half-angel, half-human comes to Middleburg with plans to steal Aimee from Raphael. As Raphael and his Flatliners and Zhai and his Toppers work to perfect their supernatural abilities and find the treasure, Aimee begins kung fu training, intent on becoming strong enough to locate and rescue her missing mother. When she discovers that the mysterious treasure may be the key to finding her mom, the race to find it intensifies. But there are others who seek the treasure, too, forces powerful enough to reduce all of Middleburg, and perhaps the world, to ashes…
THREEish WORDS: Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fightinnnng

MY REVIEW: I really enjoyed Dark Territory (The Tracks #1) and was very excited to delve into book two. And I’m happy to report that Ghost Crown is even better than the first book…

After their battle with the powerful Oberon, the gangs of Middleburg hope life can get back to normal…but it doesn’t. When Topper Aimee shows up at the homecoming dance with Flatliner Raphael all hell breaks loose between the gangs. But before the fight can get out of hand, newly crowned homecoming queen, Maggie unleashes her own new powers. As tensions escalate between the Toppers and Flatliners, Topper real-estate moguls begin to buy up Flatliner residential buildings, evicting their tenants, in search of a priceless treasure. But they aren’t the only ones after this treasure: the dangerous and deadly Order of the Black Snake and Orias, a half-angel, half-human being, are also after the treasure. Raphael, Aimee, Nass, Zhai, Maggie and the rest of the Flatliners and Toppers find themselves battling against each other and each against dark forces.

Authors J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel have crafted an intensely thrilling and suspenseful sequel full of exciting supernatural elements, kick-butt martial arts, romantic entanglements and engaging characters.  

Ghost Crown is a longer read at almost 500 pages and it is filled to the brim with action and thrills, and the story moves quickly. There’s a lot going on in this book, a lot of individual character stories, but they all really flow together nicely and cohesively. Gates and Keel continue to lay out a very layered, dimensional story with really great world-building. The social awareness surrounding the intense rivalry between the rich Toppers and working class Flatliners that I liked so much in the first book is deftly developed even further in book two.

The addition of powerful supernatural elements to this already tense rivalry creates an atmosphere that is, at times, deliciously dark and explosive. And the supernatural elements continue to be original and electric. From the mysterious Shen to the dark forces of the Order of the Snake, to time traveling and jumping to Aimee and Maggie’s individual growing abilities, these elements are captivating and unpredictable. I know nothing about kung-fu or martial arts, but the authors clearly do and this adds even more layers to the story and makes the fight scenes breathtaking and realistic.

The story itself feels very hip and refreshing; especially the way the authors capture the essence of their teenage characters. I love how natural and authentic the dialogue sounds, never cheesy or contrived. And the characters themselves continue to be awesome: from brave and swoon-worthy Raphael to sweet, determined Aimee to funny, loyal Nass and sassy Dalton to thoughtful Zhai and delightful Kate…all my favorite characters from the first book are even more likable in book two. And there are new characters to get excited about as well! Orias, with his charm and internal struggle, is kind of hard to resist (for both Aimee and readers), even when his darkside shines. Maggie is one character that really surprised me in book two with how much I actually began to like her. Kudos to the authors for Maggie’s unexpected and enthralling character development!

And of course every great story has to have a bit of romance! Well, this story has a lot of romance: first love, old love, enchanted love, convenient love, unrequited love…it’s all there and it’s all enticing. Raphael and Aimee’s sweet, true love is rudely interrupted by the charming and powerful Orias, and Nass and Dalton’s blossoming romance is halted by the appearance of Clarisse, Nass’ first love. But don’t worry, none of the romantic elements dominate the story or take away from the bigger picture.

Like in book one, the last quarter of book two is breathlessly exciting and had me anxiously turning pages. There’s big showdown involving all the important Middleburg groups and the outcome is definitely unexpected. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Action, the supernatural, romance, mystery, thrills and chills...Ghost Crown has it all! A superb and a captivating sequel, this is one read (and series) that won't disappoint.


MY RATING

Find J. Gabriel Gates: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Find Charlene Keel: Website / Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
J. Gabriel Gates:    His first two novels are The Tracks: Dark Territory, in stores July 1, 2011, and The Sleepwalkers, due out October 3, 2011. The second book in The Tracks series, Ghost Crown, is set for release in January 2012. Charlene Keel     author, screenwriter, editor, ghostwriter and more with over a dozen published novels to her credit. She has also written for such major TV shows as Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and the first made-for-syndication soap opera was based on her Dell novel, Rituals.


Win a set of books one and two in The Tracks Series
Thanks to authors J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, I have two sets of Dark Territory and Ghost Crown to giveaway to two lucky winners!!!
DETAILS
-There will be two winners: 1 US, 1 INT
-Each winner will receive a copy of Dark Territory and Ghost Crown
-Open Internationally
-Will run from 6/20 - 6/29
-Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter
  • Must be 13+ to enter
  • One main entry per person
  • Winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
  • Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged or stolen prizes

**The authors have a question you can answer for 10 extra points (answer in comments):
Based on the review above and the descriptions below, what young hot star(s) could you see portraying Raphael, Aimee and/or Nass in a movie?
Basic Descriptions
Raphael: hot, swoon-worthy leader of the Flatliners
Aimee: beautiful, feisty Topper with shorter dark hair
Nass: cute, funny Latino Flatliner 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

12 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Lucy Hale can play Aimee, Anton Yelchin as Raphael and Darren Criss as Nass. These are who I can see playing them in a movie.

Crystal said...

Kat Dennings as Aimee, agree Anton Yelkin as Raphael, I think Jackson Rathbone could pull off the part of Nass

Little Star said...

Ryan Kwaten/Nass, Richard Madden/Raphael, & Lucy Hale/Aimee

Thanks for the chance to win

scarlettkitty at hotmail dot com

Veronika said...

Ellen Page as Aimee (http://goo.gl/IIqiI), Robbie Amell as Raphael (http://goo.gl/LLxJt) and Chace Crawford as Nass (http://goo.gl/g2MgG)

Eli Yanti said...

Alex pettyfer as Raphael, Jennifer lawrence as Aimee and Darren Criss as Nass

nurmawati djuhawan said...

Ryan Kwaten as Nass, Richard Madden as Raphael, & Lucy Hale as Aimee

thx u so much ^^

soulunsung said...

I would definitely have to pick Lucy Hale for Aimee, because she just jumped out at me immediately. Plus, I think she's phenomenally kickass and just fiesty enough to pull it off much better than Ellen Page would. Chase Crawford is definitely my Nass. Oh my gosh, there just simply couldn't be any other to portray him any better! And of course, Anton Yelkin as Raphael!

Suz @ A Soul Unsung
My Midsummer's Eve Giveaway!
susanhaugland@att.net

Filia Oktarina said...

Lucy Hale as Aimee, Ryan Kwaten as Nass and Robbie Amell as Raphael.

nat said...

Im no good at doing this but Ill give it a go. OK for Raphael - Ran Danker, Aimee - Angelica Panganiban and Nass - Tyler Posey. Thanks, I entered as Natalie Cleary :)

Lissette Martinez said...

Alexander Ludwig as Raphael
Emma Roberts as Aimee
Charlie Cox as Nass

Sounds a perfect cast for me :)

alicia marie said...

i am never good at this...but maybe jennifer laurence as aimee since she's the it girl at the moment, umm ian somerhalder as nass, and chace crawford as raphael. i think i'd have to read more, though, before i could really picture in my head who i think would fit.

Evie said...

OK, so I'd go with Ezra Miller for Raphael, Emma Stone for Aimee (hey, just use your imagination!), and Ed Westwick for Nass. I know, horrible, horrible choices, but I usually picture these trio when reading just about anything, so please, don't judge me! :D

Great post, excellent review and totally badass giveaway!