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Hardcover Book Details
  • 06/2018
  • 9781941488843
  • 488 pages
  • $35.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1941488812
  • 488 pages
  • $19.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • B07DWQQ61T
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99
Janet McNulty
Author
Enchained

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Book 1 in the Enchained Trilogy For those who liked 1984, The Hunger Games, or Divergent Having spent her entire life secluded in the Martial Training Corps, Noni passes the final test, achieving the coveted position as arbiter of Arel. Placed under the tutelage of a seasoned veteran, Noni will see her city for the first time and learn that not everything is as she had been taught to believe.
Reviews
IndieReader

In an authoritarian city-state, a newly apprenticed law enforcement officer dares to question the only way of life she’s ever known in the dystopian thriller, ENCHAINED.

Inside the walled city-state of Arel, Noni has just survived her last death-defying test to become one of society’s elite warriors. Now an arbiter, she’s stationed under the watchful eye of a seasoned commander to patrol Arel’s most dangerous, unruly sector. Life here is brutal, even for those tasked with keeping the peace; while Noni hands out severe punishments for those who disrupt and dissent, her own insubordination and missteps are met with extreme violence from her superiors. As Noni learns more about Arel’s society for the first time, she finds herself beginning to question everything she thought she knew about the world she’s sworn to protect. Torn between her training and her confused emotions, Noni must decide which path is the right one.

ENCHAINED builds a post-apocalyptic dystopian society that’s rife with casual violence and bloodshed. It’s a cruel world, maybe at times too visceral to tolerate when its most innocent residents become victims. The plot moves at a near break-neck pace to the point of exhaustion, with fight scenes, chases, and extreme punishments lurking in almost every chapter. Though Noni’s experiences are well-detailed and the prose is easy to get into, her endless torrent of bruises, beatings, and injuries feels over-the-top, and she rarely gets a break from the abuse put on her poor body. At times the plot wanders too much, but Noni’s journey of discovery and ultimately her questioning Arel’s authoritarian class system is woven effectively throughout. Her budding friendship with a plebeian slave—forbidden and the biggest risk she’s taken yet—creates the most compelling source of conflict in the novel.

A lot of the darker elements in ENCHAINED are a patchwork of many other dystopian tales, but Noni’s perspective as law enforcement does add something a little different to the narrative. She’s at turns merciless and robotic, a product of lifelong training; once she begins to find her humanity, the story starts to take shape. However, the commentary on a racial class system—in Arel, the noble class including the arbiters are dark-skinned, while the slaves are light-skinned—never really works. It feels contrived and unnecessary, lacking a genuine voice and a nuanced approach. ENCHAINED ends on a rather abrupt cliffhanger, which leaves a lot of room for the next intense book in this new series.

ENCHAINED brings an interesting entry into the genre, with a compelling protagonist whose journey is to discover her own sense of humanity.

~Jessica Thomas for IndieReader

Midwest Book Review

Enchained is Book 1 in a trilogy of the same name and tells of Noni, who has just become a member of the honored Martial Diplomatic Corps, an organization for top achievers tasked with visiting the maternity wards and taking the healthiest children from their mothers. These children (as was she) are raised in bunkers and are trained in the letter of the law.

Corps membership and becoming the "arbiter of Arel" is their pinnacle of achievement, but failure to pass this final test means death—and that's the position Noni is in at the novel's opening. She passes the test; but then the real challenge begins: observing her world with changed perceptions for the first time in her life.

Enchained is more than the story of a young girl's coming of age: it's a study on social abuse, reality checks, attacks, battles and struggles with the populace, and Noni's coming of age as she breaks with her military training and traditions to become cognizant of much greater issues and dilemmas.

Noni's process of realization, from her early confrontations with attackers holding weaponry they should not possess ("I follow her across the crosswalk to the inner wall and back to one of the stairwells that lead downward into my city, unable to shake this feeling that something is not right.") to struggles with her newfound role as arbiter representing a system she may ultimately not wish to support, documents the awakening of a girl rigidly trained to adhere to a particular social and political paradigm, and what it takes to introduce doubt and revelation into that mindset.

If this sounds complicated, be advised that Enchained is actually billed as young adult reading; so both mature teens and new adult readers will find it easily compelling and understandable on social, political, and psychological levels. Action and engagements are strengthened by the powerful character of Noni as she faces her ambitions and dreams.

Twists and turns of plot keep readers both on edge and involved, the outcomes of Noni's growth process are unpredictable on many levels, and readers of dystopian young adult works will find Enchained holds many bigger-picture moments that expands Noni's perceptions with insights into various forms of enslavement and the kinds of encounters that shake certainty and reality to its roots: "Our lives out here and at other outposts may seem rough and a bit uncouth to some, but this is our reality,” Commandant Jensen explains. “Arel is the only place where civilization thrives.”

Is Noni really tasked with bringing stability to her world, as is her perception and the ideal of her superiors; or is she part of the forces that would subjugate it?

Engrossing moral and ethical dilemmas, Noni's growth, and her journey create a compelling vision of what comprises humanity, enslavement, and freedom, making for a highly recommended saga that is original, absorbing, and nearly impossible to put down.

The International Review of Books

Character Development: 4 out of 5
Plot Development: 5 out of 5
Flow of Plot: 4 out of 5

Overall rating: 4 out of 5

A line in the book that stood out to the reviewer:

“I stomp on a smoldering sleeve of someone’s jacket as I focus on where I need to be in order to avoid the third set of flames.”—Enchained by Janet McNulty

In the space of a futuristic or distant city, Janet McNulty paints a harsh and horrifying reality of a police state hemorrhaging violence and cruelty. The most robust children, harvested at birth, are relegated to a life of structure and trained as future Arbiters. Their sole purpose to honor without question the laws and prejudice of their society. Sequestered within the confining walls of Arel, the underclass of Plebeians serve with forced obedience and ghoulish sentences are disbursed for minor infractions. The intensity of action and mayhem is unrelenting. Arel is a city of chaotic peace monitored by brutal force. The main character Noni has just passed the final test as Arbiter. Through her routine positioning throughout the city, she witnesses the disparaging differences between the classes. A situation arises, and Noni is left outside the city walls injured and forced to rely on a Plebeian servant for help. Inklings of compassion surface as Noni questions the morals of her nation. McNulty’s occasional clumsy sentence structure causes intermittent pauses in an otherwise flawless flow through a developed plot. The intensity of action would have been better savored with a temperance of insight into Noni’s head following horrific scenes such as the breaking of a newborn’s neck and tossing the limp body into an incinerator. A few sleepless nights did not constitute the internal struggle of such a morbid action. Enchained by Janet McNulty is a high-intensity action adventure that questions the innate fragments of humanity that exist beyond force.

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 06/2018
  • 9781941488843
  • 488 pages
  • $35.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2018
  • 978-1941488812
  • 488 pages
  • $19.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • B07DWQQ61T
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99
Ebook Details
  • 06/2018
  • 488 pages
  • $4.99

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