Author: Jessica Gollub
Release Date: January 11, 2014
Burying the truth in the snow can’t conceal it forever. Leona was born a survivor-one of the few sheltered in a prison that withstood the plummeting temperatures of the frozen days. Now, as the weather slowly warms, she struggles to understand a culture and society vastly different than the one created by her elders. Standing on the cusp of her seventeenth birthday, the day she will officially become a woman and eligible for marriage, the tiny world she had long since accepted suddenly seems stifling. Conflicts and curiosity propel her beyond the fences of her home into a barren and uncertain future, with one asset that just might keep her alive. (Indigo)
It was cold.
It was always cold.
I received an eBook copy of The Mark of the Hummingbird directly from the lovely Jessica Gollub herself through a twitter ‘giveaway’ of sorts! This review is based solely on my genuine feelings about the book and has no way been influenced by receiving a copy from the author.
I didn’t know a lot about this book when I entered and subsequently received a copy of it. I was excited to read it because hey, it’s a free book! Then I saw the cover and was even more intrigued. I briefly skimmed the summary and was sure this was going to be one of my first books on my summer TBR list.
Going into reading this book pretty well blind (I hadn’t heard of it before and I was unfamiliar with Jessica as an author), I didn’t have any ‘pre-reading expectations’ for The Mark of the Hummingbird. This is exactly why it was such a great, pleasant, incredible, etc. surprise. I absolutely loved this book! I had so many feelings while reading it…and once I finished it…and probably will weeks later as well.
The main character in this story, Leona, was great. I absolutely loved her. I founder her hard-headedness to be endearing (likely because that’s one of my…finer…qualities as well. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was, but something about Leona made me feel connected to her from the very beginning. I felt that she was fiercely passionate about and loyal to the important people in her life, even in the most difficult moments. If Leona were a real person, I think her and I would get along quite well.
Another character that stood out to me from the start was Ember. Her story moved me and I loved how selfless she was. I wasn’t sure where her story would mesh with Leona’s later on in the novel, but I was quite pleased that Ember remained such a large part of The Mark of the Hummingbird.
I don’t want to give too much away, so I’m going to keep my blurb on my favourite male character short and sweet. Buck…good ole’ Buck. He sent my emotions on the craziest roller coaster. I flip-flopped between hating, loving and feeling otherwise indifferent towards him. He was interesting and he was one of the characters that always got some sort of emotional reaction from me, be it good or bad.
Now for the actual story. I will admit, at first I was a little confused by the different/separate story lines and flash backs. I don’t think I was overly attentive when I started reading and didn’t clue and pick up on the labelling of who each story belonged to. I caught up quickly, however, and learned my lesson. Don’t be lazy. Pay attention to the details of every page, they’re there for a reason, you goof. (Being a goof is the best explanation for how I missed it :P)
Once I caught up, paid attention, and got into the meat of The Mark of the Hummingbird, I absolutely loved the set up of the different stories. Puzzles are my favourite things. This was like a giant puzzle. I knew eventually everything would circle around and connect and I felt like the book was issuing me a personal challenge to figure it out! I’m competitive by nature so challenge accepted!!
Usually I love it when I figure something out and then the author throws a wrench in what I’m sooooo positive will happen, and on the flip side I’m usually not impressed when I see something coming from a mile a way and that’s exactly what happens. Well, Jessica, you got me. One of the things I saw coming from a good distance away, but it was so crazy and amazing that I was desperate for things to turn out that way. Meanwhile, as my reading was coloured by my search for hints to support my big, crazy theory, there was a huge twist brewing that I didn’t see! I was so caught up that I didn’t see the more obvious twist. Unbelievable!
It’s been a really long time since a book last made my jaw drop.
Consider that dry spell broken. It was so simple, so obvious, and yet I missed it. Ahhh, you got me, you got me good.
This book was an incredibly easy read. Once I got into it, the reading flew by. I felt like I was in all the different settings, got lost in the problems and back stories of the various characters. It hooked me. This book would be great to take out on the deck with a nice cold drink or to the park to catch some sun while you read. Beautiful summer weather also helps to combat all the cold that happens in the story OR, if you really want to immerse yourself in what’s happening, crank the AC, make a warm drink and snuggle under a blanket while you read. 🙂
The only downside to this book was that it took me a couple tries to get into it. I don’t know why, maybe I wasn’t in the right mind frame to start a new book? Either way, my gut feeling was that once I started, I’d love it so I’m glad I kept positive and just kept trying!
FINAL VERDICT: Oh Jessica, this book has my heart. I felt so incredibly emotional and snuggly and affectionate when I got to the end of it. I felt like I was the characters. I was living everything with them. I received this eBook directly from her for free, but let me tell you…I’m buying a physical copy ASAP. I neeeeeed it on my shelf. I know there’s a big difference between wants and needs…this is still a need. I highly recommend this book. Actually, I’ve given the name to a few people already and I sincerely hope they listened.
There is a second book in the series coming. I cannot wait. I’m anxious and excited. I’m keeping a close eye on Twitter for when she announces the pending release of it. 😀