Author: Jessica Therrien
Publisher: ZOVA Books
May Contain Spoilers
Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning – and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.
I love Greek mythology, so when I first saw Oppression, I immediately added it to my TBR. Jessica Therrien is a debut author, which added even more weight to my desire to read the book. I love discovering new titles and new authors, so I was definitely eager to start reading this.
I love the premise. Elyse is a Descendant, a race of people once considered gods. She ages much slower than normal humans, and her blood can heal. Since the death of her parents, she has been alone, keeping her abilities a secret. Her only friend is Anna, a woman she has known since childhood. Elyse knows nothing about her background or her people. All she knows is that she is different. When she meets William, a mysterious and handsome young man, she is suddenly thrust into a strange and dangerous new world. William is also a Descendant, and he holds the answers that Elyse is desperately seeking.
While I liked Elyse, I did not feel much affection for William. He knows all about Elyse, and at first, he refuses to divulge his knowledge. There is a scary girl stalking her, so I thought that telling Elyse what was going would have been the gentlemanly thing for William to do. But, no, William flat out refuses to tell her. He throws little tidbits of information to her throughout the book, which put him in a position of power over her that I did not like. I did not think he was cute or sexy, and I was hoping like heck that some other guy would suddenly appear and treat her like an equal, instead of like a child. No such luck. I can’t tell you how irritating it was for me when he called her “adorable” because she was confused and apprehensive about her safety. It didn’t endear him to me. It was mean and patronizing, and it made me wish that Elyse would fall for some other guy. This particular trope is used far too often in YA, and it drives me batty every time I encounter it.
Other aspects of the story did work for me, though. Elyse must keep her bloodline and abilities a secret, and she can never help ordinary humans. This causes one heck of a dilemma for her when her best friend, Anna, is diagnosed with an illness. Should she use her powers to cure her? Will the Council, the group of individuals who rule over the Descendants, let Anna live if she does cure her friend?
Over time, the Council has become cruel and corrupt, and they don’t hesitate to severely punish anyone who goes against their rules. They have taken enormous interest in Elyse because of a prophesy, and they want to keep her firmly under their control. Kara, the scary stalker girl, works for the Council, and she has been charged with keeping an eye on Elyse and reporting back with every little thing she does. Kara is even more frightening because she can read minds. There are no secrets safe from her, which Elyse quickly discovers. I thought that was an unfair advantage that the bad guys possessed, but, hey, I guess all is fair in love and war. The Descendant Kara works for is freaky, too. He’s from the line of Ares, and he is brutally violent. He takes pleasure in making others suffer. He is a super scary guy, and I came to dread his entrance into scenes with as much trepidation as Elyse. Ugh! I kept hoping he would just DIE! While he was one-dimensional, he was still fun to hate.
While certain story threads didn’t work for me, I am interested enough in the ones that did to read the next installment of the Children Of The Gods. I think that fans of Bree Despain and Lauren Kate will feel right at home here.
Grade: Waffling between a B and B-
Review copy provided by author