Blog Tour Review: The Lair

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.

Blog Tour Review: The LairThe Lair by Emily McKay
Series: The Farm #2
Published by Berkley on November 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository

In the battle against the vampiric Ticks, humanity was slowly but certainly headed for extinction. For months, twin sisters Lily and Mel had been "quarantined” with thousands of other young people being harvested for their blood—food for the Ticks. Finally escaping with a few friends, the twins are separated—and must continue the fight on their own . . . 

After making it to a resistance base camp in Utah, Lily learned to survive at all costs. But when a Tick attack decimates the fighters, Lily and her pregnant friend, McKenna, decide to make the hard trek north to Canada—and safety.

Meanwhile, Mel is being taught how to survive by the very vampire that turned her. Living without her sister is hard, but dealing with the fact that her autism was cured by the vampire bite is an even bigger challenge.

But when a monstrous betrayal places Lily in mortal danger, Mel must set out to find her, save her, and begin to unravel the empire of destruction that the Ticks have built.

Though I enjoyed The Farm by Emily McKay, I was somewhat on the fence about continuing with the series. It was one of those situations where the first book ended in such a way as to leave me unsure whether I would like the next book. Many of the big positives in The Farm looked like they would be eradicated in book two, making room for more things that would annoy me. Then the option to join the blog tour arrived in my inbox, which I took as a sign I should give The Lair a fair shot. Though I was unsure if it was a wise decision for a while, I actually ended up liking The Lair slightly more than The Farm, because I think the story branches out a bit and gets more daring here.

The oddest thing about The Lair is the narrative voice that McKay used. In The Farm, McKay used two first person POVs (for Lily and Mel) and a third person POV for Carter, Lily’s love interest. In The Lair, McKay again uses two first person narratives and one third, only now Lily’s in third person and Carter in first. The mixture of first and third person narratives isn’t a style I particularly care for anyway, but I do find the switch here even more puzzling. It wasn’t all that annoying, but I did spend a lot of time wondering why this change was made.

By far the strongest element to The Lair is the horror. McKay has a background in romance, which makes the fact that she’s so good at the scary stuff even more impressive. I imagine it must have been a nice change of pace from writing sexy scenes. This world has two different kinds of vampires, slavering ticks and more traditional ones. Even the pretty vampires, though, are not remotely romantic figures, which I greatly appreciate. There’s one scene where Lily’s being hunted by a tick in a Walmart that was truly terrifying, as it was reminiscent of that scene in Jurassic Park where the two kids are in the kitchen with the velociraptors.

The plot actually surprised me too. Where everything had been fairly straight forward and predictable, the end of The Lair actually surprised me. That part also separated the romance and overturned the aspects I hadn’t been as sure about. The novel goes out on a really strong note that makes me definitely want to continue with the series. I was especially happy to learn that the villain Roberto, View Spoiler »

Finally, there’s Mel. Her perspective in The Farm was one of the my favorite parts of the book. Mel’s autistic and has this very unique way of thinking, which I think McKay reflected quite well. I especially love her use of nursery rhymes to understand the world. At the end of The Farm, Mel was turned into a vampire, which “cured” her autism. Now, I was really concerned that this aspect would be offensive, but I really loved the way that McKay treated this sensitive subject and she also did a nice job showing the transition of Mel’s thoughts and behaviors as she becomes a vampire. For one thing, it does nicely highlight that the change to a vampire really alters a person, leaving them very much not who they were, which is cool. What makes it work is that Mel truly misses her way of thinking and never believes that she’s any better as she is now. Autistic Mel is not held up as a figure of shame or judgment in the least.

The only aspect that I didn’t like was the romance. I’m just not feeling Lily and Carter. Though it’s not instalove since they knew each other in school before they met up in The Farm, the cheesiness of the way they talk to each other makes me lose interest in their relationship. Carter’s so alpha male protective of her and he would literally do anything to save her, which seems a bit intense for the amount of time they’ve been together. The saving grace here is that Lily, no matter how much he pushes, does not bend to his overprotective demands ever. Not only does she tell him that she’s a strong, independent woman, but she backs it up with actions.

Readers who enjoyed The Farm and were on the fence about continuing, I pronounce The Lair worthy. If you were unsure about starting on the series, this is a great choice for horror lovers.

Favorite Quote:

“When you say it like that, manipulating and controlling all of humankind to bring about the apocalypse almost sounds like a good thing.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

It's like this, only instead of a velociraptor, it's a mindless vampire.

It’s like this, only instead of a velociraptor, it’s a mindless vampire.

6 responses to “Blog Tour Review: The Lair”

  1. Oh, yes! Carter’s alpha male crap did drive me bananas. I noted that in my own review as well 🙂 I loved the horror aspects all around in these books.
    Becky LeJeune recently posted…The Lost Girls of Rome by Donato CarrisiMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      The alpha male stuff just is not cute to me at all. But at least Lily stood up to it. Still, she shouldn’t have to.

  2. I loved Mel’s POV and I’m happy that the author managed to write a good story around her change. I was also afraid it might look like she would be a ‘better’ person now, but this sounds believable! I also didn’t care much forthe romance between Lily & Carter, but the horror aspect in this book is luckily good enough to make me forget about that.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 218. Suzanne Weyn – The diamond secret.My Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Me too. It had a really unique flair. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but I think autism varies a lot and I found it convincing. If she had been ‘better,’ I would have thrown a fit, because one of my good friends is autistic and that shit’s not cool. She’s different, and if anything liked her previous self better.

      I agree. The romance was unfortunate, but the book kept that mostly to a minimum and the horror was good enough to make the book worthwhile despite that. 🙂

  3. Your review in a gif was hilarious! I haven’t read The Farm yet, even though I have it on my list. I heard such mixed reviews about it. Now that I know the 2nd one is out I need to bump it up the list though.
    Dana (Little Lovely Books) recently posted…Adding to the Stacks #10My Profile

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