Review: Torn by Erica O’Rourke

Publication Date: June 28th, 2011
Kensington Teen
Format:  Paperback, 311 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Everyone has secrets.
Even best friends.

Swirling black descends like ravens, large enough to block the glow of the streetlights. A dull roar starts like a train on the ‘L’, a far-away rumbling that grows louder as it pulls closer, until it’s directly overhead and you feel it in your chest, except this doesn’t pass you by. Verity, white-faced and eyes blazing, shouts through the din, “Run, Mo!”

Mo Fitzgerald knows about secrets. But when she witnesses her best friend’s murder, she discovers Verity was hiding things she never could have guessed. To find the answers she needs and the vengeance she craves, Mo—quiet, ordinary, unmagical Mo—will have to enter a world of raw magic and shifting alliances. And she’ll have to choose between two very different, equally dangerous guys—protective, duty-bound Colin and brash, mysterious Luc. One wants to save her, one wants to claim her. Which would you choose?

Two guys. Two worlds. Two destinies. One Choice.

Yikes. I know right? The love triangle alarm is blaring in my ears. I should’ve really ran for the hills. Let me be honest and say I didn’t see that blurb when I started reading. Otherwise, Torn would’ve been thrown in a pile of maybe-never. I have an aversion to love triangle but for once, this book actually handled it in a way that didn’t incite some self-inflicted eyes gouging.

This book was quite a pleasant surprise. In a way, it was reminiscent of Holly Black’s Curse Workers’ series. Mafia and magic – seems like an odd combination but they somehow worked.

Maura Fitzgerald just witnessed the horrifying murder of her best friend, Verity.  She tried to convince herself that it was only a case of being in the wrong place and at the wrong time. But deep inside, she knew that there was no such thing for someone like her. After all, her family’s ties to the mob was as notorious as her father’s reputation as a money-laundering felon. They have enemies – seen and now, seemingly unseen. She made a promise to avenge her death but there are forces in the works that her usually quiet existence didn’t prepare her for. With a hired bodyguard keeping an eye on her every move, and a shady boy who keeps on popping in places when she least expects him to, Mo’ finds out eventually that getting entangled with the mob would be a walk in the park compared to the world that she’s about to stumble into.
It’s quite funny…and weird how the fated saviour of the entire world as we know it was killed right off the bat, so the story focused on the second-fiddle. I hard a hard time accepting it first because of the numerous times I was told that Mo’ (hate that name, by the way!) would never amount to anything as glorious as saving the world. But as the story unfolds, Mo’s determination to find Verity’s killers became the spine that she initially lacked.
If you ask me, I think the blurb on the front cover was a bit misleading. The love triangle wasn’t really the focal point of the story until closer to the end when Colin questionably and without warning, started to change the way he saw Mo and how he acted around her. The author eliminated much of the agony that I go through when I read love triangles – and to which, I’m very thankful. The lead charater didn’t even waffle about the two love interests until…well, like I said, until closer to the end. Mo spent the majority of the book, angsting over what amounts to betrayal had she return Luc’s advances. You see, like her, I was under the impression that Luc and Verity had a thing and to some extent, they did. The author didn’t really spend too much time explaining about the complexities of their relationship nor did she do a good job of convincing me that Luc could just fall in like with Mo based on Verity’s stories about her alone.
I do wish that the magic and incantations or spells were a bit more evolved. I don’t know about you but I tend to like magic books filled with words I can’t quite pronounced. When an author describes the spell as something fluid, indiscernible and foreign, without really divulging more about it, I feel like it’s a cop out way of saying, I couldn’t be bothered with research…or being original for that matter.
Despite my grievances, I found Torn to be an enjoyable read. It had action set in two worlds that had no business intersecting, a reluctant heroine bound for greatness, and a promising romance which is sure to give me future headaches :). But hey, I feel that we barely scratched the surface of this mystical world and Mo’s ‘inherited’ powers has barely been tapped. I have the second book and rest assured, it’s going up a notch or two in my insurmountable TBR pile.