New Release Review: Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins
BookCrushin is thrilled to have been given an eARC of NAMELESS by Jennifer Jenkins from Month9Books. I don’t even remember what the blurb said about Nameless; I just remember reading the blurb and thinking, “Hell, yeah! Sign me up!” I finished the book yesterday and haven’t stopped telling my friends about it. It’s a must-read. Also awesome news, Nameless is in development for film by Benderspink! That’s the same company who optioned Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and produced the I am Number Four film!
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.
Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.
What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.
“Her name is Zo.”
Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins is a kick-ass book. It sucked me in from the first page – the very first page! – and I devoured the rest of the story in a day and a half.
This is the story of Zo, an emotionally shattered healer from the Wolf clan, who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram. In Zo’s world, the Ram are at the top of the food chain and the surrounding clans (Wolf, Kodiak, Raven) fight for survival against the Rams’ brutal attacks. Zo figures she has nothing to lose, but she is wrong – her sister, Tess, who is only eight, follows her into the Ram compound and Zo suddenly must do anything and everything to ensure Tess’ survival. The title “Nameless” derives from the group of slaves who belong to the Ram, Zo included. What Zo doesn’t expect is to feel kinship toward any of the Ram, including a 13-year-old boy, Joshua, whom she must heal immediately upon her arrival at the compound.
The writing in this book is powerful; I could picture everything and was beside Zo for the entire story. The attention to detail is just amazing. As I was reading, I thought, Wow, the author must have really researched warfare strategies, and I was completely unsurprised to find out that Ms. Jenkins studied history (solidarity for history majors!) – her knowledge is obvious and impressive. I appreciate any book that, despite being fiction, is still grounded in fact.
The plot is intricate and rewarding, with richly developed characters that I adored. Zo is fantastic; she is strong and loyal and smart, all qualities that I love in a heroine. Gryphon is equally all of these characteristics, and they are both torn about everything they thought they knew to be true; namely, that people of opposing clans can have humanity and deserve to be treated with compassion. Joshua is my favorite character; he is sweet, winsome, and loving. He is fiercely loyal, both to Gryphon and to Zo, and it is his loyalty that ties the story together.
The book is obviously the first in a planned series, so it does not wrap up completely at the end – be warned. I am already salivating for the sequel.
5/5 Stars: Gritty, brutal, well-written, and amazingly developed with engaging characters. Loved it!
With her degree in History and Secondary Education, Jennifer had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, she’s obsessed with ancient warfare.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, she feels blessed to be able to fulfill both her ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.
Jennifer has three children who are experts at naming her characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom she is secretly afraid).