(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on December 1st 2015
Genres: Love & Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Freedom comes at a cost...Ella was genetically engineered to be the perfect pet-graceful, demure...and kept. In a daring move, she escaped her captivity and took refuge in Canada. But while she can think and act as she pleases, the life of a liberated pet is just as confining as the Congressman's gilded cage. Her escape triggered a backlash, and now no one's safe, least of all the other pets. But she's trapped, unable to get back to Penn-the boy she loves-or help the girls who need her. Back in the United States, pets are turning up dead. With help from a very unexpected source, Ella slips deep into the dangerous black market, posing as a tarnished pet available to buy or sell. If she's lucky, she'll be able to rescue Penn and expose the truth about the breeding program. If she fails, Ella will pay not only with her life, but the lives of everyone she's tried to save...
Tarnished is the second book in the Perfected series by Kate Jarvik Birch and I have to say, I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than the first book. Where book one established the back story and the basis for the situations Ella faces in this book, this one felt a bit different. Tarnished has quite a bit of action, some swoony bits, and progress within the story. I loved that we got to learn a bit more about the kennels and the rebel group.
Ella has definitely changed since she moved in with the Congressman and his family. This book kicks off with her in Canada at a safe house since she successfully made it over the border but it isn’t like she expected…mostly because Penn isn’t with her. Because of that, she decides she needs to go back to him so they can get away together. When she sees Penn at a press conference with his father, she immediately puts her plan into action. What she didn’t count on was running into someone from her past. She also didn’t count on that person to help her get back to Penn.
As Ella makes her way back to Penn, she gets exposure to the black market and the seedy side of life as a pet. She definitely takes some risks here and I appreciated how she didn’t shy away from them. In addition to that, she began to stand up for herself and I think that pushed people to look at her differently.
The relationship between Ella and Penn is interesting. Having read book one a while ago I needed to go back to understand how it developed. While I liked both of these characters, I wasn’t sure why either would be willing to risk so much for each other. It could be just the time that elapsed from when I first read about their budding relationship but I needed a reminder as to why they would be open to risking everything just to be with each other.
We definitely find out more about everything with this installment. I loved the part where the girls were infiltrating the kennels to obtain more information. They definitely faced their worst nightmare and were rewarded with quite the haul of information which not only helped them expose what is really going on, but it created additional risks and concerns for Ella.
If you are looking for a new dystopian that has plenty of action and a great story, definitely consider this book. I admit, the idea of pets that look and act human intrigued me and as I learned more in this book about what was really happening, I was even more interested. I don’t know what that says about me but I do know that tells me Birch wrote a good book.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy.