The New Life Series by Samantha Jacobey
I will say first off that I have been very lucky to have the opportunity to read all 7 books one after the other so the cliff hanger situations that were in place for individual books were not such a big deal for me, knowing that I was diving straight into the following book without the agonising wait for the next edition to be published. But for the purpose of this review, I am reviewing each book individually.
Book 1: Captive
This will rip your heart out and set it in a jar on the shelf to taunting you mercilessly. This is one of the most gut wrenching stories I have read in a long time, and that is not a statement I say lightly.
This is Tori’s story and I won’t say life because what she has is in no way any semblance of living it is existence at the most basic of levels. She has been brought up by The Dragon’s a gang that done nothing but use and abuse her. With no idea of who she really is, her real name or what it is like to be normal, Tori will break your heart as she recalls her life to Eli, an FBI agent.
Some of the events that she has endured have been brutal and my heart felt like it was about to implode when the true horror of her existence was being unfurled. The writing was graphic and I commend the author for sticking to her guns and giving no nod to pleasantries in dumbing down her content, Tori deserved that we suffered her horror alongside her. Tears are not optional when reading this... they are necessary as is a hefty dose of alcohol.
Tori herself may be and victim of circumstance but deep inside there is a glorious human being who is just screaming to be set free.
Whilst Tori is rightly the centre of attention in this book I couldn’t help but find Eli absolutely glorious. He was far from the usual character that we would normally get in books of this genre, happy in his own skin, with bucket loads of empathy and an edgy hint of alpha thrown into the mix.
This was a superbly crafted story that drew not only on dark situations but also on the determination of the human spirit and the absolute resolution that while death may have been more merciful, survival was paramount.
Some aspects of this book were physically difficult to take but the disgust that I honestly felt was magnetic, it will attract you to the plight of Tori, it will strip you bare and leave you shivering in her shadow.
Book Two: Bound
Tori has left Chicago and is now in Los Angeles and living in temporary accommodation, something that she will have to endure for the next 6 months. Stepping out, away from the friends she had in Chicago is daunting but it was good to see Tori stand on her own two feet.
Learning what it takes to be a productive member of society is a full time task but when a blast from the past shows up, she is bowled over
L A revives an old passion in Tori, Music. Spending time working in a music store has re-ignited the love of music that she had as a kid. But the store is doing more than that it is bolstering her self-confidence and giving her and foothold in business management. Tori is beginning to come to the fore, oozing confidence, making friends and dealing with her issues but just as she gets ready to cut herself free from the chains that have held her firm for the last 6 months, she is dealt a devastating blow- the past is back and this time she takes off!!
Tori’s story has me completely hooked – and I am struggling to contain my excitement as I head into book 3.
Book 3: Entwined
So when are you ever free, never if your name is Tori Farrell because despite being out of the gang and away from the Dragons, she is still playing life by the rules of others. The FBI have her on a tight leash. She may think she has autonym by what is freedom if it is within a confined space.
Taking control of her life she starts the wheels of her future spinning and to hell with the consequences. Can she get what she wants or will they be back to wrestle the control from her hands?
This feisty little madam has a plan to make good on the events that shaped her childhood and it will take a strong man to stand in her way because e=backing down is not an option, as far as she is concerned.
I liked Michael but found it difficult to understand Tori’s need to play her cards so close to her chest where he was concerned. She was so guarded and that was a shame because Michael deserved better.
Change is never easy and for Tori that is the who crux of the issue. She has come so far but she has some much more to achieve. The story continues to deliver on the emotional intensity and Tori is beginning to take shape and with that I was hopelessly enthralled.
Book 4: Exposed
Michael and Tori have tied the knot, and now Tori has another challenge to overcome, the illusion of life that she had considered was going to be her life after her marriage.
The FBI are back and as she is still technically a minor, she is still required to comply with their wishes and playing hardball they have left her under no illusion in as much as she wants to stand alone, they can take everything she loves away from her in the blink of an eye. She feels that her life is being dictated and I have to admit that I agree, it was no more than beaurocratical bullying.
Living with the decisions that she is now being forced to make, Tori garners the inner strength that she has now cultivated and heads back to a life that she had left far behind. Having fought so hard to become a better person that those that she grew up around, she knows that she just has to remember that this is all for an end cause that wills finally free of everyone’s demands.
I doubted Tori and her fortitude, the thought of her stepping back was one that didn’t sit well with me, it made me doubt all the progress she had made but I understand that sometimes you have to have the opportunity to wipe your own slate clean and this was Tori laying her ghosts to rest but would this come back to bite her – I hope not!
Book 5: Indelible
I have raised an eyebrow in this book on more than one occasion. Tori is back in a situation that I am really struggling with and as much as I wanted to accept that it was her form of closure I can’t help but feel that she is being selfish.
She had left it behind and moved on to a relationship with Michael, a man that was so good for her that I feel she showed her naivety and her lack of emotional growth, she was right back to being a kid again and only putting her needs first, Michael was supportive but I felt she was dismissive at times of him and his needs.
I have to say thought that this book brought a much needed lull in the drama and angst that has plagued Tori so far.
We got a chance to feel the story in this book rather than to have to gird our loins for the usual depravity.
Book 6: Intrepid
Tori is making the best of her situation, fighting to find a way to make sure that she comes out of the current situation intact.
The band is not normal, nothing is normal for her, everything has a hidden meaning and is cloaking the truth but she hangs on to the hope that the deceit will wash over her and that she can make good on her promise to herself to hang on to the her that she wants to me not what they expect from her.
But with all the subterfuge, sanity is hard to come by as is comfort... old demons and players from her past hit hard with Tori and she continues to struggle as not to fall back into old ways. She can’t seem to shake them free, no matter how hard she tries. I had issues with just how far she was prepared to go in some respects but I also got the fact that she was trying to get it over and done with and that most of her actions where mechanical in response, automatic, with no consideration or emotion for anyone and any consequences and that was also for the effect that they had on her.
The spectre of what is to come looms large in her life and her sanity is hanging by a thread but this young woman is almost ready to shatter into a million pieces, her resolve is tenuous but her heart is huge and she has had a taste of life on the right side of happy and she hopes that she can make it back.
Book 7: Avenged
A conclusion, and what a conclusion it is.
Deception is rife but finally the organisation was on the back foot and the end was in sight. The book was pitched to perfection in regard to delivering suspense that has ebbed and flowed through the whole series.
But I read the whole book with one thing at the forefront of my mind… does Tori get to be happy? She fluctuated and as she did so did my hope, she regressed to the girl that was dragged up by the Dragons but when the resolution finally reaches its peak, Tori is magnificent. You go girl!!
Finally I got the Tori that I wanted to see, one that could stand tall and show the world that she was a survivor. One that demanded and deserved respect and one that had found her place in life.
This is quite simply a fantastic series but it is one not to be taken lightly, it will open your eyes to situations that are not for the faint hearted and it will make you question so many aspects of what we consider to be acceptable. But it will leave you with one flicker of hope, that no matter what, your inner spirit is what defines you.