Scorched, by Mari Mancusi, for Timeslip Tuesday

It's kind of late in the day, and this book kind of didn't work for me, but Timeslip Tuesday has a powerful pull on my spirit, so here are my tired and somewhat rambling thoughts on Scorched, by Mari Mancusi (Sourcebooks Fire Sept. 2013)-- time travel from an appolyptic future with dragons, which is a pretty great hook.  In my mind, however, the book doesn't quite do it justice.

The future is a scorched wasteland, because once dragons were rediscovered they were genetically manipulated to be weapons, and they got loose and burned with savage ferocity and were pretty impossible to kill, unless you were a really good dragon killer.   And in this burny future, one young woman from our time was pretty much blamed for bringing dragons back into the world, even though she wasn't the bad dragon gene manipulator.

In the present, this young woman, Trinity, has no idea that the dragon's egg her grandpa just paid all their last money for really is a dragon's egg, or that she and the baby dragon are destined to be psycically bonded soul-mates.   So it's something of a surprise to her when a strange dude from the future, Connor, shows up to stop the egg from becoming a dragon (saving the future from its scorching).  Adding to the surprise is the arrival of a homeland security type swat team (though how they knew to come wasn't clear to me) who want her to surrender the egg to them. 

Connor wants Trinity to trust him, and to agree that her unhatched dragon should be destroyed.  But Connor has a twin brother, Caleb, who has also traveled back through time who wants Trinity to trust him instead, and to save the dragon to breed a race of unkiller dragons who will be good for humanity.  What ensues is a lot of the two guys telling her to trust them, her being uncertain about who to trust, and insta love with both of them (complicated by trust issues).

The book has an exciting beginning, a rather long middle of trust issues and explication that didn't explicate much, and an ending of sudden excitement that was almost enough to make me want to read the next book (Shattered).  But Sorched wasn't to my taste.  I was uninterested by the middle, and grew sick of Caleb calling Trinity "Princesses" (which he did every time he opened his mouth just about), and unconvinced by the world building (like the existence of a Nether world that can be accessed by people with psychic gifts such as the twins and Trinity where there's lots of wish fulfilment), and the whole business of loving bonds with dragons wasn't fresh and new and fascinating to me (though Trinity's dragon is rather charming) and the whole issue of events in the present changing the future was murky at the beginning, and became much more so.  Connor, for instance, is bent on changing the future even if the hellish one he's come from full of killer dragons will continue on in one version of reality, but at least humanity will be spared in an another, if he can change things, which seems odd, but even more complicating was the fact that folks from Caleb's faction were bouncing back into Trinity's time right and left so there doesn't actually seem to be any sort of uncontaminated present left to change.  And where on earth did the mutated dragons in the secret lab come from if Trinity's dragon was the only one left???? 

Mancusi's writing didn't gel for me;  too often, I found myself reading it with an eye for how it wasn't working for me, rather than as a story I was interested in.  And that, along with too many questions, too much time on trust issues (though goodness knows, they were required by the set up), double the usual insta love, and too many princess references makes me not able to actually recommend this one with anything but a rather tepid "it is an interesting idea and if you love baby dragons and double insta love sounds fun and you are cool with psychic powers having popped up in humanity with our heroine just happening to have her fair share along with dragon bonding you might want to read it."

Book number two, Shattered, which came out Sept 2014, sounds better because instead of bad guys from the future manipulating not just the characters but time itself (with no explanation of How they do it) it sounds like straightforward girl and the two guys in love with her on the run from government agents who want her baby dragon.  Which seems like it make for a tighter, more holding together sort of story.

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