Touch (Denazen #1)
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.
Deznee Cross is a seventeen year old full of teen angst, defiance and the need for the next adrenaline high. Her Mother's been gone for longer than she can remember and she's left to her own devices much of the time because her dad works long hours as a high powered attorney for the local Denazen Corporation. He doesn't seem to care who she spends her time with so long as the police aren't involved and this lack of parental supervision is an open invitation for a teenager seeking attention. Dez lives recklessly and without concern for her safety or her reputation and if she can tick her dad off in the process, well, then, that's just the icing on the cupcake.
When Kale literally stumbles from out of nowhere into Dez's life late one night, she can think of no better (or faster) way to get on Dad's bad side then to bring him home. Almost as soon as she does though, she notices that Kale isn't like other guys in her town. He behaves as if he doesn't understand the simplest things like DVD's, empty vases, and he wears her borrowed shoes in the shower (refusing to give them back) and when she offers to help him clean his wounds, he acts as if simple human contact would kill him...or her. What Dez doesn't realize is that Kale isn't a normal guy but a high tech weapon designed to kill with one touch, literally.
When Dez's Dad comes home from work and sees Kale, his cover is blown and the secrets he's been hiding begin to unravel. Kale threatens to kill Dez, knowing that anything he touches with his bare skin dies - anything that is, except Dez. What happens next will set in motion a series of events that will have the two of them on the run and in the fight of their lives. They're journey will lead them to uncover the secrets the town has been keeping for years; that the people and things in it are not always what they seem and Kale isn't the only one with special abilities. In order to survive they'll have to learn to trust not only each other but those who claim to want to help them. They'll also discover whether or not love really can overcome anything, including a deadly touch.
I had a lot of hesitation when it came to starting this book. If you noticed, this was on my to-read/currently widget for about a month before I actually got around to reading it. I’ve heard great things about Touch, but I’ve also heard bad things too. I wasn’t sure how I’d react to it. After I finished it, I felt there were things I really enjoyed, but parts that made no sense to me. It just wasn’t a completed circle.
Deznee Cross has been lied to her whole life. Her father’s so called “law-firm” is really in institute that collects “specially” mutated people with special abilities, and trains them to be assassins for the government or the such. Kale, an escapee, somehow finds his way to her and together they must bring down this corporation once and for all before any other people are dragged into the mess and get hurt.
This is the first time I’m going to do a “list” review, where I’m going to talk about stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t like in separate parts. The parts I really enjoyed would’ve gotten this a really high rating from me, but there were several things that detracted, and I just couldn’t overlook them. So, I’ll go ahead with good news first:
What I liked:
Action and Plot
Touch is filled first page to last with non-stop action. It was heart wrenching and it made me so excited while reading this book. I think this is what made me like it the most. Jus Accardo is really great at building up suspense and just making it explode in your face! I honestly didn’t see any of her major plot twists coming, and the mystery completely enthralled me. I admit, I had my brows furrowed and mouth open at some points in Touch.
This poor boy has a completely tortured soul, and I really, really love him. I wished I lived in the Denazen world just so I would be able to heal him. He is a Six, who has run away from his captor Denazen, a institution for special mutated humans. It was really funny to watch him learn about the world outside of the one he grew up in, which lead to some pretty awkward, but cute, situations.
This girl knows exactly what she’s doing. At first, I really didn’t like her at all from her constant brattiness and naivety. But as Touch goes on, she becomes a really courageous and strong heroine of this series. She’s funny, independent, and a great narrator too! She is probably my favorite character in Touch, so far.
What I didn’t like:
It’s more like these things didn’t matter very much while I was reading, but when I really thought over the book, these are the things I wished were different.
I think that speaks for itself. I like Kale and Deznee as their own characters, but not the relationship they have. Some people like it/are okay with it, I’m not one of them. Um, unrealistic much?
Okay, Accardo’s casual use of partying all the time bugged me so much. I’m pretty sure the average high school student does not know every bar and party hot spot in the town, and is acquaintances with all these random college kids who know how to party it up. I’m pretty sure there isn’t even a college in Deznee’s town too. This is kind of me being picky though, and probably other readers won’t care about this at all.
The Big, Bad Secret
I can’t let this secret out, but let’s just say it really ticked me off. In other reviews, I said I hated it when authors make their protagonist “too special”, because in reality nobody would be as lucky as them. Lets just say Deznee’s super secret can be applied to that.
Touch of Death huh? Running away from the evil corporation? This reminded me so much of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Cursed (click for our review!), that I found it really found the supernatural twist to Touch a bit bland.
Overall, Touch was just okay. There are some things about that make it attractive and a good read, but there are holes in it that just made this feel like it was missing some “oomph”. I’m sure many people would fall in love with this book, and I’m also sure there are people who would just stop reading after the first 30 pages. I would recommend this if you are looking for something relatively short and interesting, just an everyday read. I’m going to give Toxic (Denazen #2) a try, to see what Accardo does with the world she created.
Accardo did an excellent job of creating a very realistic world of mutants (that’s the term I’m going to go with) reminiscent of X-Men or Heroes (evil corporation that tracks down all the mutants), so if you love them, you’ll devour this book. Deznee is the definition of the female character I love and adore. She is strong, determined, smart, witty, feisty, and fun. A rebellious teen at heart, she makes her own rules and looks out for herself. You’ll love her attitude and perspective on life, family, and love; she truly brings a refreshing take to the world of Young Adult nowadays.
All of Accardo’s characters were well-written and I adored sweet and innocent Kale. While reading this, he reminded me of Kyle from Kyle XY (loved that show), a curious, sexy guy hidden from the real world, with amazing super powers. Kale and Deznee’s relationship is crazy good from the moment they first see each other until the epic ending, I honestly couldn’t put this book down.
I’ve always been a sucker for stories about mutants and special powers. It’s more believable in the real world when genetics is such a volatile thing, you never know when the human gene is going to act up and spawn a new generation of people with special abilities. You’ll see people who can move things with their mind (telekinesis), shape-shift, prophecies, lie-detectors, etc. I loved the special abilities Accardo gave to her characters and you keep wondering what special power will show up next.
Trust me, you need to read this book. If you’re a fan of any of the references I mentioned above then you will devour this book like I did. Not only does Accardo thrill you with the world of the Sixes and their special abilities, she lures you in further with intimate, downright steamy scenes between Dez and Kale that leaves you wondering “Is she really allowed to write that?!?!”. Super addicting, wildly engaging, all mixed in with quite a few laughs, Jus Accardo will get you addicted to Touch and have you begging for more!
Hmm.... I like the cover, I presume from reading the book, the gorgeous guy on the front is Kale! I will readily admit at the very beginning of the book I found this book a little hard to follow I didn't really know immediately, whose Point of view the book was from, who the main character was, was it going to be Brandt, Gilman or this girl whose name we had yet to find out? I persevered with the very beginning and it turned out the main character is a girl called Deznee - odd name I know, but it makes perfect sense later in the book where her name came from.
It is a rather involved complex story, well worth reading. The book revolves around Kale, Deznee and Denazen, the company that Deznee's father works for. Deznee thinks that Denazen is a law firm, but that is only the front for something much much more sinister and dangerous.
It's very action packed, with a confused love triangle thrown in too.
As you will see in the blurb from Goodreads, Denazen is literally "kidnapping" kids with special powers and then holding them captive and using them to deal out Denazen's own brand of punishments to whom they see fit. So what special power does Kale have? Well I don't do spoilers but as it says above in the blurb I can say Kales touch Kills any living thing he touches be it human or plant, animal etc etc.
Can Kale evade being re-captured? Can Kale, Deznee and some of her friends bring down Denazen or will they end up being swallowed up into the corporation themselves? And why is Deznee suddenly so desperate to bring down Denazen and help the "prisoners" escape?
There are plenty of twists and turns along the way. I won't say too much as that would give away spoilers. So what can I compare it to? I would say if you have read and liked Replication by Jill Williamson then you would also really enjoy this book too. this book is book one in the Denazen Series and what a great start to a series, it has me hooked!
So, did I enjoy it? Slower to start but then really enjoyed it! Would I recommend it? Yes.
Would I read more of the Denazen Series? Already reading Untouched.... I have to find out what happens next!
Dez is exactly the type of heroine I love to read about! She's strong and independent and tough-as-nails, unwilling to back down from anyone or anything in the face of what she knows is right. She experiences gut-wrenchingly painful moments where we get to see a softer side, one where she's afraid to be hurt by allowing string to become attached. I did find that there were a few decisions she made that left me scratching my head, as she seemed to believe something too quickly, or make (what I thought was) the worst decision possible. But feeling like her father wished she hadn't been born, and having her heart recently-ish broken by her first love, it's easy to see why she laughs in the face of danger, and does the exact opposite of whatever her father asks - including running away with Kale.
I adored Kale. His fascination with trivial objects and the joy he got from seemingly mundane experiences was so endearing, it was impossible not to fall in love with him. His innocence makes his tender moments that much sweeter and his moments of anger all that more frightening. His impact on Dez was immediate, and her reactions to someone as unique and intriguing as Kale were believable because of it. His ignorance of social customs and everyday trivialities that we take for granted had me laughing out loud in several spots. I kind of wish we had gotten to see more of Kale, as there were big chunks of plot without him in it, and I would have loved to hear more about his life in Denazen and what kind of torture he underwent.
Denazen Corporation is twisted and sick and scared me to death; if a new "race" were to be born with special abilities, it's not far-fetched to believe that a government organization would be willing to sacrifice their freedom for the "protection of society". I loved that the Sixes who were slightly more pliable were raised/taught to believe that they were like superheroes, fighting for the common good; this just added another layer of credibility to the world that Accardo was building. If I wanted to control people with powers, what better way to do it then to convince them that what they were doing wasn't evil?
I did find that towards the end the pacing became too scattered and too quick. I got confused during the big stand-off between Denazen and the Sixes as to which Sixes belonged to which team, and I had to re-read the last part a couple of times to get everything straight. I also felt like several clues were dropped towards the end, but they either weren't capitalized on, or weren't mentioned again which left me wondering why they had been mentioned at all. For the most part though, I was able to overlook these faults because I did enjoy the rest of what Touch has to offer so much.
Dez is an interesting character. She's easy to relate to most of the time, and she wasn't weak and never whined. She did whatever she had to do to save Kale and the others she loved. My only problem with her was that I would have liked to seen a little more vulnerability in her, or maybe a hobby that didn't involve an adrenaline rush. It would have made her easier to connect with.
I loved the concept of Sixes. Sixes are a person with a special power - some can control fire, some can kill with a touch, some can see the future, etc. I really liked how all of them had different powers. It was interesting to see how they all worked together.
And Kale. I loved that boy. He was so innocent about some things, but at the same time, he was strong and fierce. And even if he was kind of a killer, he was still adorable ;D
Even if I loved the book and its plot, there were still a few things I had problems with. The pacing, for one thing. The pacing of Dez and Kale's relationship seemed fine, but the pace of the book in general seemed a little too fast for me. Also, I would have liked to know a little more of Denazen, the corporation running the entire shebang, stealing Sixes off the street and forcing them to kill others, basically. I want to know how it was started. Most of all, I want to understand Dez's dad's motives for doing what he did. Of course, this is only the first book in a series, so maybe some of that will be explained later, but so far, all I've got is "He did it because he's evil."
As for the writing style, I have no idea what I think of it. It wasn't beautiful, but it wasn't choppy and amateur. It wasn't ridiculously simple or complicated. I really didn't think about it at all while I was reading the book. There were quite a few mistakes, but since what I read isn't a finalized copy, I can't really complain about that, can I? :P
Overall: Touch is an intriguing novel full of suspense and amazing characters. While I was left with a few too many questions, it was an awesome read. 4 stars.