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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Enjoyment of Being Alone with the Girl in the Box

I kinda, sorta broke a rule... accidentally.

See, I found a boxed set of 3 books that only had 6 reviews at the Nook store. This fits the guidelines, so... "Yay, me!"

Unfortunately, upon completion of book one, I discovered that the stand-alone (not-in-the-box) novel had over 120 reviews. Further research showed that the second book had 54 of them. This is well outside my guidelines.

Oops. Can we pretend I didn't see that?


Well, drat. My bad. The good news, though, is that this boxed set is well worth reading.

What set is that, you ask?

image via http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o288/kek19/covers/GirlinBox_1-3_small_zps9ff624e2.jpg
Cover photo taken by Anna Omelchenko

The Girl in the Box is an urban fantasy series written by Robert J. Crane. Since I refuse to give spoilers, however, I've elected to only review book 1: Alone, with a few words dealing with book 2 (no spoilers).

So what's it about?

17 year old Sienna has lived her entire life apart from society, her only human contact being her mother. The windows of her home are all draped shut, and she has never left. Her only contact with humanity is the occasional hour of television allowed to her. One day, her mother doesn't return home. A week later she hears people in the house, which is in direct opposition to mom's rule #1: Nobody else is ever allowed into the house. In fear, Sienna fights back against the intruders and races out the front door, breaking rule #2: Never leave the house. For the first time, she has a glimpse of the outside world, and nothing will ever be the same, again.

In this book, Crane has created a rich world filled with secret organizations that keep an eye on Metas, people with extraordinary abilities that go beyond the normal human range, and Sienna is one of them.

So is her missing mother.

Crane does a spectacular job of filling a reader's mind with questions. Who and what is Sienna? Why is she so important? Who can she trust? And why in the world did her mother always demand that she remain fully clothed - with gloves - even when she slept???

Fortunately, Crane was kind enough to answer a few of these questions within Alone.


He left us hanging, unable to answer the others, making the reader anxious to read book 2: Untouched.

In the beginning, I felt that Sienna was very much like Rogue of the X-Men. The similarities were strong.

However, while the world of The Girl in the Box feels rather X-Men-esque, I wouldn't brush it aside as an attempt to remake the Marvel world in the author's own image. Rather, I see it as an entirely different world with rich characters.

See, even though I originally felt it was too much like the world of X-Men, I continued reading, and the story really took hold of me. I laughed, I cried, and I was able to place myself within the world Crane created, actively taking part in the drama.

(I gave myself heightened senses and the ability to heal others, along with slightly enhanced strength. 
Because... who wouldn't want those abilities?)

Alone was a thrilling book that I'd recommend to anyone that enjoys a good superhero based read. I got through it fairly quickly, and continued on into book 2. I didn't want to leave Crane's world.

However, I would recommend taking a break between books 1 and 2, because the second book begins with a great deal of exposition that explains what happened in Alone. This is not a complaint - it's highly necessary, and the exposition is very well written.


Unfortunately, going directly into the pages of book 2 after reading book 1 caused me to skip through a lot of that narration, since my head was already happily floating through the world of the story.

So pace yourself if you get the box set. You don't want to simply skim through the narrative. It's full of personality, and deserves to be read in entirety.

The Girl in The Box Series (Books 1-3) is available in the Nook, Kindle and Smashwords stores.

If you prefer, Alone (The first book) can also be individually downloaded via Nook Kindle and Smashwords.

At the moment, the box set and the first book are both FREE, but I don't know how long that offer will last.

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