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{December 5, 2013}   {Review and Giveaway} Stilts by Tim O’Rourke (Stilts #1)

18669741From Goodreads: While eighteen-year-old, Tessa Dark was serving her prison sentence for murder, the world beyond her cell walls changed forever. The thunder came and destroyed the world she had once known.

Trapped inside the prison and faced with no future, Tessa’s only glimmer of hope is her friendship with fellow inmate Joe McBride.

Despite Tessa’s fear, Joe decides to go beyond the prison walls to seek help. But when he fails to return, Tessa is determined to go and search for him.

To gain her freedom, Tessa must first learn to walk, run, and fight on stilts if she is to survive the new and terrifying world on the other side of the prison walls.

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Imagine a world without music. Without moms or dads. Without a home to call your own.  Imagine a world lacking beauty. Safety. Medicine. Imagine you were given the opportunity to leave it all behind, to fight your way across a desolate land filled with peril in order to obtain the truth.  To obtain freedom.  To obtain help.  To possibly perish in agony along the way.  What would you do?

Tessa Dark chooses to fight.  Sent to prison at age 13 for murder, Tessa lost everything when the thunder came six months later.  She hasn’t heard real music in five years. She hasn’t heard from her family in that long, either.  Not since the thunder desolated the earth and charred the remains of all those outside the safety of the prison walls.  She doesn’t know what happened.  She doesn’t know why. But she does know that if she doesn’t bring back help, everyone who’s left will die.  She does know that her one true love left to get help, and never returned.  She does know that her attempt to find “the island” is virtually a suicide mission.  But she doesn’t care.  She has to try.  She has to hope.

O’Rourke’s latest release, Stilts, is a riveting novel that takes a unique concept and brings it to life.  In a world where walking along the earth is much too dangerous, Tessa and her comrades must learn to utilize stilts in hopes of surviving, of reaching the “island,” a place they aren’t certain really exists, in hopes of helping those who are left.  Those who survived.

From the very first page, O’Rourke sweeps on the scene with an epic battle on stilts; captivating readers immediately and not releasing them until long after the final page. And it’s extremely well done.  Tessa is a believable character, and so is that of Beau, her foil and companion along the trek across the ruined earth to find the rendezvous point.  But with a timely appearances of the mysterious hooded figure, the zombified scorchers, and the erratic behavior of Beau, the going is anything but easy or forthright.  Forced to make split second decisions and haunted by the fate of her love, Joe, Tessa, and readers alike, are in for a wild ride.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this novel, for me, is that is takes place in one of O’Rourke’s intricate “pushed” worlds, seamlessly extending itself into the riveting Kiera Hudson and Jack Seth series by default, two series I absolutely adore. Although it doesn’t directly reference any events within the previously mentioned series, O’Rourke reveals the location of the world through his use of surrounding towns, which clues readers in that Tessa’s story might, just maybe, eventually intersect with that of Jack Seth, and possibly with that of Kiera Hudson as well… an enticing thought.

For those new to O’Rourke’s writing, pushed worlds are parallel worlds to the one we know.  In other words, an alternate plane in which we also exist and experience different outcomes on our paths of life.  In the world you and I know, humans rule and a world recession is in our midst.  In Tessa’s world, there is no recession and humans don’t rule anymore because a great thunder, perhaps a war, has torn apart the world as we know it, and zombie like creatures called scorchers roam the desolate earth—a type of goopified zombie whose touch causes one’s body to incinerate.

Sound intriguing?  It is.  And if I lost you with my attempted explanation of a pushed world, no worries. You actually don’t need to know anything about pushed worlds or have read any other O’Rourke novels to follow this latest release.  And Stilts is a great novel to begin with if you’re new to O’Rourke’s tales.  He is one of my all-time favorite authors, and Stilts does not disappoint.  Five stars.

Hashtag Books has been extremely gracious in providing me with this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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And now for the giveaway!!

To enter this giveaway, you must:

-Be 16 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Fill in the mandatory question on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)

Click this Rafflecopter Link to Enter!

This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY and will end at 12:01am EST on December 26th. Please only enter once. The winner will be announced later on December 26th, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!

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