Lash (Lash #1) By Tara Fox Hall

    Rating Clarification: 4 / 5

    Disclaimer: The fact that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review has not affected my rating. This review expresses my honest opinions.

    As a mostly-YA reader, I think it’s safe to say my stereotypical view of vampires and shapeshifters are of Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner, or of Sam from Shiver, who personally I find creepy because he sneaks up as a wolf to watch nearly naked female crushes.

    Um, yeah. Just kidding. NO.

    In Lash however, shapeshifters aren’t just werewolves anymore – sure, they’re probably still super strong and amazingly beautiful, but now there are were snakes. I think that’s suffice to say that Lash is a pretty unique book.

    *Slight Spoilers Ahead*

    Let me tell you that if you’re offended by drugs and sex, or are looking for a light read, this book is definitely not for you. Tryst had to go through so, so much in order to finally get to a more hopeful position, which, in my opinion, is a pretty positive ending, although it’s not fairy-tale happy. Most of the people Tryst care about either

    Throughout his struggle, there’s a lot of sex (not really “making love”), rape, alcohol, violence, and death. It’s almost as if the author first gives Tryst a glimmer of hope or happiness, than makes him miserable again. There’s one chapter that particularly stood out to me – . Not only was the image completely gross and horrific – it also showed that Tryst’s family had a very small chance of living a peaceful life. It made me so sad that someone so close to Tryst had to go through that, and that Tryst and the rest of his family had to go through that trouble as well. However, Tryst obviously perseveres, and his internal strength as well as his loyalty towards his family is heartwarming, although sometimes futile.

    The side characters definitely added to the story. There were probably three types of them in this story – the ones that always support Tryst and warm your heart, the ones that are downright mean and that your root for Tryst to go kill them, and the ones that make you sad because of their betrayals or misunderstandings. Each was essential to the story and invoked emotions inside of me. They were probably also the main aspect of the plot, since it’s basically Tryst trying to find means of love, trust, and supporting his family. There’s also a mystery factor in some of the characters, since I always wonder what’s going on in their heads. Take Danial and Devlin for example – they’re definitely complex characters who both care and hate each other. Hopefully, in the next book I’ll be able to see more of them!

    Overall, Lash is a gritty, dark, and image / emotion evoking book, full of struggle, emotion, and most of all, hope. This book is not for the easily squeamish – however, if you’re looking for a dark urban fantasy book, I would highly recommend this one. Lash (Lash #1) To say this is a good book is to make a vast understatement. I can’t think of many authors who could’ve hit upon the notion of a weresnake, or make the character of Lash both deadly and sympathetic at the same time. With a protagonist who should rightly be called a villain, one might consider it difficult to build a rapport but by having this told from Lash’s POV, the author has done just that. Take away the myth and magic and this is simply a tale of a boy from poverty, rising through the use of his wits and ability to a position of power and infamy. A great deal of thought has gone into the myths and world-building and setting it in the Twenties turns this story into a paranormal Scar Face, a supernatural Godfather.

    Unusual, unique, it appeals on many levels, and will fascinate while making the reader wish for a continuation of this unusual character’s story.

    Lash is available from Bradley Publishing,
    This novel was supplied by the author and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review.
    Lash (Lash #1) Really enjoyed this imaginative tale from a talented writer! Lash (Lash #1) Lovely, shocking, involving, and truly remarkable -- Tryst / Lash, Hall’s weresnake protagonist, is a perfect anti-hero.  He does despicable things, commits crimes, atrocities, and murders, yet he shows absolute devotion to his family and those of his lovers who show him affection.  This book is, to me, a modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, from the Beast's point of view.  Lash is incredibly human, in spite of his dislike for the species.  He tries to hide his despair and denies his pain, but it falls away as easily as a shed skin when a woman he considers to be precious and unmatched appears to return his affection.  Tryst is incredibly damaged, distrustful and angry, and yet his nobility is plain... He is a man who is capable of great things, but has been corrupted.  And he knows it, yet doesn't have the strength or motivation to change his life.  Lash is the 20th century Beast, unable to believe in his own goodness, unwilling to let life beat him down, but unable to see himself in any other light. I want to slap him and hug him at the same time.

    The relationships in this novel are complicated and in-depth; some of the plot turns caught me by surprise, in a good way.  Tara Fox Hall has steamrolled convention and spoken in a voice both unique and true.  She writes about issues which are timely, in an honest fashion -- like what a woman does to own her own sexuality, how men in a certain time period viewed women, and explores the prejudices which have risen and fallen over time. I loved the pacing, and how the book felt like a memoir, and I am looking forward to following the chronicle of Lash’s life and relationships as more novels are released by this talented author. Lash (Lash #1) Lash was something else. First off, don't let the rating fool you. I LOVED this book. So, before you hit me over the head hear me out:

    What I liked about this book: Just about everything.

    The idea was a really nice one, a breath of fresh air through all the paranormal stuff out there now.

    Tryst, the hero was enjoyable to fallow around in his innocence, cruelty and low-morals. Even if he constantly lost his head and did bad things, I never got judgmental. I just thought it fit her personality, which means... um, yeah, he's a well-done character.

    The other characters were also interesting and I never felt bogged down even if there were a lot of them. Never had a 'who the heck is that' moment. Which, again... well done :)

    The setting - Oooh, the setting. I think it's this more than anything else that made me love this book. I haven't read something set in the early 1900s since... well, since East of Eden, I think. Loved it! I was getting kinda sick of modern-day paranormal, and this filled my batteries nicely.

    The style - though there was a lot of narration in here, it wasn't boring. At all. I enjoyed the way Trystan told the story, his voice and the length of everything - from chapters to scenes (even if the chapters were loooong, I had nothing against it ;))

    Okay, let's get to the dirty stuff:
    Why this book didn't get 5 stars. There are 3 main reasons:

    1. The story's ending. It just kinda drifted off with no climax and no conclusion. I understand this is the first in a series. I would read the next book. But I felt like this one should get some sort of resolve too. -> This is the main main reason the book didn't get 5 stars (for me)

    2. I really didn't get it whether the were population and vampires and such were in hiding from the humans. I mean, I understood that it was preferable that the humans didn't know someone was were, but were they aware that such creatures were out there and just didn't want to meet them? Or were supernatural creatures like a different, not very accepted, race?

    3. I'm an a-hole and don't really give 5 stars all that often or easy. -> this is a pretty important reason, too.

    Would I recommend this book - yes, I enjoyed it and I think many other people will as well. Would I read the sequel - um, yes. Would I read this book again... Um, maybe.

    On the whole, a big congrats to the author for a job well done!

    Lash (Lash #1)

    Scarred from a childhood spent in perpetual indigence after being forced from their home in the Everglades, weresnake Trystan Valeras and his family make their way to the Case Hotel. When his wealthy gangster father arrives the summer he turns sixteen, Trystan’s dream of a better life, along with the lovely aristocrat Mara, is suddenly within his grasp. Instead of paradise, a series of devastating events unfold, leading Trystan to become the instrument of his dying father’s revenge. His violent reprisal instigates a backlash of murder and death, forcing Trystan to flee with the remains of his family to the sultry city of New Orleans where he sells himself into the service of the Vampire Lord Abraham. Becoming the assassin Lash to hide his identity, Trystan finds a measure of peace, even as his skill with killing heightens, bringing to him not only new allies, but also new adversaries. Lash (Lash #1)

    Everyone has a story – even a violent killer weresnake. Trystan is a young boy living with his mother and brother in the swamps of early 20th century America. Trying to make a better life for themselves the weresnake family move to work in a hotel and bit by bit life begins to improve. Trystan’s father who has been absent since before his birth finds them, and he is now very wealthy and prominent in society. With his new found wealth and status the girl Trystan loves agrees to marry him. Then everything starts to go wrong. A heart-breaking story of what the loss of those you care for can do and the lengths one man will go to for revenge.

    Tara Fox Hall has written a truly outstanding book. Lash was a shockingly beautiful and emotional tale of heartbreak, loss, revenge and violence. Set in the early 20th century the author interweaves the issues and prejudices of the time such as class, skin colour and the way women are treated with an amazing tale of a man who is clearly desperate for love even if he himself doesn’t know it. The paranormal aspect of this book was incredible with a rich lore of the characters. Trystan was a lovable character despite some of the atrocities he commits. The pure love he shows his family and those that he cares for is beautiful, as is his perseverance no matter what struggles life throws at him. This is a truly remarkable book and a definite must read.

    reviewed for readers favourite Lash (Lash #1) I wrote this...and I have to say, it is one of the best books I've ever done. :)

    I'm also very pleased to post this review via Blog comment from the fabulous Cristina R:

    Tara - Just wanted to give a shout-out to a fellow upstate NYer. I purchased Lash: after reading your post (U for Unusual) - perfect since I've been on a shifter kick - and I LOVED IT! I love the whole notion of a were-snake. You imbued his tale with a wonderfully repitilian coldness, balanced by his human desire for the warmth of family and love. I hope we hear more from Lash. Lash (Lash #1) Trystan was born in the swamps of Florida. His family was fatherless and dirt poor. But he grew up to become Lash, a man to be reckoned with, a powerful force in the underworld and a merciless killer. This is the story of how he got there.....

    This is Tara Fox Hall's first full-length novel and it is a delight. She has made the transition from short story to novel with consummate ease, creating powerful characters and a stirring plot.
    The story takes place in a complex otherworld populated by werecreatures and vampires existing side by side with the world we know.
    Trystan himself is a weresnake and I was fascinated by the detail of his life and that of those around him. Ms Fox Hall deals with issues I have never come across before in paranormal literature. What happens, for instance, when a shapeshifter is pregnant? Can she still shift? And if she does, can the foetus shift with her?
    It is very refreshing to read a book of this genre with real characters with complex emotions, rather than the traditional monsters who are only interested in drinking the blood of their victims or tearing them to pieces.

    Lash is the first of a series and I am already impatient to read the next. Well done, Tara!
    Lash (Lash #1) I loved 'Lash'. (Yes, the title is apt and makes sense.) I couldn't wait to get back to the novel as I was reading it. The story has everything - adventure, love, excitement, muscular prose and above all a hero I could fall in love with and happily follow through his tragic, moving story.

    Lash is a were-snake and an assassin. He was born a were-snake but circumstances caused him to become an assassin, as he and his much-loved family are betrayed and hunted, over and over. The story is set in Prohibition America and the addition of weres amongst the gangsters gives the whole novel great force and originality.

    There are many twists and turns in this epic story and through it all Lash, the narrator, shines as a reluctant, modest, loving hero. Tara Fox Hall writes the male POV very well indeed and through Lash's eyes we see the glitter and grime of 1920s USA.

    There are so many good bits in this story. Lash's care for his family and for women is particularly appealing. I really liked the idea of him 'cuddling' his were-snake baby sisters in his coils!

    I shall certainly be looking out for more in this series.
    Lash (Lash #1) Wow! This story has everyhting: heartache, violence, revenge, romance, paranormal, etc. It starts when Trystan Valeras is 6 years old living with his weresnake mother and brother in a secluded swamp. Once they are forced to move and living among humans everything (good and bad) happens. Trystan goes through many emotions. He makes friends, finds love, reunited with family, loses people he cares more about then his own life. As this all falls onto his young shoulders he becomes Lash, a weresnake set on revenge and kills without remorse. Everything that happened in this story was a complete shock. Something good is finally happening to Tryst, therfore it must be destroyed. With that said it is kinda a sad story but made it even more interesting and you can't stop reading it because you feel that Tryst goes through so much that something good has to stick and your just waiting for that moment

    It was a great story that I didn't want to put down but my only complaint was the ending. I guess I was really hoping something final would happen. He just kinda accepts that he's happy and he doesn't need family, friends or a true love with him and that was really sad to me. On the other hand, Mrs. Hall left the ending wide open so maybe there will be more to Trystans story. I know I would love to see good things happen to him! But still a great story and worth reading! Lash (Lash #1)


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