Two Halves

Rated 3.44/5 based on 10 reviews
Sarah killed her human mother shortly after she was born to quench her thirst. She hates her vampire father who she never met and blames him for her mother’s death. Now 21, Sarah suppresses her instincts. When a nightmare stirs her dark traits, underworld creatures hunt for her. On the run, Sarah learns the secrets hidden from her. Should she have continued with the serums that kept her hidden? More

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About Marta Szemik

Marta lives with her husband and two kids in Cambridge, Ontario. A great skier (in her kids eyes), she loves the outdoors and quiet mornings on the porch with a cup of coffee. She can often be found daydreaming new worlds in front of her computer. She has a sarcastic sense of humor and those very, very close to her know that she can make a joke out of almost anything>But she would suck as a comedian.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Alysa H on March 21, 2013 :
I won a copy of this book in Elle Casey's January Anniversary Indie Book Giveaway.

There are some intriguing ideas here - notably the special plant-based serums and how they interact with the strange biology of the human/vampire hybrids, and the underdeveloped notion that humans, vampires and warlocks are more or less "good", fighting on the same side against "bad" demons - but overall this book really didn't work for me.

For a start, the two romantic leads, Sarah and William, are meant to be about the same age (early 20s), but through most of the book Sarah comes across more like a lovestruck 12-year-old to William's adult svengali figure. It makes sense that since Sarah starts out largely unaware of her true powers as a hybrid, whereas William knows all about his, that he would have to teach her, but this does not necessitate the drippy tone of their interactions. Sarah is also not allowed to be her own fully-realized person, because she spends the entire book either ignorant, or as "William's other half". She is defined only in relation to him, and their shared destiny.

There is also a lot of logistical stuff that doesn't make any sense - like the speed at which they travel (non-supernaturally) to the Amazon, and how they live in a cabin whilst there. Plus this book is kind of long, and padded with way too much telling and not enough showing: too much exposition and somewhat repetitive internal monologuing. There are also quite a few dei ex machina that annoyed me. But at least there weren't too many grammatical errors!

Now, before I read this book, the author encouraged me to start with Marked: A Two Halves Novella first. As far as I can tell, Marked was released after Two Halves, as a "prequel", but the author retroactively decided to make it "Book 1" because,though significantly shorter, it takes place first, chronologically speaking.

I wish that I had ignored the advice and started with Two Halves. I won't get into Spoilers here; I'll just say that what few interesting twists and reveals this book contains were ruined for me because I had read the prequel and easily saw everything coming. That was a real shame, because some of those twists and reveals may have helped to redeem this book a bit.

I will put this in my review of Marked, as well, but to be clear - a "prequel" by definition works best when performing it's proper function: to deepen one's understanding of (and hopefully appreciation for) events and characters that you already know from the initial "main work". So for me, it was not allowed to perform that proper function. That being said, I did actually like Marked just slightly better than Two Halves, as it is a different beast altogether and revolves around secondary characters from Two Halves that are far more interesting than Sarah and William. And I probably would not have read it had I started with Two Halves.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: John Priest on Jan. 04, 2013 :
Two Halves
Is a fantasy, the main character being Sarah who is half human, half vampire and William, who she has dreamt of all her life but can't explain why. As the story progresses we are shown how their lives are intertwined.
It's a well written book; the writing skills of the author are clearly demonstrated. When an author can write such a lengthy and detailed story, they should be congratulated.
I am sure that anyone who reads books on urban fantasy, adventure or vampires will enjoy this book.
The book will definitely be enjoyed by the target audience (YA).
Points to consider:
It took a while for me to 'get into' the book; the first chapters introduce a great deal of characters and there is a lot of detailed description without action. Perhaps a few paragraphs of speech could have broken this up a little?
On the whole a great book!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Pam on May 29, 2012 :
Sarah is young woman who was raised by her aunt Helen when her mother died after childbirth. She's always known that she was different. She's had to inject a serum her entire life to suppress the vampire nature, to seem more normal though she was never normal. Sarah has always looked younger than she really is, so she was always teased or made fun of, but with two unwavering best friends, Mira and Xander, she's lived a relatively normal life. But what Sarah doesn't know is that Mira and Xander are demons who were charged with protecting her since she was a baby. They could shape-shift their appearance so that they too could appear as if they grew up with Sarah.

William is the only other half-breed, and Sarah has had dreams of him her entire life. She's felt this strong connection and love for him that she couldn't explain. William knew all about her and knew that the two of them together were apart of a prophecy that would save both the humans and the vampires from the likes of a power hungry demon lord.

Although I think the book started out a little slow, it definitely picked up. It was kind of like an action movie in terms of everything that was going on. Sarah and William are on the run from seekers who do the demon lords bidding. They can't always trust those around them as they might be shape-shifters. In this book, shape-shifters doesn't necessarily refer to a man or woman that can change in to an animal such as a wolf. It just means that they can change their appearance. I found the story to be a rather exciting ride, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Since I'm such a fan of romance, I was a little bummed out about the fact that Sarah and William could hardly touch each other without causing themselves pain. There was a spell put on them to keep them apart. But I still enjoyed their journey to try to find a way to be together. And Sarah would flash back to dreams where her and William could be together without the pain, so it wasn't as if there was no romance between them.

Now, although I don't mind a book that is written from different perspectives, I found Two Halves to be a bit confusing at times because of it. That's only because when the perspective would change to someone other than Sarah, it was almost always clearly marked who's perspective I was now reading. However, when it would switch back to Sarah's perspective, it wasn't stated. So I found that kind of annoying because I'd be thinking about whether I was still reading the previous person's perspective or did it change back to Sarah's, and I shouldn't have had to wonder about it. It should have been stated at the beginning of the chapter or even at the break if in the middle of a chapter.

Over-all I did enjoy Two Halves and wished that it hadn't ended where it did. I would have loved more of Sarah and William's story. But as I mentioned before, it is rather action packed with demons, vampires, witches and warlocks.


** I received a copy of Two Halves for review as part of the Knights of the Round Table group on Goodreads.**
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: sarah uk on May 11, 2012 :
(I was given this book for free on a read-to-review basis.)
Sarah is half-human, half-vampire. She hates her vampire side, and takes serums to hide her vampire qualities. She’s also been searching for a serum that will turn her 100% human.

William is also half-human, half vampire, and is Sarah’s other half – they can’t live without each other.

Sarah and William meet and are on the run from ‘seekers’ – demons who want to kill them, as there is some kind of prophecy about Sarah and William ending the war between the vampires and demons in the underworld.

I really struggled with this book. It was slow, I didn’t find it interesting, and it really didn’t hold my attention, which was disappointing as I thought blurb sounded so good.
I forced myself to keep reading just because I hate not knowing how a book ends, but I kept having to put it down for lack of motivation, and ended up skim-reading the majority of the book.

I think one of the main problems was the amount of information constantly being presented which was just information overload for me. I was a bit confused in places – the characters are driving a hummer, then they take a plane to Brazil, and then the hummer is waiting for them when they land. How did that happen? There was also a bit of an ‘as if!’ moment when the main characters took the hummer on a raft, which was just ridiculous.

Overall; I’m glad that other people have enjoyed this book, but it just didn’t do it for me.
2 out of 10.
(Book length: 6279 kindle locations)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: natalie berry on May 09, 2012 :
Unusual concept for a paranormal book that the vampire race needs saving by two half breeds destined to fall in love. Sarah finally meets William, literally the man from her dreams when her life is threatened. Little does she know that it always has been but those who love her have done their utmost to protect her, even lost their lives.
You journey through with Sarah as slowly the secrets are revealed.

It had a good flow and was well written but it didn't immediately grab my attention but I think that may be more down to personal choice.

Well worth the read if you prefer YA
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: natalie berry on May 09, 2012 : (no rating)
Unusual concept for a paranormal book that the vampire race needs saving by two half breeds destined to fall in love. Sarah finally meets William, literally the man from her dreams when her life is threatened. Little does she know that it always has been but those who love her have done their utmost to protect her, even lost their lives.
You journey through with Sarah as slowly the secrets are revealed.

It had a good flow and was well written but it didn't immediately grab my attention but I think that may be more down to personal choice.

Well worth the read if you prefer YA
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: tawna lambert on May 08, 2012 :
This was a great book!

The Story
Sarah knows that she is half human and half vampire, but she has been suppressing her vampy side for her whole life and thinks that it is bad. William is connected to Sarah as he is the only other half human half vamp in existence, he's lived his whole life using both his vamp instincts and his human. Sarah has dreamed of William all her life and when she finally meets him in real life she is thrust into a world that she didn't know about. Demons are after them because of their special abilities and the whole future of the world is at stake if they cannot keep themselves protected.

Likes
-The story itself, I loved the concept of serums and prophesies and witches and shapeshifters.
-I also liked how the romance worked. Yes they weren't physically there knowing each other very long, but they knew each other their whole lives via dreams and stories.
-The writing was well done and the author knew how to make the story flow for the most part.

Dislikes
--I didn't wholly understand the concept of the serums. Like, I didn't quite get how they worked exactly or why they had to use orchids and not anything else.
--Every once in a while I had to stop and reread something to make sure I understood what was happening, only about 3 times though so not too big of a deal.

Conclusion
I enjoyed this story immensely. So much so that in the last 25% of it I was reading as fast as I possibly could just so that I could get to the outcome.....I was thinking aaaaahhhhh just tell me what happens already!!! I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre. :)
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Charlayne Elizabeth Denney on May 01, 2012 :
Marta Szemik’s Two Halves centers around Sarah, the adult child a vampire father she has never met and a human mother who died soon after giving birth to her when the hungry baby vampire bit her mother and she bled to death. Raised by her aunt, she has fought the vampire side of her physiology with serums made from orchids. She blames her father for the fact that she had the vampire’s traits that made her kill her mother.

She is friends with Xander and Mira, a brother and sister that have been in her life in their little town since she was small. They have grown up together and she and Mira share secrets and stories like most friends do. Xander sometimes looks at Sarah with eyes of a young male regarding a good looking young female.

William is Sarah’s balance. His mother is human, his father a vampire. William was raised as a vampire by his parents and taught the skills he would need as he grew. He also grew to know he would eventually meet up with Sarah and they would have a very specific destiny, one that would place both of them in great danger and on a collision course with some of the most powerful beings of the underworld.

Sarah dreamed of William, nightmares and erotic dreams both. One of the nightmares awakens her senses and starts to show her a future of fear, demons with glowing orange eyes, burning buildings, and other things. And then she meets the man of her dreams, William, who tells her they have to run, that the demons are after her. And as much as she is drawn to him, they cannot come together because each time they try; they are electrocuted by a strange force within their bodies. So they have to try to work together while wanting to be more than friends.

Two Halves was a very good tale of vampires, shape shifters, witches, warlocks, demons and conspiracies planned and conducted. William and Sarah are very loveable and the plight of their love and not being able to be together is very well done. Her descriptions of places was so clear, I could see it in my mind without a problem. The story flows well from Sarah to the shape shifters and back again, between the underworld and the forces lined against them. The characters are well imagined and well defined; I was actually caring what happened to them.

Two Halves is marketed as a Young Adult book and I can see that teens and young adults would like the book. But it’s not restricted to just the youth, anyone who likes a good fantasy story with a lot of imagination.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Finnegan on Dec. 29, 2011 :
Fantastic!

Sarah and William are both half vampire, half human and haven't seen each other since they were babies. There is a prophecy which states that together, they will save the humans, vampires and witches/warlocks from the demons. Sarah dreams about William regularly but she doesn't know who he is. Their parents were best friends but Sarah killed her mother when she was born and has never seen her father. He has spent her life trying to protect her by leading the seekers away from her. She is raised by her aunt and lives mainly as a human, keeping her vampire side a secret. She is protected as she grows up by two sibling shape shifters employed by her dad. It is only when she is 21 and her aunt has died that William comes and makes himself known to her. The seekers have tracked her and he has to take her away.

I really enjoyed this book. It is SO imaginative. It is very descriptive and well written so you can totally picture it all in your head. Sarah is a great character who grows throughout the book as she explores her vampire side with the help of William who has never had to hide what he is. It is written mainly from the point of view of Sarah but does change at times to include some of the other characters.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a touch of romance. I loved it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Finnegan on Dec. 29, 2011 :
Fantastic!

Sarah and William are both half vampire, half human and haven't seen each other since they were babies. There is a prophecy which states that together, they will save the humans, vampires and witches/warlocks from the demons. Sarah dreams about William regularly but she doesn't know who he is. Their parents were best friends but Sarah killed her mother when she was born and has never seen her father. He has spent her life trying to protect her by leading the seekers away from her. She is raised by her aunt and lives mainly as a human, keeping her vampire side a secret. She is protected as she grows up by two sibling shape shifters employed by her dad. It is only when she is 21 and her aunt has died that William comes and makes himself known to her. The seekers have tracked her and he has to take her away.

I really enjoyed this book. It is SO imaginative. It is very descriptive and well written so you can totally picture it all in your head. Sarah is a great character who grows throughout the book as she explores her vampire side with the help of William who has never had to hide what he is. It is written mainly from the point of view of Sarah but does change at times to include some of the other characters.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy with a touch of romance. I loved it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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