Review: Touch (Denazen #1) by Jus Accardo
Cursed with a deadly gift and raised in isolation his entire life, Kale doesn’t even have a last name… he has an identification number. His soul purpose, so he’s been taught, is to serve the Denazen Corporation and “punish” those it decides have done wrong. Deznee Cross, the daughter of the man in charge of the whole shebang, knows nothing of her father’s malicious agenda, only that he sucks as a dad and her mom died when she was very young. A chance run-in with Kale turns everything Dez believes upside down and they find themselves on the run, trying to get to the bottom of Denazen’s agenda. Can Dez and Kale sort through the lies and dodge Cross’ assassins long enough to uncover the truth or will Dez be just another victim of her father’s merciless political agenda? Touch is a recommended read!
- Title: Touch
- Series: Denazen #1
- Author: Jus Accardo
- Prominent Characters: Kale, Dez
- Recommended Reader Age: 14+
- Genre(s): Young adult, paranormal romance, urban fantasy
- Sexual Content Level: very low
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Marshall Cross collects gifted children, manipulates and brainwashes them into being his private squad of assassins, then sells their services to the highest bidder. A far cry from Professor X’s school for the gifted, these youngsters, the Sixes, are completely isolated from the world, taught only what they need to know to serve their purpose. Like the X-men, some of their gifts are quite creative, ranging from extremely dangerous to playful to resourceful. When a character announces he’s a telekinetic and the typical response is a scoffed comment of “common”, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
Touched is told in first person narrative; we live in the heroine’s head for the entire journey. Dez Cross has a refreshing voice – she’s hip, rebellious, and smart. She’s also loyal and determined, with a side of urban sass. Her inner monologue reminds me a little of a teenage version of Cat from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series.
Sprinkled with texting, FaceBooking, pop culture, and slang, the writing itself is very modern and cheekily pokes fun at itself. With nods to well-loved comic book heroes, Touch also delivers big on action. It’s creative, entertaining, and a definite rush.
For a young adult story, Dez and Kale have some impressive chemistry. They are an adorable couple, and my heart takes an extra little beat when Kale shows just how much he cares about her. The characterization is beautiful, making the book almost effortless to read and become immersed in. Something I really liked about about Touch is that, while it is YA and has very little on-page sexual content, it’s not preachy or unrealistic about the fact that teenagers do have it. There’s a little sex in there, but it’s subtle and overall very sweet and moving.
Not to be confused with Sixers…
“Why are they called Sixes?”
“Because Stan Lee already has the patent on mutants?”
Ah, the innocence of a sheltered upbringing…
The bus dropped us off about three blocks from the address Misha had given me. The timing was perfect. In the short trip, Kale managed to piss off a pregnant woman by calling her large and a goth kid for inquiring about his makeup. If we hadn’t gotten off the bus when we did, there probably would have been a riot.
No Dez, I don’t imagine it was easy for our parents either!
“Explain what I did wrong. With the hand thing.”
I sighed. If I had to have a sex talk with a guy my own age, I was going to die. Baseball analogies wouldn’t work. He probably didn’t even know what baseball was. “When two people like each other, they hold hands.”
He looked down at our hands, still confused. “You helped me, so I do like you.”
Was it this hard for our parents? “No, it’s a different kind of like. Like when two people want to be more than friends. Like do more than just hold hands.”
“More? Like what?”
Oh. My. God. This was so not happening.
Cheese vs. chocolate? Please don’t make me choose!
“What is this soft, white stuff?” Kale asked, sitting across from me. We’d jammed the food cart between us and pigged out.
“That is a fried cheese stick. Pretty much in its own revered food group. Its only earthly equal is the chocolate food group.”
If you liked Touch…
If you enjoyed Touch for the quiet maturity of the characters and the subtlety of the sexual content, check out Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series (starting with The Iron King). I particularly love #4 in the series, The Iron Knight, but, while you can technically read it as a standalone, you’ll spoil the first three stories. The Iron Fey series is whimsical, magical, and sets a unique tone of innocence in the midst of a bevy of jaded fairy tale creatures, deftly weaving in an adventure the likes of which you might never experienced!
If you follow my reviews, you know I usually go for the smutty, tortured heroes and menage stories, but I recommend Touch even for readers who don’t normally consider reading young adult. This is one if the few YA series I’ve really made an effort to follow, and I can’t wait to see what Kale and Dez do next. Touch is mature, sassy, charming, and… well, touching… and is a GraveTells Recommended Read.