Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5

Fiction - New Adult
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 04/17/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Wendy by Lisa Hall is a spinoff from the author's Legacy of Mara series, which begins with Girl Found. Reading as a stand-alone, this book centers around the titular character Wendy Zapata, a brilliant young student at the University of New Chicago, and is set in the year 2336. A triple threat, Wendy is strong in mind, body, and spirit. A rogue act of retribution following a smear against her name puts Wendy on the wrong side of the law. And the law is enforced by Tony Caldera. In the ultimate game of cat and mouse, the pair finds themselves dancing around all the trappings of romance.

Lisa Hall and the Legacy of Mara weren't on my radar until I came across Wendy, but my goodness, they sure are now. Wendy is a fantastic protagonist that is easy to instantly root for, and Hall has drawn her with an exceptionally skilled and experienced hand. The narrative is clean and fast-paced, just as it should be, and the world—which had already been built for the Legacy brand—was fresh, alive, and riveting for me as a first-time reader. Tony Caldera is an equally well-developed player as an enforcer and a member of another House family. He's slick and cool, unencumbered emotionally by the usual insecurities a red-headed genius might otherwise bring out in a lesser man, with lines like, “Beautiful, you hacked the NSA using a rival House’s system. Do you know how far in over your head you are?” I loved this book and am happy to announce that I am now all-in with the Legacy of Mara series.

K.C. Finn

Wendy is a work of new adult futuristic fiction penned by author Lisa Hall and is a side novel to the Legacy of Mara series, set after book one: Girl Found. This edgy, romantic drama sees title character Wendy Zapata at her very best: hacking her way through the digital jungle of New Chicago in the 24th century. This powerful young woman stops at nothing, especially when an accusation from a fellow UNC classmate sees her seeking vengeance. But a run-in with law enforcement might just stop her in her tracks for all the wrong reasons. When she meets Tony Caldera, there’s more at stake than just a criminal record or a job opportunity. He’s something special, an equation she wants to balance out.

Written for adults, but not too explicit in its mature content, this is a well-crafted tale led by its strong central characters. Wendy is a likable whizz-kid heroine, unconventional in her set of social skills but brilliant and admirable nonetheless. Tony’s first meeting with her is sure to please readers, and their rocky relationship follows many ups and downs that keep the novel fresh. I really enjoyed the setting of New Chicago and the low-key futuristic elements which underpin, but do not overtake, the plot. Author Lisa Hall has created a vibrant city full of bright people struggling with the most basic elements of human connection and fighting against convention and expectation to find the one they want to be with. Overall, Wendy is an excellent romance read for the digital age.

Christian Sia

Wendy: Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5 by Lisa Hall is a breezy, intriguing romance with strong plot points. Set in the distant future, in New Chicago, the narrative features two compelling characters, Wendy Zapata, a genius and a scholar at the UNC, and Tony Caldera, a law enforcer on the Eastside. While she is a brilliant and highly intelligent girl, Wendy has no time for romance until a fellow at the University accuses her of sabotage. In a bid for payback, she runs into Tony, the reputable law enforcer. Wendy is a thorn in Tony’s flesh. She is intelligent, a feisty redhead, but she’s just hacked into their network using one of their programs. His boss wants Tony to bring her in and to coerce her into working for them. But he has to play his cards well, otherwise, he may never have a second chance.

I love it when an author allows realism to permeate a narrative and when they can capture emotions, even the very subtle ones, in a way that is vivid and compels readers to feel for the characters, and Lisa Hall is just so good at that. She creates characters that are real and sophisticated and readers can easily identify with them. The author imagines a beautiful setting in the future, writing the story against the backdrop of an advanced technological society. The plot is well imagined and tight and the pacing is fast, punctuated by enticing drama and witty conversations. Wendy: Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5 will entertain readers who enjoy well-written romance stories with twists of science.

Divine Zape

Wendy: Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5 by Lisa Hall is an engrossing contemporary romance and what makes it even more interesting is the cast of characters. In a future, digitally advanced world of 2336 New Chicago, Tony Caldera works as a law enforcer on Eastside. But when Wendy Zapata hacks their network, it becomes a very serious breach. What makes it even more disturbing is that she hacked into it using one of their own programs. Now Tony’s boss wants her in and wants her to be part of the team. The twist is, Wendy offers Tony the only chance he’s always dreamed about. And is there anything to attract the interest of this redhead who is engrossed in her own intellectual world?

An indefatigable law enforcer and a beauty who prefers her intellectual life over pursuits of romance. That is the pair that readers are about to deal with. Lisa Hall, the creator of these characters, makes the story irresistible with the deft use of suspense, teasing readers, and infusing the writing with emotional intensity. From the very beginning, I loved these characters and wanted to see what became of them. Wendy Zapata has a beauty that turns men’s head, but she has no room in her life for romance. It is interesting to see how Tony plays his cards. The plot is original and the conflict is well developed. I am always looking for romance stories with twists and the originality when it comes to character development that I found in this novel. An awesome read.

Samantha Gregory

Wendy: Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5 by Lisa Hall is the story of a young woman who is a genius, but gets herself into trouble when she hacks a network. Tony Caldera is sent after her, but he finds himself falling for her. Tony is faced with a dilemma. Does he follow orders and bring Wendy in? Or turn his back on his job so he can be with her? I understand that there is the main story and this is an offshoot of that, so the author has really worked to create this futuristic world and the characters within. The section at the beginning helped me with certain futuristic things and helped me keep the characters straight, especially as this isn't the first book.

Lisa Hall has created a real mix of genres with Wendy: Legacy of Mara Sidestory, 1.5. There is romance, action and with the futuristic tech, it could be classed as sci-fi too. I think this might make it fit into several places in the market, but it is definitely worth reading. I really enjoyed the story and the characters were well developed and believable. I also liked reading about the potential future of technology. I think Wendy is an interesting character; she's strong-willed and smart and is able to handle herself. I liked her scenes with Tony, they seem like an interesting couple. I think this could do well, but it is about finding the right spot for it in the sci-fi and action genres.