Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

forever songReviewed by Jen

I loved The Eternity Cure. Loved.  And its ending left me shocked and gutted and desperate to find out what would happen next.  All of this had me foaming at the mouth for The Forever Song.  Sometimes, though, when you go into a book with expectations so high, even a fairly good story will leave you feeling a little let down and disappointed.  I think, in part, that’s what happened to me here. [Read more…]

Review: The Eternity Cure

Reviewed by Jen
 

OK guys. This is not light reading.  But it is captivating, entertaining, thought-provoking, and heart-wrenching reading.  It’s a trade off I’ll take any day of the week.

The story picks up just a few months after the ending of The Immortal Rules.  (And this is the part where I tell you not to read this book unless you read that one first.)  Allie has left her ragtag band of human travelers safely in Eden and now she is on the hunt for her maker, Kanin, and the sadistic Sarren who holds him captive.  Her blood bond to Kanin draws her toward him, leading her through a string of trials and unlikely reunions along the way.  Ultimately, she discovers Sarren’s plans are much, much worse than the simple torture he is forcing Kanin to endure.  Allie must find him –and stop him– or lose those she holds most dear.

I know, I know… I’m not giving much away. But one of the best things about this book is the way the plot unfolds. It’s unpredictable, but never erratic.  By that, I mean Julie Kagawa made me excited to turn the page (or in some cases, terrified to turn the page.)  Allie’s journey tests her in so many ways.  She is not only challenged intellectually and physically, but over and over she must respond to situations that force her to define the kind of monster she wants to be.

I think Allison is a great heroine, in part because of her internal struggle.  It’s not always easy to live up to her ideals.  She has all those powerful emotions like wrath, heartbreak, and a need for vengeance that drive weaker people to abandon their principles. It’s how she responds through her emotions that defines her.

Again, the world-building is effortlessly fantastic. I was completely sucked in.  It was almost like its own character in the book: this dark, gritty, hopeless, soul-sucking world.  There are no info-dumps or overly complicated explanations.  It just is.  And it’s that bleak every-man for himself setting that contrasts so remarkably against the characters who fight to be something more… to rise above it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you about two things.  One: There is a heart-stopping, punch in the gut scene that will leave you reeling.  At least, it did for me.  (It also made me cry.)  And two: there is a big old hairy cliffhanger that will have you counting the days until book 3 hits the shelves… which, by the way, won’t be until Fall 2014.  As I sobbed on Twitter, Julie Kagawa reached out to comfort me with this response: “Your tears feed my muse.” What a gifted, yet totally evil author.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provided by Harlequin Teen

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Eternity Cure
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Review: The Immortal Rules

Reviewed by Jen

I am not usually a YA reader, but I really enjoyed this book a lot.  It’s dark and gritty… set in a post-apocalyptic world, where vampires lord over humans like cattle.  The main character, Allie, begins her journey as a human, living off-grid in the slums outside a vampire city.  But after she is nearly killed by the zombie-like Rabids who live outside the wall of her civilization, she is given the choice between death and becoming a vampire.  She chooses to become one of the monsters she has always loathed.

The book is divided into four parts, following Allie’s evolution and the progression of her story.  From her life as a scavenger, to her lessons as a new vampire, to her attempt to find a new life away from the only home she has ever known.

One of my biggest complaints among the YA books I have read is that the heroines are so often naive, overly innocent, vapid, or lovestruck.  Allie is none of those.  She is a survivor.  And she makes no apologies for it.  She adapts; she is resourceful.  But in a world where most of the humans have lost their humanity, she has not… and she somehow manages to maintain that humanity even after she becomes a vampire.  It’s made all the more-compelling by the fact that her nature, her instinct, fights against her conscience.  It would be easy to make her all good or all bad, but she isn’t.  She struggles; sometimes she falls; but she ultimately refuses to give in to the inevitability of becoming a monster.

There’s a strong cast of supporting characters, all three dimensional and richly drawn.  Like the vampire Kanin who transforms Allison and teaches her how to survive.  Or Zeke, the kind, almost-love interest, trying to help lead a ragtag group of humans to a new life.  Their interactions with Allie help shape her, and I am just as interested in how their futures play out as I am in hers.

The world building is very well done too.  I found it easy to fall into it from the very beginning, yet new layers are continually uncovered as the story unfolds.  It’s a pretty bleak existence, but it’s that contrast that allows us to see just how special people like Allie and Zeke really are.

I liked it a lot.  And I will definitely read The Eternity Cure.

Rating: A-

*ARC Provided by Harlequin Teen

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen