Book Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
The first thing you need to know about Embrace is this: I returned from ALA Midwinter in Dallas with a little over 50 ARCs to preview, read and review for you. The Mr. went through all of the ARCs and this was the first one he picked to read. I found that immensely interesting because it is not his typical reading fair but he liked the cover, read the back description and it drew him in. He stayed up all night reading it. He said it was worth losing sleep over. When I asked him what he thought of it he said it was “very good” and the characters were “well developed” and “believable.” This is high praise coming from a very discerning reader. To put it in perspective, after finishing one of the other ARCs (which will forever go unnamed), he brought it to me and said that the last 30 pages were “chaotic and disappointing”. So I went and opened up the pages of Embrace with high expectation, and it did not disappoint.
Violet Eden is about to turn 17, and everything about her life will change. It begins with strange dreams; dreams in which she wakes up actually hurt in reality. Then comes the discovery, she is not fully human – she is in fact a Grigori, a type of angel whose job it is to protect humans from exiled angels who roam the Earth. These exiles want to take away the human right to free will. Free will is, after all, messy and complicated and we often just do the wrong things with it. Since she has free will of her own, Vi can decide whether or not she wants to “embrace” and accept this role. Which path will she choose?
Violet is a strong, independent woman. She is flawed, as well all are, and struggles with being headstrong. She also struggles with a past attack that has left her to develop a life motto: never run. She is in some ways Buffy for a new generation (although every generation should make sure and watch the original Buffy). Her supporting cast include a best friend named Steph, and we all wish we had a devoted best friend like Steph; Her dad, who is distant and occupied; And, well, a host of angels – literally. Some of whom are incredibly hot.
For years she has been training with Lincoln, whom she has a major crush on that is not returned – or is it? Lincoln appeared out of the blue one day into her life and they have spent the last few years training. Vi is a very physically active young lady, she rock climbs, runs, kick boxes and more. What she doesn’t know is that Linc has in fact been training her for the day in which she will become a Grigori, which he also is. To say that all this new information complicates the relationship is an understatement.
Like any good paranormal romance, there is an interesting love triangle. Player three in this case is a mysterious man named Phoenix. As you read you wonder: Who is this man? What is his role in the great battle? What power does he have over Vi? Like Edward in the Twilight series, Phoenix is an open door to discussing healthy vs. unhealthy relationships (I call this the Bella Conundrum). If there was any part of the Violet Eden saga that left me unsure of what to say about this series, it was this. But in the end I think it is resolved in a way, at least in this first title in the series, that makes sense and is healthy and does not betray the strong character that Violet is. The chemistry on all sides of the triangle is explosive and the romantic tension is off the charts. Teen readers will swoon.
This series is an international bestseller, and for good reason. Paranormal is hot and this is an exciting, well developed entry into the field that will keep teens clamoring for the next titles, Enticed and Emblaze. After reading this title my dh asked me to call them and ask for the second book (I had to explain that was bad form, we do not do those things) and to be honest, I can’t wait for more either. This should prove to be one of the hottest paranormal series of 2012.
Find out more at http://www.embracetheseries.com/
Highly recommended. Some mature content.
Filed under: Book Reviews
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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