Review: The Forever Song

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Title: The Forever Song [Blood of Eden #3]
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Dystopian Fantasy Romance

Synopsis:

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON.

I am extremely conflicted with this novel. I absolutely loved this series. I loved the moral conflict and the balance between good and evil, as the characters tried to define each word and justify their actions. I loved the humour, the violence, individuality of each character. This book had all of those things, but it just didn’t work as well this time.

Note: Before we go on, I warn you that this review may contain spoilers, though I will try to keep it spoiler free. It will mention things that one can gain from the synopsis though (i.e. spoilers to The Eternity Cure).

Let’s start with the synopsis. Yes, I have a slight complaint about the synopsis: It deceived me. I expected a good chunk of the book to be all about the senses – she was a monster, no? So everything should be heightened, seen through the eyes of a vampire out for blood. While I got a lot of description, none of which regarding a crazy vamp with its emotions off, I got a lot of what the last two books had (i.e. an excessive amount of good or evil, peace or murder, etc.). I was fairly disappointed that I didn’t get to see a little bit of psycho, especially on her end (though I guess that would’ve resulted in more angst, which would have made the book even more lengthy).

Next, Allie. Jeezus. Her narrative ran around in so many circles, I got dizzy. One second, it was all, “I AM A MONSTER HERE ME ROAR,” and then five minutes later she was like, “ZEKE THO. I CAN’T -sobs-“. She is really bad with this whole grief thing. Also, even though I appreciated the whole moral battle in the last two books, this time, it was just too much. It was borderline excessive and it really didn’t hold my attention. I flew through the first two books, taking a day to read each one. This one took me three days just to swim through all the moral dilemmas.

The surprise honestly wasn’t a surprise. I suspected it at the end of The Eternity Cure. And I was right. What I wasn’t expecting was the doubled up angst that came later on. The whole monster, demon, thing versus good, pure, and human basically drowned me. It was book one amplified. I was very much done with this conflict by the second half of this book (as was Jackal it seemed). And the romance between Allie and another vampire was painful and excessive. It would surface at the most inappropriate times too. Oh, we’re in the middle of a battle, kay, cool, let’s stare into each other’s eyes as Rabids eat away at our companions. ‘Cause that’s a sure way of surviving. Also, the fact that the romance almost overpowered the whole gotta-save-the-world concept, I was really disappointed. This was a series in which the romance has been pretty tame, but then BAM we get hit by an 18-wheeler full of it. Truth be told, I wish there was less romance and less… everything (except for Jackal, I think I needed more of him).

Zeke. Well, he’s dead, so there’s not much happening there.

I would like to take a moment to bless Jackal. He was the shining star in this novel, providing the comic relief that was very much necessary in order to get through most of the book. His character development was also impeccable. Let’s start from the beginning though. Jackal’s one liners have always made smile, even when he was being a total pain (those times were also entertaining). In this book, his comments basically conveyed everything I wanted to scream at the two love birds. The best line being, “This isn’t rocket science. If you don’t want to be a monster, don’t be a bloody monster! Be an uptight stick in the mud like Kanin. Be a self-righteous bleeding heart like Allison. Or you can stop agonizing about it and be a fucking monster.” LIKE THANK YOU. BLESS YOU ETERNALLY DAMNED SOUL. JFC. THANK YOU. Jackal was the voice of reason (crazy, I know) throughout this installment, next to Kanin, and his character is, most definitely, one of my favourite in YA.

Jackal’s character development was subtle and absolutely perfect. I loved that he didn’t need to war with himself to change a little, he found a perfect balance between his two different worlds: his family and his vampiric urge to be a murdering asshat. Throughout the novel, it was great seeing him transform, little by little into the best YA character ever. If anything, his story was more interesting than Allie’s…

Now, Kanin. Freaking, saintly Kanin. He’s right up there with Jackal, he points out all the garbage in this book, questioning them and being the papa of the lot of them. I’ve respected his character since the beginning of this series. He manages to cut through all the crap and gets right to the crux of things, no matter how ugly the truth is, he’ll give it to Allie and the readers. His character gained my respect and will also remain as one of my favourite YA characters.

On another note, what I love about Julie Kagawa is that she doesn’t shy away from the gore, the blood, and the pain. She jumps right into it, giving us all the details of the fight, the setting, and even the overwhelming romance. I always enjoy reading her books because I always feel like I’m shedding my own reality and donning her fictitious one. It makes her books and characters real, and all that much better (most of the time).

All in all, this was not close to my favourite book in this series. It went in circles a fair amount, and I was pretty much done with all the idle threats and sobbing by the end of the book. That being said, I’d still say read it. Kanin and Jackal help cut through all the garbage and make the book better than it would’ve been without them. This series as a whole brings a new look to the vampire/paranormal series. My only wish would have been for the book to end more with a bang than a whimper.

Plot: 3.5/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Cover: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads: 4.31/5

Day 13: Your Favourite Writer – Julie Kagawa

Today, I shall be talking about the awesomeness that is Julie Kagawa and why I love her writing. Three more authors and I’m going to move on (finally) (I should have stuck with one, but it’s so hard to choose) (I would’ve done twenty, but I’m about as consistent with this as … well I’m just not ’cause books)

  1. Julie Kagawa
    I actually started her series a little backwards. My first sighting of the Iron Fey series was back in 2011. Ash was a contestant in The YA Sisterhood‘s YA Crush Tourney. I didn’t really pay any mind to how hot he was. What really grabbed me was the stunning cover of the yet to be released, at the time, The Iron Knight. I immediately virtually dashed over to GoodReads to check it out, only to find that there were three other books that came before. This time I actually dashed over to my school library (looking at Crush Tourney’s during school, tsk tsk), and the first book was shockingly sitting right there, on the shelf, tempting me.

    It is now two years later and I have fallen for Julie Kagawa’s characters, her imaginative worlds, and her stories. However, as much as I found Never Never a true world of fantasy and Puck absolutely hilarious, while Ash was smolderingly hot, I have to say that I love Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series more.

    Just when you thought that the vampire thing was dead and gone, Julie Kagawa took the sparkly, over-hyped, and overdone trend and made it into something scary, something dangerous, and something absolutely thrilling. Kagawa has this ability to make her characters so real, that you feel like you know them, you feel what they do, and next things you know, you’re sitting in the sewers with Kanin, Allie, and Zeke, and yet you’re happy you’re there ’cause OMFG they just became REAL.

    But you’ve all heard me gush about Kagawa’s writing before. If you still haven’t checked out her stuff… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? GO!

Iron Fey

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Review: The Eternity Cure

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Title: The Eternity Cure [Blood of Eden #2]
Author: Julie Kagawa

Synopsis:

Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

First off, can I ask WHY they changed the cover? Can someone please tell me why Austrailia has a badass cover, and we have… what looks like a placeholder?

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Austrailia’s Cover
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Blood of Eden #1 – The Immortal Rules

Austrailia’s matches the first cover too. It would have been awesome to have versions that matched… Alas.

Secondly, how is it that every time I read one of Kagawa’s books, it always seems like the characters are more interesting, the story is more captivating, and the descriptions are more three-dimensional than ever? How does that happen!?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I love Julie Kagawa’s work. Where the ideas and characters were interesting with the Iron Fey Series, I feel like Blood of Eden is more heart-wrenching, more captivating, and way more addicting.

The Eternity Cure has us following Allie as she tries to hunt down Kanin and Sarren. Ultimately, this quest takes her back to New Covington, where she sees some old, and some unwanted, friends.

There were two things that really stood out to me. The first was the various depiction of power and control. Kagawa managed to cover all the bases and show the different ways people use or abuse their power. We see the psychotic side of loss of, and reestablishment of power with Sarren. His moments were intense and every time he showed up you never knew what he was going to do. Sarren had control over New Covington and over Kanin. Whenever he was mentioned, my heart beat faster in anticipation and fear of what would happen next. On the other hand, we see how Allie deals with power and control, as she fights against her vampiric demons. With Allie, we see conservation and restraint. Even in The Immortal Rules, Allie was a fighter, always trying to push her Hunger away and choose the lesser of evils. Among the other characters, we see how power can be used to lead, how it can be used in revenge, or as a way of being smug. Among these various and wide ranging representations of power, Kagawa shows the consequences and rewards for each action, and as such it makes the book a lot more moving and impactful, as we see these in the real world as well (though they’re a lot less dramatic (most of the time) in real life).

This brings me to my second point, which is Kagawa’s characters. No two characters are the same, or even similar, and the wide ranging cast brings the book to another level of awesome. In all honestly, I think my favourite character in this one was Jackal. He was hilariously crude and sarcastic at all the wrong moments, and yet it helped lighten the book where the characters were stuck in dangerous or life threatening situations. I like that no matter how dark the subject, Jackal managed to make me, and the other characters, laugh.

An absolutely captivating book by Julie Kagawa. If you like her other series (and even if you don’t) you have to try reading the Blood of Eden series. No sparkles, these vampires are without mercy(ish) and are looking for blood. I loved this book, and cannot wait to get my hands on the next one!

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 2/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.42/5

Review: The Immortal Rules

Title: The Immortal Rules [Blood of Eden #1]
Author: Julie Kagawa

Synopsis:

“In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.”Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of “them.” The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked–and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend–a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what–and who–is worth dying for.

Allie hates vampires. Allie’s friends hate vampires. Every human alive either hates vampires or are slaves to them. Then Zeke happened.

Forced with the decision of death as a human or an eternal life as a vampire, Allie chooses life. Struggling to hold onto her humanity, she tries to feed without killing, and live without feeding, but unfortunately, that’s impossible. On the run from her vampire city, she joins an interesting group of people, Zeke among them. They’re searching for a mythical land, though, as they say, every story has some truth to it. Eden, a place where only humans roam, a land in which vampires have yet to taint with their blood, with their evil.

With her ragtag team of humans, Allie finds it harder and harder to resist the temptation of blood. As the weeks go on, she wonders how long she can last before the monster within takes over…

Kagawa has blown me away again. Kagawa’s Iron Fey series was dark, there was violence, there was betrayal, but she made the world of the fey unique, beautiful, captivating. Again, Kagawa created her own world. When we all thought that the vampire concept was used up and totally run dry, Kagawa came back with something knew, something horrifying.

Allie’s world consists of humans, vampires, and Rabids, which are mutations between humans and vampires. Alike to George R.R. Martin’s “White Walkers”, those who die at the hand of a Rabid or have been bitten by one, will become one.

Kagawa’s world defies all of today’s present day buddy-buddy vampire and human ideas, shattering them, rolling them over with a monster truck, and then blowing them up with a nuke. Her characters come out strong: Allie: the vamp who wants to save her humanity; Zeke: the selfless one who believes that there’s good in everyone; Kanin: the guilty one, who has a war within himself; Jeb: the hard-ass leader that doesn’t trust easily and only knows one way – his own; Ruth: the only one who could see the truth, also the bitchy character that the MC often hates. These characters brought a number of personalities to the table, and had someone, or something that everyone could kind of connect to, in their own way.

This novel was like The Host (Stephanie Meyer) meets Blood Red Road (Moira Young) meets Dracula (Bram Stoker) meets Julie Kagawa’s imagination, ending in one gigantic story of awesomeness (if you liked any one of those titles, you’re likely to like this book… actually, if you like reading you’re likely to like this book). I can’t wait to see what Kagawa has in store for us next!

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.16/5

Quotes:
Ruth’s lips tightened. “You’re hiding something,” she said, taking a step back. “I don’t know what it is, and I don’t care, but Zeke is too good to be ruined by someone like you. He has the unfortunate habit of seeing the good in everyone, and he’s too nice to realize he’s being taken advantage of…”
-Ruth

“You didn’t hear what she told me when I got up — you’re so cute I could put you in a pie. Tell me that’s not the creepiest thing you’ve ever heard.” His voice climbed a few octaves, turning shrill and breathy. “Today for dessert, we have apple pie, blueberry pie and Ezekiel pie.”
-Zeke

“Did he teach you how to bore you opponents to sleep? Because I think I missed that lesson.”
-Allie

“You are a monster.” Kanin’s deep voice droned in my head again, as I forced myself to move, to walk away. “You will always be a monster, there is no turning back from it. But what type of monster you become is entirely up to you.”
-Kanin

New Releases: The Immortal Rules

Guess what was released today… Oh, yeah… The Immortal Rules… Whoops gave that away quick, haha.

Julie Kagawa’s new Vamp series has hit shelves today! Looking pretty epic~ I’ll be back soon with my review of it !
In the meantime, Kagawa has released the cover of the first novel for her Iron Fey spin off series, The Lost Prince.
There’s a sexy, half-naked Ethan (Meaghan’s brother for those who don’t remember) on the cover. /swoons.
Also, Kagawa has released the cover of Iron Legends, which contains her novellas Summer Crossing, and Winter’s Passage, as well as a new one that she’s just written recently. It will also contain a sneak peak at the first chapter of The Lost Prince
See it here: http://juliekagawa.blogspot.ca/2012/04/lost-prince-and-iron-legends-covers.html

Have fun reading !
-AK