Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

 Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Series: Book 1 of 4 - sequel Enticed coming 2011
Genre: Paranormal > Angels
Age Group: Young Adult - 13+
Publisher:Hachette Australia
Release Date: October 2010
Format: Paperback , 288 pages
ISBN: 9780734411846
Source: Hachette Australia
Cover love? 
I love the way the purple background look like wings, as they suit the creatures in the book perfectly. But Violet doesn't get wings in this book, so it's a little misleading. The girl's stance suits the themes in this book though, and the colour scheme (violet, obviously,) is perfect.

Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend?

After he gives her the world’s most incredible kiss – and then abandons her on her front doorstep – Violet is determined to get some answers. But nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori – part angel and part human – and Violet is his eternal partner.

Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. She never believed in God, let alone angels. But there’s no denying the strange changes in her body ... and her feelings for Lincoln. Suddenly, she can’t stand to be around him. Luckily, Phoenix, an exiled angel, has come into her life. He’s intense and enigmatic, but at least he never lied to her.

As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...

Violet Eden's mother died at birth. Her father is barely ever present. All she has is her best friend, Steph, and her friend Lincoln, who has been teaching her fighting skills. But while Violet has feelings for Lincoln, romance seems to be the furthest thing in his mind. But when Violet turns seventeen, and is given a mysterious letter that her mother wrote before her death, she feels that something is amiss. Her mother's letter is filled with warning and encouragement.

Violet soon learns that there is something lying beneath the surface of reality, an ancient truth so dangerous to man, that it must be kept a sacred secret. Violet must make a crucial decision about it, a decision that could consume her being, and change her life forever.

Embrace is a dark and heart-racing tale, filled with action and secrets that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and reading deep into the night. The storyline is one of discovery and revelation about another world outside your own.The discovery that you might just be a guardian angel, with a power so dangerous, that others will do anything to hunt you down.

While the paranormal plot line is eternally abundant, Jessica Shirvington's debut novel has something special. It's a combination of the badass-action of Vampire Academy, the complex love triangles of Twilight, and the angel mythology of Fallen, taken one step further. The mythology in Embrace is rich and detailed. Jessica Shirvington's research and knowledge of angel lore really comes through, as she builds a world in which angels can be seamlessly immersed. Historical events have been explained in the angelverse, and I particularly enjoyed the supplementary hierarchy of angels.

Shirvington's writing is incredibly easy to sink into. Violet's personality is not perfect, but it's realistic, and relatable. She grows and changes throughout the story, and makes several decisions that I don't particularly agree with. However, this was a crucial part of the plot, and for the story to be what it was, I couldn't imagine it any other way. Consequently, the subject matter is quite dark at times, and so I feel that this book should be geared towards more mature audiences within the young adult genre.

One truly wonderful aspect was the way Shirvington showed us the subtle resistance in Violet's mind under the influence of Phoenix. While outwards, she seemed calm and in love, the reader could truly sense what was happening below the surface. I found that the way specific words were used to contrast Violet's relationship with Lincoln and her relationship with Phoenix was truly awe-inspiring. Shirvington has achieved, in her debut novel, something truly amazing. To enable readers to be aware of the innermost happenings in the narrator's mind, is magical.

Writing, character expansion and subtle storytelling are very strong points in this story. However, I would have enjoyed seeing more development in Violet's powers as an angel. While she developed as a character, I would have enjoyed seeing physical changes that augment her transition  Perhaps a little glossary or explanation of the classes of angels would have provided more enjoyable background information. But I am anticipating that this will be in the sequels. Which is why I am biting my nails in anticipation of Enticed, out 2011.

Embrace is a story of change, fate and love, presented with the writing and subtlety of a great storyteller. An excellent debut that is a must-read for all paranormal lovers.