Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington


THE STORY
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before. Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her. A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

MY THOUGHTS

The Basics
There's no doubt in my mind that Jessica Shirvington is  a gifted writer. She has such a way with gripping, descriptive prose that is also simple to follow but with maximum dramatic impact. Shirvington's writing brings to life Violet's story, a newly actualized half angel in a world where dark and light are warring. Violet has never known her mother and he father is distant to put it kindly. Struggling to move on from a traumatic incident in her past, Violet looks to Lincoln, her friend, martial arts trainer and big time secret crush for support and comfort. But when Lincoln turns out to be keeping secrets from her, Violet no longer knows where to turn. I was predisposed to fall in love with Lincoln from the outset. That is my pattern. But for some reason, maybe it was his lack of page time, I couldn't really make the connect. Truth be told, in spite of the gorgeous writing, I couldn't really connect with any of the characters or their struggle and the only thing that really kept me reading was the flow of the words.

The Rant
Couldn't you see this coming? I think I could have loved the world of Embrace. I still keep trying to look for ways to forgive it. Let's face it, I have a soft spot for Australian authors. But no matter how I try to dress it up, make excuses for it, I just couldn't overlook the fact that Violet is not much more than a spoiled, selfish, poor little rich girl. Maybe I could have even forgiven that had it not been for the fatal flaw in this book. LOOK AWAY NOW if you don't want to read a massive spoiler. 

So Violet is deeply upset with Lincoln for keeping the secret about her true identity from her. She believes that he has used his knowledge to get to know her and feels betrayed. Fair enough. I concede this point. She pointedly ignores him (as much as she can when the plot device of their partnership keeps pulling them together) and makes friends with another angel named Pheonix who just happens to show up at the most opportune time and you guessed it, he's super hot. What's wrong with that you ask? Nothing under normal circumstances. Except that Pheonix has a special power of his own and he uses it to his full advantage. And Violet allows him to do so. With encouragement I might add. 
     You see, Pheonix has the ability to influence emotions. Violet knows this and yet she always wonders why she feels so drawn to him. FACE PALM! He uses this ability to get Violet to lose her virginity to him. Then she finds out that he's known about her all along. That he's the son of one of the most evil angels ever to walk the heavens. That he's been using her. So at this point I was expecting Violent to go mental and really give him a piece of her mind...and yet nothing. Lincoln is exiled for trying to protect her. Pheonix does a psychic rohypnol thing on her and she's fine with it. GAME OVER. 
     I want to shake and slap Violet over and over at this point. Remember said traumatic incident that is the catalyst for Violet's entire self defense kick? What happened to that? Is it suddenly okay for guys to take advantage of you because they're hot? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
     There are many other small things that I took issue with throughout this book but they pale in comparison to the above. I've overlooked many flaws in this book and others, but I have to check out when it gets all date rape approving. Had it not been for the great writing, I wouldn't have been able to finish this book.

The Apology
I keep promising to try and be more professional in my reviews. I want to be better. But these plots keep sucking me back in. I need a 12 step plan. Or I'll just stop reading/reviewing books that aggravate me so much.

THE RATING:
2/5

27 comments:

  1. I skimmed your review - forgive me! - because I didn't want to be spoiled. I know what you mean about being preconditioned to love certain characters. When that happens, it's like "ooh, damn." And when it doesn't, it's oddly disappointing if it's a "type" I usually fall for.

    I won a copy of this one, so I'm definitely going to read it. Too bad you didn't enjoy it! Hopefully you'll read something next that you love.

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    1. I'm going to try and find something I will definitely love so the next review is more positive :) I so have a certain "type" of guy that I like but neither of the two love interests in this book appealed to me. Or perhaps they were overshadowed by my annoyance with Violet.

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  2. LOL! I really hope you don't try to sound more professional in your reviews because they're perfect just the way they are.

    This books sounds like it suffers from a very idiotic protagonist, and yeah, who isn't going to either face-palm all the way through a book like this, or just give up on it entirely. I'd pick the latter because I just don't like wasting my time on idiocy. I get enough of that in my REAL life....

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    1. I should have put the book down. It's just that the writing was so well done and I'm forcing myself to read a wide field of angel books in preparation for my own writing. At least now I know what NOT to do!

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    2. @Lan: I know, right? We can learn from fail books, after all. They teach me what to not do all the time.

      I see that you plan on reading a sequel to this book for your Aussie Author Challenge? I guess you plan on changing your mind.

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    3. Yeah I am not going to read the next two books. I don't think I could stand it!

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  3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! UGH. I read your intro, and this is me: "YESYESYES!". I read your rant, and this is me: *dramatic sigh*. This is not just sad and lame, but also, well.... disturbing, especially since this is giving of the odour of a love triangle... Phoenix sounds not-just-borderline abusive :S

    NOT attractive.

    I mean, we like to pay out on a certain sparkly vampire for being a controlling ass, but this? This makes him look like Prince Charming :S

    UGH.

    DOUBLE UGH.

    Hon, honestly, your review wasn't really unprofessional--just honest. I'm perpetally plagued when writing negative reviews that I'm gonna say something nasty and upset someone, but nooo... I like yours. Never change :D

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    1. For a while afterwards I kept thinking "nah, that didn't really happen.." but then I'd read it again and sure enough, there it was. I think I hate it more because Violet was more or less aware of the power Phoenix had over her and still let it happen.

      I always worry I'm going to upset someone as well! But I haven't personally insulted anyone so far. Just the characters and sometimes the plots :)

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  4. Just trying to be the devils advocate here and say that perhaps she knew that he could control her emotions, and because of that, she could never get her emotions to make her NOT okay with it. Not sure of course.

    Regardless, that would have still put me off from the book. I mean honestly, it's date rape in it's simplest form. I understand the whole evil guy steals girls virginity thing but come on. Could women be represented a little better? We arent all spineless creatures that are okay with guys doing whatever they want to us.

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    1. That would have been fine for me! If Violet had gotten angry after Phoenix stopped controlling her feelings than it would have saved the book for me. Alas...

      I just can't deal with plots where girls lose their minds and do stupid things just because a boy they like isn't how they expect.

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  5. I have a problem with the 'poor little rich girl' type, and yes this Phoenix sounds bad. Was it set up for readers to dislike. Since it is a series, and since the girl is 17 I can see a pretty face charming her, and maybe she grows? Not excusing it at all, just wondering, plus I have learned the rich girl thing drives me up the wall. Or anything that reads- "I have super powers, and have a destiny to save the world! But I don't want it!" Makes me twitch a little.

    Beth ^_^
    http://sweetbooksnstuff.blogspot.com/

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    1. That's a good way to look at it. Hopefully the next books will see Violet changing for the better.

      I hate those plots too. I am dying for a super power so when someone doesn't want it, I get annoyed!

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  6. LOL Lan, I wish I could stamp this review with AWESOME! I kinda wish that you find more books to be unprofessional about, but mostly I hope that the next one that you love so much that you can't contain your gushing! x)

    I really liked Jessica's writing too -- it had something about it that was impossible to put down -- but what you said about Phoenix was so spot on! I'm always wary about boys that can control emotions (probably more paranoid haha) because it makes me suspicious if anyone's feelings for them are real. Phoenix is one where the answer is NOPE from the beginning :')

    Thanks so much for the awesome honest review, Lan! Crossing my fingers that your next book with be five-star worthy :) <3

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    1. I'm reading a book that I'm really enjoying at the moment so I'm less angry about this book today. I've always liked the ability to control emotions but not when it's used so poorly. And not when there are no consequences for the user.

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  7. WOW. Just WOW. Violet definitely sounds like the densest character ever! I think this book would have made me really annoyed and face palm too! A very entertaining and honest review :) I loved it!

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    1. Thanks Natalie. I feel like I'm the only one who gets annoyed at this sort of thing sometimes.

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  8. Hey Lan, I definitely hope you don't change your review style! I never would have found Angelfall without your reviews, so please, keep them up!

    Here's where I get to rant . . . As a mother, I do NOT like the idea of gloifying date rate for a young audience. The idea makes me sick to my stomach. I don't care how hot he is, that is just not okay. It creates a poor role model for young readers, IMO, especially when the MC just accepts it.

    I am also so over the you-kept-secrets-from-me-I-hate-you cliche. That was so overdone in Smallville, I can't stomach it anymore. Everyone keeps secrets from everyone else, it's just that simple. Maybe small secrets, but we all have them.

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    1. Everyone does keep little secrets from each other don't they? I just can't stand it when a secret is revealed and the MC decides that they've been monumentally slighted and therefore it's okay for them to do something really stupid. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that a teen would be mature in this instance but this is going way too far!

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  9. Don't stop the ranting reviews! I love them! I hadn't even heard of this one and, as you know, I love Australian authors but I trust your opinion. If you say it's bad, I'll believe you. So, I read the spoiler. Argh! Why are crazy controlling guys who basically rape girls so damn prevalent in books these days?! In YA books?! That's even worse! I am SO not reading this one.

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    1. I'm so disappointed with this one because 99% of the Australian books I read, I tend to love. But there was no going back for this one. I really hope this YA trend stops soon. Otherwise I might have to quit YA for a while.

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  10. Lol on your review/rant. I actually enjoyed the book, but found Violet very frustrating as well. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the novel.

    P.S., don't change your review style. Though it didn't work out for you, you gave solid points on why it didn't work out, and made it entertaining for your readers.

    Thanks or stopping by,
    @ Livin' Life Through Books

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    1. A lot of people seem to enjoy the book but do mention they were annoyed at Violet. There was just so many ways this book could have been changed to make it awesome. Instead, the author went for stalker/controlling crazy stuff. *sigh*

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  11. Oh well that stinks this one sounded like it would be good.

    I agree with the others don't stop your reviewing/ranting ways. I love them.

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  12. Oh my gosh, Lan, you must read my mind or something like that! x) I remember calling my friend and ranting how much Violet annoyed me LOL! I agree, how could she exile Lincoln yet she is not furious at Phoenix? :o Oh well, let's overlook that. :P

    I heard she grows up in the next book, so I'm hoping to read easier-to-like Violet! Awesome review, Lan! x)

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  13. Yeah, I'd be face palming too. Your rant is fulling justified.

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  14. Haven't read this series, though it's reasonably popular in my library. I think the problem is that paranormal romance is so big, so VERY big these days, that publishers don't worry too much about editing. They no doubt figure teenage girls will love it anyway. And, alas, they may be right. Couldn't find this book on Goodreads, but another in the series has a 4.32 star rating average, which suggests to me it has a lot of five star ratings. And yes, being hot DOES tend to allow a lot of bad behaviours on the part of the love interest. As an example of sloppy editing, I recently read a paranormal book(no names!) which was full of mistakes, illogicalities, inconsistencies and grammatical errors. And this was published by a big publisher, not a vanity press or self-published. The author confirmed my suspicions when they said on their web site that hey, the publisher had only given it one basic edit!

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