by Veronica Wolff
Paperback, 304 pages
Published: March 6th 2012
Book Source: Publisher
Book Summary From Goodreads: As someone who has survived her first year as an Acari recruit, Drew’s ultimate goal is to become a Watcher and be paired up with a Vampire agent. Except nothing is as it seems. The vampire Alcántara is as sinister as he is sexy, Ronan is more distant than ever, and it turns out there are other vampires out there. Bad ones. They’ve captured one of the Watcher vamps and are torturing him for information-and Drew is going undercover to rescue him.
But when their vampire prisoner turns out to be a gorgeous bad boy, Drew’s first mission quickly turns into more than she bargained for…
Review by ephrielle: In this novel, vampires take their rightful place on the evil shelf. That doesn’t mean they are cookie cutter vampires from the old days. The vampires have set up a training compound where they collect runaways and put them through intensive training. Don’t imagine they are doing the runaways any favors. They aren’t giving them life skills; more like using them for entertainment and food.
Life is hard for Annelise: her fellow initiates are trying to kill her, undead creatures are trying to eat her, she is training to be a Watcher, and she is walking a fine line of obedience to the vampires. Apparently that isn’t enough to keep her busy since she has a slew of love woes which I have illustrated here:
(In case you can’t decipher my masterful art.)
Yasuo (baby vampire)- Eww, not interested, he’s my best bud.
Ronan (mesmerizer)- I LUV him!
Alcantara (vampire)- You disgust me… you disgust me not.
Josh (baby vampire)- Maybe.
Carden (vampire)- We are bound by chains of love, my hunky skeleton man.
She manages to get around without actually getting around. Is that possible? At least there isn’t a love triangle. How can you fall in love with someone who will either eat you or torture you without a pang? Especially when those same people see you as little more than a toy or possession? Alcantara is a piece of work. He has some game afoot and when it is fully laid out it will be a doozy. I don’t trust that fellow for one minute. He is too sly and too perfect at playing a person right into his hands. The best character is Carden McCloud, who doesn’t show up until the end of the book, but he is worth the wait. Perhaps I have been infected with her crazy since I like the skeleton. I want to read the next book just to spend more time getting to know Carden.
It seems to me that the bullying in this story is caused by their desperate need for control. They are helpless and at the mercy of evil beings.
One downside to this novel is a smattering of mentionings of current fictional events, such as Voldemort or Twilight. It doesn’t add to the story, but breaks the dividing line between reality and this fictional world. Thankfully, these references are only near the beginning of the book. The evil verses more evil was something I couldn’t understand. I didn’t see any difference between vampires. They were all evil and cruel.
Nothing is as it seems. Everyone has more secrets than truth on the table. There is quite a bit of terror and etiquette. For the most part, the book focuses on romance or the lack of commitment in that area. Even so, there is enough story and a good pace to make the pages slip by quickly. What tortures await for these characters in the next book?
Content: moderate swearing, bullying, and heavy violence
About the author: Once upon a time there was a girl. She liked horses and Shaun Cassidy and Gunne Sax dresses, like many of the other girls her age. She had a big, loving family and, since their dad was in the Navy, they moved around. A lot. She was shy, though, and generally preferred a day spent in the company of her Trixie Belden books to running around with the other kids, whom she really didn’t know very well anyway.
She grew up and she still preferred the company of books, so she read, and she read some more, and she loved romantic stories, and stories about dragons and young men on quests, and stories by Jane and Daphne and Emily and Charlotte. But this girl realized that seeing all different kinds of places and all different kinds of people had become a part of who she was, and so she studied languages and art from faraway places. But she could be dramatic, and so she decided to study all of that while living in India. And then she studied in India again. For a long time. And she thought that, when she grew up some more, she would be a fancy professor and write linguistic papers and teach students about art and do other fancy-professor things.
But first she moved to California, where she had never been, because it seemed the place to move to start such a new and fabulous life. And she got a job to pay the rent. She discovered she still loved books that drew her in, and made her cry, and kept her awake till she had to scrunch her eyebrows to see the words clearly. And she realized too that she much preferred those books to the ones that mostly just taught her stuff and made her feel anxious that she wasn’t busy making grand statements in grand journals. And while she was figuring all this out, she needed money, and so she did what many of the other girls in California were doing and she got a job doing Internet stuff.
And she met her hero, and they married, and they got some pets and had some kids. But she still liked to go places in her mind as she stared out the window while doing things like washing bottles and burping babies, and so she started writing a story. And you can imagine the rest.
Now that she’s grown up, she likes to see movies and read books, cut flowers from her garden, spend time with friends and drink wine, and go snowboarding. Not all at the same time of course. And she still loves stories about dragons, but mostly she loves stories about love.