Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #1
By Jessica Shirvington
hardcover, 367 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire
Where you can buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Categories: Paranormal, Romance, Angels, Love Triangle, Suspense, Urban Fantasy, Action
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author Challenge
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 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 the 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...
*Warning! Review may contain spoilers; please continue at your own risk!*
Final Score: 19/25=5 Cupcakes
My Rating: Positively Enticing!!!
Initial Thoughts: Wow. Let's say it once more. Wow.
When I first dove into Embrace I wasn't totally enthralled. But when the action started and secrets and betrayals took center stage; I was smitten.
Story/Plot: When a genre runs rampant through the Young Adult world, it's almost guaranteed that books will begin to show similar themes, and story lines. Where most angel books out there deal with good/evil, light/dark, heavenly angels/fallen angels; Embrace also contrasts these two components but does it in such a unique and individual way that there aren't many books I can "compare" it to. This is a very good thing!
Characters: I can't lie; I really didn't like Violet's character all that much. Her motto is, "Don't run and don't quit" yet that's precisely what she does to Lincoln; who she spends the first few chapters telling us she's desperately in love with, even though he doesn't share her feelings. If I loved someone that much and I find out they knew something like Linc knew about Violet, I wouldn't completely dump them and even come to hate them, especially when they are your ticket to fulfilling your destiny. Even before Phoenix's interference, Violet had given up on Lincoln, which she then does to Phoenix as well. This is my main hangup with Violet's character. For someone so strong and resolute, she certainly isn't willing to extend her motto to the people in her life.
It was also very difficult to watch Violet come out and deny her destiny; saying she would not embrace. I understand if anyone in real life was put in this situation they would experience hesitancy as well, and even a plethora of other emotions as well; but in the end you buck up and accept what you are, who you are, and who and what you will become. Violet is given this incredible gift and yet she wants nothing to do with it until she is forced into it.
I just had a difficult time really connecting to Violet's character. There isn't really anyone in her life that I feel she truly loves and cares about. Her mother died when she was born, so she never knew her and therefore didn't have a real connection to her. Her father is a workaholic and really doesn't see much of Violet, and doesn't take a huge part in her day-to-day life. Lincoln was a huge part of her life and her heart, until she felt betrayed by him. Same with Phoenix. The only person who is a beacon in her life is Steph, but even with Steph I just feel a very superficial relationship between them and nothing very deep or layered. When Violet tells Steph her secrets I do feel their bond strengthen, but it seems that Violet keeps herself arms-length away from everyone, sometimes even herself.
Also, the way she turned away from Lincoln, someone who could help her and be her confidant and ally, to be with Phoenix, and take advice from him is just baffling. When Phoenix is her sworn enemy, the fact that she trusts him over Lincoln chafed me.
When it comes to Lincoln, I truly feel sorry for him. Having to keep such a secret from the girl that he truly loves isn't easy - especially when she feels betrayed and turns her back on him when she finally learns the truth. When all he wants in the entire world is something he cannot have is just tragic. I don't feel he deserved what Violet did to him; and I think the fact that she embraced just so that she could save him is something she's going to hold over him; even though they are working on making things OK between them.
I got the creeps from Phoenix throughout the entire book, even when Violet was with him and believed him to be good and truthful with her. I'm not sure how I feel about him, my feelings are very mixed. I do feel bad for him though when Violet does to him what she initially did to Lincoln, even though Phoenix kinda sorta deserves it. I'm sympathetic towards him only because he really does love Violet.
Writing: There's no doubt that Shirvington has talent. She is one heck of a storyteller, and you can tell she writes confidently, each word handpicked and lovingly chosen to tell Violet's tale. At first I felt that things were happening too fast, but then the book balances the pace out and it's a nice combination of action and events. The first part of the book left me with a lot of questions but by the end they're about 95% answered. My thoughts on the book changed when Violet embraced and the angel of light, Uri, told her that he wouldn't give her any answers, she has to find them (within) herself. That's when everything changed and I realized DUH! I have to figure this out for myself as well! Shirvington will give you the info and it's up to you to figure it out and interpret it. The symbolism in this book is incredible, and the fact that my brain got a workout while reading is what gave this book a 5-Cupcake rating. And the emotions conveyed in this book were just incredible. I have read a lot of books and I've felt like I've been on emotional roller coasters while reading them, but Embrace is the ultimate emotional roller coaster. The emotions that I personally felt while reading this book left such a lasting impression on me.
Ending: I've been reading books lately that give me a very satisfied feeling when I close the book. Embrace continues this trend, which makes me happy! Other than how Violet turned on Phoenix, I feel that the ending worked well as a conclusion to events in this book, and will slide us into the action of book 2.
Cover: I don't think anyone can argue that the cover is something special! I love the violet background that starts out dark in the bottom left corner and sort of fades as it reaches the upper right corner; appearing almost like the amethyst-mist that Violet sees at the club, Hades. The feathers are interesting to me because they are all dark, pointing up, and falling. So I assume they represent the Exiles; however at first glance I wanted to think they meant Violet's choice between following the light and dark (but this was quashed when I realized all of the feathers were pointing in the same direction, and not some up and some down like I thought at first; aka pointing up to "Heaven" and down to "Hell") I also like the font used for the title and how the smoky appearance mirrors the "wings".
Final Thoughts: Joy runs rampantly through my veins at the thought of there only being five months until the release of the sequel, Enticed, in September of 2012. The final installment, Emblaze, releases in March of 2013.
Read This If You Like: Illuminate by Aimee Agresti, Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink, Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen, Undeadly by Michele Vail