From Goodreads: 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 Rating: 3.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: I love books that involve angels so I was really excited about finally being able to read Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace in North America. At the same time, I was a little wary as well because I’ve read quite a bit of angel novels and many of them haven’t been particularly great. Embrace though turned out to be one of the better books even if I did have several issues with it.
My main problem with Embrace was the characterization. I liked Violet in the beginning and could easily relate to her not wanting to celebrate her birthday or pining over Lincoln but not telling him how she feels for fear of jeopardizing their friendship. Given that she went through something traumatic and told Lincoln all about it, I could also see why Violet felt so betrayed by the fact that he never told her he was a Grigori. Over the course of the book however, Violet became increasingly emotionally unstable and it became hard to understand her actions. Shirvington does provide an explanation for this at the end so I currently feel very ambivalent towards Violet.
I also didn’t fall in love with either Lincoln or Phoenix. (Griffin, Lincoln and Violet’s mentor though was a different story, and I’d love to know more about him.) When compared to Phoenix, Lincoln is simply boring. That said, I’m rooting for him because it's obvious that he really cares about Violet whereas I found Phoenix to be controlling and a total stalker. I figured Phoenix had his own motives for wanting to know Violet and spending time with her, but I never guessed his backstory! It’ll be interesting to see how the two interact with each other in Enticed, the sequel to Embrace, now that Violet knows the truth about him and it appears that he may have developed some genuine feelings for her.
Another thing I found problematic in Embrace was the lack of parental presence. You’d think that Violet’s dad would be more protective of his daughter considering what she has been through; yet he remains a workaholic and rarely appears in the book. Similarly, Violet’s best friend Steph can do whatever she wants because not only is her family rich, but her dad is constantly away for work.
Despite its issues, I ended up enjoying Embrace since Shirvington created a tight story exploring free will vs. destiny with an interesting (though at times confusing) take on angels. It’s clear that Shirvington has talent and can write, especially romantic scenes; so I think Enticed definitely has the potential to be better!
Embrace will be released by Sourcebooks Fire on March 6, 2012.
Comments About the Cover: The bottom half of the model’s pose is a little weird but I love the background and the wispy wings that hint at Violet’s angelic side. I also really like that there are falling black feathers because it suggests that just as exiles of light will vie for Violet’s powers, so too will exiles of the dark.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.