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Embrace - Jessica Shirvington 4.5 stars

Violet and Phoenix/Lincoln

Not too long ago Sophia asked me if I would like to review a YA book- Embrace by Jessica Shirvington. I do not read YA but since she asked so nicely I thought I could give it a try. I said yes all the while grumbling, moaning and complaining to myself. Young adult? Really? There is no payoff. There is just teenage angst. Why would anyone read and enjoy it? I should have known better. Never judge an individual book by the whole of its genre. And that was my lesson for this week! So I struggle with my thoughts on this book. Was it really as good as I thought it was? I don’t read much YA- are they all like this? There is a ton of buzz about this book so maybe I just got lucky and got to read one of the better ones. Either way, this book was pretty darn good.

Violet dreads each birthday. Her mother died while giving birth to her so each time the day comes around all she is reminded of is a mother she never got to know. Her 17th birthday turns out to be completely different when she finds out the guy she has been hanging around for the past two years is not human and wait…neither is she. He is Grigori- part human and part angel- and she is his partner. She is faced with the choice of becoming Grigori or denying that part of her heritage and remaining plain old human.

Grigori were placed on Earth to send exiled angel back to where they belong. When an angel choses exile he usually ends up the equivalent of a human serial killer. Unfortunately for Violet, who does not want to be Grigori, she radiates colors that let every exiled angel know exactly who and what she is. Until she embraces her destiny fully she is vulnerable to all angels.

While Violet is reeling from the fact that Lincoln, the supposed love of her life, has been lying to her for 2 years in comes Phoenix. Phoenix is an exile that has not gone fully bad or so he says. He follows Violet around until she is convinced he is not out to harm her. So we have a love triangle yet not. Lincoln is temporarily out of the picture because of his betrayal and Phoenix is temporarily in the picture yet not being completely honest with Violet.

The triangle is a classic good vs evil plot. Maybe it is just me but I was all over the evil side of this one. Phoenix was compelling and very secretive. I wanted to know more about him and I wanted Violet to choose him. Lincoln is the steady one and the one Violet has always had feelings for. Lincoln was almost too vanilla for me. He backed off when I wanted him to force the issue and he was a bit whiny whereas Phoenix knew what he wanted and went right after it. It was very easy to see who was going to win the love triangle battle but it was fun to watch it play out. Both guys are still in the picture at the end of the book but Violet has made a choice on how to move forward. Her choice might surprise some but it felt natural. It felt like the way she needed to go to follow the new path her life was set upon. And while we don’t get all of the details there are still some good sexy scenes in the book. I didn’t feel cheated at all in that aspect.

I just talked a lot about the love triangle part of the book but there is so much more going on. Violet is a rare Grigori; one that can sense with all five senses. Normally they only go with two and even three is very rare. Violet is a warrior unlike the Grigori have ever seen. With dark and light exiles banding together to get rid of Grigori, Violet will need everything she possesses to save her friends and family. She will have to overcome all her fears and old desires and make the hard choices. The question of whether she will make the right ones is what left me interested. Violet isn’t all black and white or all white as you would think a half angel should be. There is some darkness in her that makes the story all the more interesting. The reader is never told if the angel Violet was created from was a dark or light angel but we do know it was a very powerful one.

One minor flaw to the book is that everyone seems to be a little too perfect. Everyone is attractive and draws the attention of all manner of people. They all seem to be wealthy and put together. It would have been nice to see some flaws in each character. That doesn’t detract from the overall story however it is something noticeable.

There are some religious themes in this book that could offend some people. They must be taken with a grain of salt as they are part of a story and not necessarily beliefs that most people will or do buy into. But any reader should be aware that a story about angels will likely have religious overtones and this story does.

Embrace has been already released is several countries however the US release date is March 1st 2012. I think I am going to have to make an exception with my YA reading to continue on with this series. I am hooked and must know what happens with Violet and the rest of the group. I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about YA but still wants to romance in their books. I think there is enough to keep even the most skeptical reader (me!) interested. Final grade- B

Favorite quote:

“We all have individual strengths; yours seem to reflect a rainbow in your aura. Lincoln can see the shadow that cling to people after they’ve been altered by an exile. It’s possible that in his weakened state, he can also see your aura more clearly too.”

“Great. So he gets super strength and power of Sight, you get to be some kind of human lie detector, and I get my own float at Mardi Gras.”