by Julie Kagawa
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Slowly, I turned. The body in the chair hadn’t moved, still slumped forward with its head bowed. But as I watched, it stirred, raising its head…and I felt the earth shatter as his familiar, piercing blue eyes met mine across the floor.
“Hey, vampire girl,” Zeke whispered, his voice slightly choked. “I knew…you’d come for me.”
I absolutely, completely, and undeniably loved this story. It’s been a long journey since book one, and an even longer journey for me and this author. It takes a lot for me to bawl uncontrollably, to lose my breath with the pages as they turn, to make me want to read a purely fantasy series, to damn the author while also pledging my undying devotion and love for them…altogether it takes a lot to make me an incoherent blubbering mess and this author never fails to do so. It’s not always about shoving the largest amount of horrible things that can happen into a story, and it’s not about killing off characters just for the sake of dramatic endings-with some stories that works, and with others, it’s a desperate attempt to make something larger and unforgettable with a single dreaded occurrence. But with Julie Kagawa, no moment is thrown in just for the sake of it and no character is wasted.
“No.” Kanin’s voice was suddenly hard, terrifying. “You are simply using your demon to hide from what you really feel. Because you are afraid of what that means, that it might be painful. It is far easier to be a monster than to confront the truth.”
***There will be spoilers from previous installments***
Allie has been dealt all the worst cards imaginable. She was killed saving a ‘friend’, only to be turned into a vampire and shunned by that said friend after she lost everything and became a monster, she fell in love with a boy that still
has had a beating heart only for him to be revolted by her when he found out what she was, but then come to his senses when he realized she was a good pers…errr…vampire, only to lose him again (or did she??) at the hands of Sarren-a sadistic vampire hellbent on revenge and cleansing the world of the evil that now plagues it…..*takes deep breath* aaaaaaand that’s all I’m willing to recap, lol. But that’s only the beginning, and through it all, she’s had her sire, Kanin, and her almost-always-there blood brother, Jackal. I loved each and every character and found them to be so addicting. When I would put the book down, it was all I thought about. When I read a snarky line from Jackal, I almost always laughed. When Kanin would show his support for Allie or help her overcome that darkness that threatens to overcome her, my heart grew to unmanageable sizes…and then there was the romance.
Zeke’s cruel smile didn’t change. “I died, vampire girl,” he repeated, as if it were obvious. “And Sarren helped me forget. I forgot the pain of being a mortal. The human you knew before…he’s dead. Dead and gone.” He stepped forward, raising the katana above his head, eyes bright with glee and madness. I could barely see his features through the haze darkening my vision, but his voice rang out, cold and ruthless. “And now, you can join him.”
One thing I admire about Kagawa is the way she delivers her blows-you know something big is coming, you are fully prepared to take the bait, you are amped up, nervous, giddy, excited….and then she delivers the pivotal scene that will change it all. But that’s not all, oh no, this author doesn’t mess around with those wimpy final moments-she will repeatedly make you think that the big climactic scene is over, let you believe that you are safe and don’t have to cower at the thought that something else is going to happen to your precious characters, and then BOOM. Something EPIC happens and you aren’t ready for that second knee-buckling blow that wasn’t supposed to happen-she ALWAYS gives you two endings. Not just ONE final battle scene but TWO-and you never see it coming. And more than that, she isn’t such a bleak author that you think, “Well, why’d you have to go and do that?!” She almost always rectifies the problem or twists shit around so that it all works out in the end-for good or bad. But it doesn’t matter, because it is always clear that that was the destined path that was highlighted for the characters and you aren’t left questioning ‘what-if?’ And while I knew that, while absolutely stunning and crazy, the end of book two was just something to make us pine for book three like crack addicts eagerly awaiting our next fix, I still didn’t know how she’d work it out. I didn’t know if it would be romantically pleasing after the wait…but I knew she’d work it out somehow-I have that much faith in her.
“Just don’t get any ideas,” I growled at him. “Actually, I don’t know if I like the idea of going into your city of bloodthirsty killers. You’ve stabbed us in the back before-what’s to stop you from doing it again?”
“You’re never going to let me live that down, are you?” Jackal gave me an annoyed look. “Even though it probably saved your soft little hide from being carved into a pentagram by Sarren. Everyone seems to forget that part. Would it kill you to have a little faith in your older brother?”
The romantic angst in this installment turned a lot of people off-not me. It wasn’t overdone, it wasn’t pushed too far, and it made the story flow so much better. What Zeke goes through in this installment is what Allie has been dealing with for three whole books-how do you fight being a monster…when you are a monster? He was NOT his usual do-good self. He has BLOOD on his hands. He has MURDERED people. He is not the Ezekiel Crosse we all knew and loved…no. He is a blood-sucking, undead, killing, dark mo-fo with a chip on his shoulder…aaaaannddddd….is it weird that he was totally hotter to me? Because let me tell you, some of those LURV scenes? Errrmmmm…YES PLEASE.
“Say you love me, vampire girl,” he whispered, his voice low and husky. “Tell me…that this is forever.”
“I love you,” I said immediately. “And if we have forever, there’s no one else I want to spend it with.”
I loved the progression of their relationship in this one and I loved seeing the gang of four back together. The group as a whole is funny, sarcastic…and one thing I always love about Kagawa’s characters is that they are always undeniably loyal. I mean, these people, no matter how they play it off, would do anything for one another. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, sweet, and addicting, and I loved each and every one of these characters through all of their pitfalls and questionable morality-I loved every wicked little bit of them-flaws and all.
He didn’t know. I didn’t care about Eden. I didn’t care about his virus, or the cure, or the rest of the world. It made no difference to me if the humans found a cure for Rabidism, or if they could stop Sarren’s new plague. Humans meant nothing to me, not anymore. They were food, and I was a vampire. I was done pretending that I was anything less than a monster.
But I would kill Sarren.
And then finally-the last gush session about Julie Kagawa. You didn’t think I was done yet, did you? Kagawa’s writing is pulsing, raw, gritty reality demanding to be seen-screaming in your face, not giving you a moment to catch your breath as she seamlessly flows from one scene to the next. Not once do you feel like you can pull away or entertain the idea of putting it down for fear that you’ll miss a moment you can never catch again. The writing pulls you in so deeply and grips you so firmly that you feel like you can’t even look up. Your eyes continuously scan the page and delve so deeply and thoroughly that you feel as though you’re drowning in a sea of words. And the minute you look up you feel as though this powerful connection is broken and the scene is irrevocably impaired and the moment is lost. It can’t be skimmed and it can’t be skipped-her writing draws you in THAT deeply.
The flames roared at me, filling my mind, until all I could see was orange and red. I couldn’t think; I could almost feel the skin peeling from my bones, blackened and bubbling in the heat. If it wasn’t for Kanin’s grip on my arm, I would’ve fled, though I didn’t know where I would go. All I could think of was getting away from the flames. And Kanin wanted me to leap through the fire?
So, with a heavy heart I say goodbye to an amazing series. Goodbye to Kanin, the vampire who changed Allie’s fate and was always there for her-saving her from herself on more than one occasion-who was a constant presence in her life from the moment he turned her. Goodbye to Jackal, her incessantly pestering and annoying evil (so he says) blood brother who-despite his tendencies to tuck-tail and run-always came back to save the day and make everyone’s lives a little bit more chatty (I mean come on, he totally started to love all their company). Goodbye to Zeke, the ever-hopeful human boy who was foolish enough to fall in love with a monster-only to become one himself, in the end-who would do anything for Allie at any cost. And then goodbye to Allie, the fierce, petite, young vampire who’s life was irrevocably changed after one act of foolish heroics and bravery-the girl who would leave NO ONE behind. The girl who is loyal to the bitter end-goodbye to all, and I will miss you dearly.
“I don’t expect you to understand, little bird. I expect
you only to sing. Sing for me, sing for Kanin, and make
it a glorious song.”
|Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
The Immortal Rules #1
The Eternity Cure #2
The Forever Song #3