Tuesday, October 26, 2010

[Review] Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Embrace
Author:Jessica Shirvington
Publication: 14th October 2010
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Review Copy: PB, for review (Thanks Hachette!)
Pages: 380
Series: First in a planned series
My Rating:

I slowly opened my eyes. The sun speared its first bright rays of golden orange into the sky and I leapt from the cliff, with the sorrowful knowledge that no matter what the outcome, at least part of me would die that day...

Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend?

After he gives her the world’s most incredible kiss – and then abandons her on her front doorstep – Violet is determined to get some answers. But nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori – part angel and part human – and Violet is his eternal partner.

Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. She never believed in God, let alone angels. But there’s no denying the strange changes in her body ... and her feelings for Lincoln. Suddenly, she can’t stand to be around him. Luckily, Phoenix, an exiled angel, has come into her life. He’s intense and enigmatic, but at least he never lied to her.

As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...

My thoughts: 

Short Version:
Embrace is a compelling and extravagantly imaginative and fresh new take on the angel mythology in YA fiction. The characters were portrayed well in a way that made me actually care for their survival, with a compelling storyline to drive through the novel; Jessica Shirvington's writing had me racing to the end. For fans of the paranormal genre, of action, of hot guys: Embrace is definitely a must-read!

Essay Version:
I am ashamed to say that Embrace was my first 'angel' book. However, I really enjoyed it; Embrace is probably the first paranormal YA title that I REALLY enjoyed, and one that I am definitely going to pursue on to the next titles in the series. That is not to say, that there aren't other paranormals that I've read in the past that I wouldn't have wanted to read the next titles; it's more like, with this one, I'm dying to read more.

In Embrace, we are introduced to a location, somewhere on Earth. It is never actually specified, nor is there ever much scenery or ambiance described from scene to scene. However, many paranormal titles seem to skimp the details, and just get to the dialogue and action, which Jessica Shirvington executed with finesse in Embrace.

     They exchanged blow after blow, all at lightning speed. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. The blond was so fast, sending his fist into Phoenix's face with punishing force, throwing him across the width of the alley and into the brick wall. Amazingly, it barely slowed Phoenix, who was back up faster than I could track with my human sight. Phoenix didn't hesitate in his retaliation. He was a beautiful, lethal machine - lithe and fluid as he weaved and dodged the exile's blows. (p. 132)

In this world, we have Violet, the main character--who has worked hard at maintaining a normal life, after what her teacher did to her at her old school years ago. She has the best friend in the world, Steph--who we are introduced to in the first page--who loves to shop and talk about boys. And then there's Lincoln, the boy that 'Vi' has been crushing on for way too long, the boy who is 'just friends'. Her world is spun upside down when she discovers she's not as normal as everyone else at school; she's special, and it all started when her mother died with her birth...

First, the 'features' of the actual book. The quality of the paperback is superb; the pages are white as though they've been bleached, not to mention VERY flickable and smooth. You may find it strange that I have to mention these things. Well, I absolutely love it when a book has been made so well, and it compels me to pick it up even more. Of course, the cover is the first aspect.
The model used for the book cover is gorgeous, and really suits it once you've read it. The pose is so very Violet, and the colours used--purple, violet? The cover designer (Xou Creative) did a fantastic job, despite the fact that there wasn't enough of a paranormal element in it. I think it's strikingly beautiful in all its simplicity. The purple wings are simply divine...

Every chapter is marked with a quote, sometimes biblical ('There are things even angels desire to look to.' Peter 1:12), others from philosophers ('Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires but according to our powers.' Henri Frederic Amiel). These reflected on the kind of thing that was going to be addressed in that given chapter, and gave it a little bit more colour, more sacrilegious.

The writing is brilliant; Shirvington let the words flow, which made it that much easier to read through. Embrace is written in first person, past, in Violet's perspective. As with most other paranormal titles, her voice is, for the most part, sarcastic and unwilling to succumb to others' desires, and in that, she is established as a strong-willed and very capable female protagonist. I actually quite liked Violet, despite her almost-nonsensical switching between the two angels who vie for her attention: love triangle. (Twilight, anyone?) Her barely-there father is about all the family we ever see in Embrace, and while there is some interaction between the two, I hope for more; I really like it when authors write familial interactions, because it's not as common as I believe it should be.

       Finally, she spun to glare at me accusingly.
       "'This is all your fault! He's been so worried about you he hasn't been able to function. He doesn't eat.' She wrinkled her nose at the dirty plates. 'Well . . . not to his normal standard. He hasn't slept in days. He blames himself for everything. That's why it was so easy for Onyx to overpower him. Even now . . .' She pushed aside a plate in the sink so she could fit a glass under the tap and it set off a domino effect - the whole pile of plates shifting and clunking. I heard a crack. She persisted anyway, blasting water into the glass and slamming it on the counter after barely a sip. 'He's asking for his rainbow,' she scoffed.
       'What is it with all this rainbow crap?' I asked, turning to Griffin and blanking Magda. It was either that or giving her a one-fingered salute. (p. 234)

Live in Australia?
Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository

I am in no way affiliated with the above sites, nor with Shirvington or the publisher. I do not receive any money for reviewing or linking.

Learn more about Embrace and read more reviews at Goodreads!


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