Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, Paranormal, Dystopia
Series Name: Blood of Eden
Previous Reviews: The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publishing House: Harlequin Teen
Number of pages: 416
Source: ARC from Netgalley
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Buy on AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?
With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.
In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
Disclaimer: Rant ahead.
As much as I liked this series as a whole, I could not be any happier that Allison’s whining has ended. I know that looks very, very weird on paper, but if you read the books from start to finish, you should know that angst is pretty much the main character’s trademark. You cannot have the name Allison Sekemoto without angst attached to it like an octopus with its brutal eight-tentacled crush (thank you, Khanh). They go together, hand-in-hand, never without the other.
But seriously, all that silly stuff aside, I really am glad the series is over, and it ended in a rather positive note. No loose ends (that I can think of, but then again, I was too busy raging about Allison’s whining to even bother about plotholes), nothing bad to grieve or rage over. In a way, it was a satisfying ending to one of the darkest, grimmest, and bleakest vampire novels in Young Adult that I’ve ever read. It sent chills up in my spine, it kept me on my toes, it made my stomach do back-flips.
However… like the book, it was not all rainbows and sunshine. I found a LOT of problems here. Most are probably subjective, and may depend on the person’s patience and perspective, but they remained issues for me and played a large part in my not completely enjoying it. Call me nitpicky if you wish, I don’t care; the fact remains that while reading, there were times when it made me want to fling it out the window, and times when I’d put it aside because it frustrated me too much.
Exhibit A: ALLISON
Evidence 1: She is angsty.
As an overall character, Allison is pretty cool. She’s not one-dimensional and all and has shown a lot of depth and complexity especially with regards to her humanity. I appreciate how in the previous books, she was torn between fighting for her human side and embracing what she has become. It’s that kind of thinking that gives leeway to many philosophical ideas that people like Socrates, Kant, and Déscartes are known for. However, since book 1, and unfortunately until book 3, she has this tendency to do it in such an angsty and whiny manner. Which is not really a bad thing, really! Angst, if done right, and if done in reasonable amounts, can be fun to read (come on, don’t look at me that way! We all need to read a bit of drama every once in a while!).
However, what I didn’t like about her was how she did it too much. Angst here, angst there, angst everywhere. It felt never-ending. I had this problem before, especially in book 2, which was pretty much an angst-fest in a nutshell, but I hoped it would end here. Like I said, there’s nothing wrong with it per se, but if you already resolved this problem pages ago, and if someone already assured you that what you’re whining about is nothing to wallow over, and you still continue to do it ten pages later, then yes, we do have a problem.
Take this quote for example:
“Everything that’s happened – from New Covington, to Eden, to here – is your fault, vampire girl. Jebbadiah is dead, because you couldn’t save him. Kanin was tortured and nearly killed, because you had to see if Stick was all right, and he betrayed you both to the Prince. Everyone in Eden is going to die, because you let Sarren get away.” His eyes glittered with hate. “And I… I’m dead, because you came into my life, and I was stupid enough to fall in love with a monster. You killed me, Allie. Not Sarren. I’m a vampire now, because of you.”
Every word, every accusation, hit like a knife, slicing me open. But the last nearly dropped me to my knees. Tears blurred my vision, and I turned from Zeke, slumping against a section of roof that had fallen in. My fault. Jackal had been right. It was my fault that Zeke was dead, my fault for everything.
This part was especially frustrating to me because pages and pages before that, Allison was wallowing in self-pity about her beloved’s “death”, and Jackal’s snide comments about it were not helping. Kanin then told her that there is nothing to worry about, it wasn’t her fault, it was Sarren, don’t worry, everything else that happened wasn’t your fault at all, etc. etc., which, thankfully, comforted her (and shut her up a little). So why are we going over this drama again a few pages later?! I like angst, but not if you keep repeating the same thing over and over and over like a broken record.
Evidence 2: She has derp moments.
Many times throughout the book, I hated how Allison would showcase special cases of stupidity. Imagine this: you are about to fight what could potentially be the hardest battle in your life in a remote citadel in Old Chicago. You are wounded and surrounded by raiders who ooze with raging testosterone. You know you need your strength, and you know you need your friends’ help as well. But look! The stairs collapsed! Uh-oh. You’re cut off from the rest of your team. You’re alone. And the bad guy is just right in front of you, very likely sharpening its fangs to sink into your throat. Of course, you’d wait for your team, right? This could possibly be your last chance; heck, you could be humanity’s last chance, so it’s better to make it worth it. Your team tells you to wait for them. They’ll be right with you.
What are your choices?
A.) Wait for your team to arrive.
B.) Fuck the rest, you go alone. Surely your wounded state is enough to fight and defeat the madman ahead.
So yeah, you can pretty much guess what Allison did in a nutshell. The following isn’t exactly what transpired, but that was the gist of it:
Kanin and Jackal: We’ve been separated. Do NOT go against the enemy alone!
Allison: (sees sensitive object that reminded her of Zeke) (fills with blind fury) Must… kill… Sarren…
Kanin and Jackal: Wait for us there! We repeat, don’t go on your own!
Allison: Must… kill… Sarren…
Kanin and Jackal: We will face him toge—
Allison: Must… kill… SAAAARREEEEN (runs to enemy… alone)
Evidence 3: She likes cheese.
Ugh. Okay, this is extremely nitpicky of me, and I apologize if you think I’m being overly shallow about this, but I seriously cannot help it. There are times Allison says a lot of great quotes, but there are also times they’re full of WTF. Like, whoa, was this lifted from a Nicolas Cage action movie or something? Did you watch some corny chick flicks and subconsciously etched a cringe-worthy quote or two, Allison? So many of them made me roll my sockets, and some of them even made me put the book down and stare at it with judging eyes.
“Watch me, Zeke. I’ll send your killer to hell, and I’ll smile while I’m doing it.”
Did you watch too many Die Hard movies, Allie?
“Sarren is not going to win. I am not giving our forever to that sick bastard. this isn’t over yet.
Our forever? Really?
Exhibit B: Zeke
Evidence: He’s Allison 2.0
No, really. He is. As was implied in Book 2, he died and was resurrected by Sarren as a vampire. When he comes around later on, he becomes as angsty as Allison. This wouldn’t have been so bad, if he had something new to angst about. But unfortunately, what he whined here, Allison already whined about them in Book 1: regarding retaining one’s humanity and giving in to the Hunger that is prevalent in Vampires. It’s fine the first time, the second time, the third… but if you keep doing it over and over and over (again), it just gets real exhausting, dude. Like, seriously. I’m pretty sure you have better stuff to do than cry the same crocodile tears.
This is what usually consists of Zeke and Allison’s conversations:
Zeke: You must kill me, Allie. I can’t live as a Vampire. I’ll only kill those I love!
Allie: No, stay with me! You can control it! I’ll teach you how!
Zeke: Okay. I’m glad you’re there. (5 minutes later) Oh, Allison. I can’t do it. Sooner or later, I will kill people I love!
Allie: I’m here for you! I won’t let you do that! I lost you once, I won’t lose you again!
Zeke: Okay. Seriously, thanks for being there. (5 minutes later) Oh, god. I can’t stand with myself if I do kill innocents! I’ve done it before, Allie! I’ll only do it again!
Allie: Zeke, you can do it. Don’t you want our forever?
Zeke: Yeah, okay. Love you.
It’s like being in a motherfucking twilight zone.
EXHIBIT C: THAT RANDOM TWIST
Evidence: Its very existence.
Okay, I won’t spoil what that twist is, because that will only ruin the entire book and series for you. It happened near the end, and instead of being shocked or overjoyed, I was simply… dumbfounded. Yup, that’s right. I just sat there, read the scene again to make sure I was reading it right, and scratched my ebony head. I love twists and all, but this one just came off as seriously random, like, it sprung out of nowhere without any warning. Usually I like twists with a bit of foreshadowing and with a bit of background already shown, but this one? Where the hell did it come from? How someone becomes (X) was never mentioned in any of the books and it felt so convenient to place it there as the be-all end-all solution to the problem. Yup, it felt convenient to me. Although this is just perhaps a difference of perspectives.
Although to be honest, there were a lot of good stuff too. They are the following:
1.) Jackal. God, he was brilliant. He’s my favorite character of the whole series for me. Yeah he can be brutal and merciless and sarcastic, but boy, he says the best quotes and plus, he’s sees beyond himself. That’s what I liked about him the most. He’s practical and he sees the greater picture, unlike Allison who, I felt, is sometimes stuck in her own little bubble.
“Does it matter?” asked Jackal behind us. “Who cares what he’s up to? He can be planning to fill the world with puppies, and I’m still going to rip the shriveled black heart from his chest and shove it down his throat until he chokes on it.”
This is why I loves ya.
Raising his head, he bellowed into the room: “Hey, minions! Daddy’s home and he’s not happy! But because I’m such a nice guy, I’m going to give you a choice. You can make it easy for yourself and blow your brains out right now, or I can slowly twist your head around until it pops right off your neck. Your move!”
Ohhh, you’re so sexy smexy. Sizzle!
“Oh, heads are going to roll for this. I’m going to set up a special lane and use their skulls for bowling balls.”
So especially funny, too!
2.) It’s absolutely atmospheric. Kagawa has serious talent for really making the world dark, grim, and dreary. We’re given descriptions of the surroundings that really help us visualize and feel the bleakness of it all. Dead trees with dead humans hanging under the branches, people hanging from the ceiling with their intestines drooping out like pink snakes, the dangerous feeling of Jackal’s Citadel in Old Chicago, the hopelessness in Eden… she’s really great for making you feel you’re there. So kudos, Miss Kagawa!
3.) Kanin. He’s such a phenomenal character in and out. He helped create the world today and you can see he’s trying his best to make up for it in ways that he can. He’s pretty much everyone’s beacon of light and standing foundation, and you just love him for it. He’s so strong and vulnerable at the same time that you just want to hug him and whisper in his ear that everything will be alright.
I still stand with my opinion that this series is one of the best out there in YA about Vampires. They’re not carebear at all and they’re fear, dangerous, and deadly. They are truly presented as how they should be, and it posts very interesting points about humanity and being human. Allison and Zeke were not the strongest factors in this series for me, but the plot in general as well as the side characters were absolutely fun to read. They were the ones who MADE this series for me enjoyable. Without them, I’m not sure I could stand the constant angst being thrown left and right. Overall, a good series. Recommended with reservations.
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