ARC Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa – The whining has ended!!

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.

ASDASDASAGGDFGHFGJDFHDSG

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.

Examples:

“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:

THE GOOD

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.

OVERALL…

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.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Overall: 3.1
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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

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  1. laila BC says

    I am still happy with the 3 stars review. I will still look forward to reading this when i get my copy. I guess i just have to deal through the angst fest that is Allie and angst partner Zeke…even though they both sound eerrr not so good. Thank you for the rant review it gave me a few chuckles really. And you made Jackal sound like the beacon of hope for this final book. I still believe in Ms. Kagawa’s writing :)

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah, so many people loved it, Laila! I’m just a very critical person in nature and would often point out the things that are annoying to me. Many of my friends are annoyed by the same things so I give my best to make sure they know what to expect beforehand. Kagawa’s writing is spectacular as always!

    • FayeFaye says

      I know! I don’t like Allison all the time but Zeke, I could live without him. Like, really. He can disappear and the series would be a whole lot better. Read it for Kanin! I’m certain you’ll be loving it.

  2. says

    I too had problems with Allison’s whining and between her and Zeke I was about to go insane because enough was enough. My favorite characters were Kanin and Jackal. I freaking loved those too and that twist at the end there had me pissed for a second. I was like, ‘what is this?!’ Dumbfounded, as you said! Great review :) They’re always so fun to read!
    Janina @ Synchronized Reading recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (12): Kiss Kill VanishMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Right?! It’s like we get it, you’re so sad over this and that but please start doing something about it instead of wallowing over the same thing again and again.

      The twist really was off-putting. :/

  3. Dale Pearl says

    Great review Faye! Maybe your best one yet.

    I have missed you these past several months hope all is well there.

    • FayeFaye says

      Thanks, Dale! Wouldn’t say it’s my best one, as I was awfully distracted while writing this, but I had a lot of fun all the same. Hope life is good to you <3

  4. says

    I had so many giggles going through this review! I haven’t actually read/started this series yet, but there’s been quite a few mixed reviews on it overall. Allison sounds like an interesting character, but I’m not sure I can really handle all that angst from the characters! But I agree, Kagawa has such a wonderful way with words, and I’m so glad she goes the vampires justice with the gritty world building. I’m so sick of reading about paranormals gone tame. :P

    Wonderful review Faye!
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…DNF Review: Betrothed by Wanda WiltshireMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Wahaha! I’m glad to have made you giggle :D Allison is indeed interesting. She poses a lot of questions about morality, humanity, and choosing between who you are and what you are but she just overdoes it sometimes. Paranormals gone tame!! Pffft that’s basically YA PNR in a nutshell!

  5. says

    Hilarious review, and couldn’t agree more, absolutely LOVE Jackal. The whole ‘get Sarren’ thing was so consuming and really seemed to act as a filler for the lack of storyline. It was an awesome ending, but I thought it was a little too open ended. The state of the world, that type of thing. Would loved to have seen Jackal in his own series though.
    Kelly recently posted…Grim Anthology by Various AuthorsMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I love Jackal, too! He’s such an amazing character and full of energy. He brings light in the room full of angsty characters <3 But yes, I agree. There were so many pages dedicated to hating Sarren that it sometimes felt as something to make sure the book hits the maximum page limit. :/ A spin-off would be awesome!

    • FayeFaye says

      I can’t wait to see what you think, Kim! :) If you love this series, I have no doubt you will enjoy the finale.

  6. says

    No no, you mean it is THE BEST YA vampire series and SQUEE I got my ARC approved on Netgalley too! That aside, thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. SO true about the cheese! I think at times, Kagawa takes the “badass” route for Allison for the dramatic effect. And because Allison is just awesome/dumb that way. I cannot wait to read this!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Review: I found my book boyfriendMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I know, right? I mean Kagawa churns out a LOT of great quotes every now and then, but it doesn’t mean we have to go towards the drama route. Just bad-ass is enough. Can’t wait to read your review!

  7. says

    This was such an entertaining review. So I hadn’t read book two and there’s a massive spoiler in the blurb for this one (that’s okay, because I don’t mind spoilers) but now you actually have me excited to finish this series. This is the last book, right??

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • FayeFaye says

      Yes, this is the last book of the series! Blurbs should be spoiler-free :( Let me know when you’ve reviewed it so we can compare notes!

    • FayeFaye says

      I agree! Her inner demons are very realistic, and I’m glad she pushes the reader to think philosophically as well. I just have a problem with its over abundance. And Kanin + Jackal = Love!

  8. says

    hey, to be fair, Allison 2.0 in book one was wayyyyyyyyyyy less whiny than Zeke 2.0 I had so many urges to punch him Cage-style. And Kanin, what the fuck….. Have I ever loved/respected a character so much? Probably, but right now, I can’t remember their names. There was just so much angst, and all the bickering… As much as I loved Jackal in every book, including this one, I felt like how Kanin must have. Exasperated by the three of them. Holy crap, enough is enough!

    I like what you said about it being satisfying, and yet making us GLAD that it’s over. I hope Kagawa writes Jackal’s story now, set in Europe and all.
    Stuti recently posted…GrimMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I agree, Allison was more tolerable then than Zeke is now. I still remember rating Book 1 4 stars (compared to Book 2 and 3’s 3 stars) And much love, respect, and brownie points for Kanin. His deed at the end of the book was so touching and moving and heartbreaking ;_; HAHAHAHA I know right? I love some banter here and there but JESUS stop it already! You’re arguing the same things over and over!

    • FayeFaye says

      I didn’t like her Iron Fey series but Blood of Eden is definitely a catch, especially if you don’t mind copious amount of angst.

    • FayeFaye says

      Thanks so much, Carmel! You definitely need to read this one. Who knows; if the angst doesn’t bother you as much as it bothered me, you would enjoy it tremendously!

  9. says

    I recently read the first book in this series and I liked it. I will be finishing it soon hopefully and marathoning it when this one comes out.

    Have you read her Iron Fey series? Again, I have read the first book in the series and I liked it. I have the rest of the series which i will pick up soon!

    Thanks for stopping by and following via bloglovin’ :) xx
    Alex :) recently posted…Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac MarionMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      Nope, I haven’t read the Iron Fey series. I mean, I checked out the first book but I had decided it just wasn’t for me so I didn’t deem it fit to continue. Haha.

  10. says

    Oh Faye…you’re hilarious! ;) But, anyway, I’m thrilled to hear that Allison is out of her whining phase! Definitely going to have to add this to my pile, but I’ll be careful of the minor flaws you’ve mentioned. Nonetheless, glad to hear you enjoyed it overall! Thanks for sharing, and, as always, brilliant review! <3
    Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf recently posted…SalvageMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I know, I know. Humor is a talent of mine *insert very conceited laugh* but all kidding aside, please do check this out. It’s something you need to know for yourself if the angst is right up your alley.

    • FayeFaye says

      Yeah :/ a friend of mine kind of remarked the same, that Kagawa has some… patterns… in her books that may or may not be too cliché and predictable LOL. I am still looking forward to her new series. DRAGONS! who doesn’t love dragons? <3

  11. says

    Okay, I have not read anything from Julie Kagawa cause I wasn’t that interested with fairies and I didn’t even know she had a vampire series! I do agree, a lot of books tend to overly romanticize vampires as the tortured, misunderstood immortal but my fascination with them has always been that they’re supposed to be deadly. Even The Clann series which I surprisingly enjoyed featured overly romanticized vampires. I’m a bit hesitant with this because of the annoying main character but maybe I’ll try it out for their portrayal of vampires. Great review Faye :)
    Amir recently posted…Audiobook Review: Hallowed by Cynthia HandMy Profile

    • FayeFaye says

      I agree! Vampires are supposed to be deadly and dangerous. They have moral compasses of their own beyond human comprehension, and it saddens me when PNR books with vamp focuses don’t emphasize this

  12. says

    I’ve just finished this one and can definitely myself agreeing about you regarding several aspects of this book. The angst in this one seemed of the charts. Like Edward Cullen level angst, holy. It also seemed so repetitive and prevalent as it was present in the Allison AND Zeke. I used to quite ship Allison and Zeke together but the relationship between in them in the Forever Song simply wasn’t doing anything for me. Alike you I much preferred Jackal’s banter and overall character.

    Lovely review <33 I'm back from Italy and definitely find myself missing you and this great blog!

Trackbacks

  1. […] On the other(wrong) side of the bars are Zeke and Allison, angsting and blurring into each other because they have personalities that appear so similar. Zeke used to have a distinctive, albeit boring, personality, at least in the context of this series. However, in The Forever Song, his actions and mood-swings and gripes have a lot in common to that of Allison, soon after she became a vampire. The only differences are the psychopathic and cold looks he adopts at times. Zeke was in-fucking-tolerable. Moreover, their conversations are so completely stagnant. In fact, Faye from the Social Potato has depicted it exactly in her review. […]