Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Interest: 2012 Debut Author
Source: ARC received at NCTE
Summary (From Goodreads): It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…
I’ve read quite a few paranormal angel novels, and while I’ve enjoyed many of them, too many of them follow the same plot. When I was speaking with the women working at the Sourcebooks booth at NCTE, I was told how awesome Embrace by Jessica Shirvington is and that I should give myself time to start it and finish it in one sitting. Based on my past reading experiences, I’ll admit that I was hesitant to start reading Embrace, but I’m happy to report that I worried for no reason at all! Embrace puts a fresh spin on the paranormal angel plot with a different take on the lore and a strong female protagonist. And the women at Sourcebooks were right: I needed uninterrupted reading time because I didn’t want to put Jessica Shirvington’s debut down.
Violet is different from many of the other female protagonists in paranormal Y.A. because she’s independent and strong. Does she feel conflicted about her purpose and her love interests? Yes. But she’s still smart enough to make her own decisions and own her choices, even when she makes choices that she might end up regretting. Too many of the female protagonists in this genre fit the damsel in distress archetype. Violet breaking that mold is probably the most refreshing part of Embrace. She spends a large chunk of time in the novel conflicted over her feelings for Lincoln, but I never felt like she was being overly dramatic. Violet often weighs her feelings before taking action. She’s still a teenager, so some drama is expected, but overall I was really impressed with how she’s written. The one flaw I found is the number of times Violet swears. Normally that doesn’t bother me, but it didn’t feel necessary. I’m fine with a well-placed swear word, but there were times when it felt forced or out of character for Violet.
The mystery and action are perfectly paced. Not too much is revealed too soon or too slowly. Readers will appreciate this because from the very beginning I was drawn in and the mystery only kept me reading and turning the pages. There are plenty of life or death situations, mixed in with romance, intrigue, and self-realization. There wasn’t a moment in Embrace that I was bored or feeling the need for something more.
Overall, I definitely recommend reading Jessica Shirvington’s debut. It’s already been released in Australia, so the first three books are already finished. This means that the books will be released within six months of each other!