Saturday, September 1, 2012

Living Violet by Jaime Reed

Title: Living Violet
Author: Jaime Reed
Publisher: Dafina
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Pages: 304 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: author website

Living Violet (The Cambion Chronicles, #1)He's persuasive, charming, and way too mysterious. And for Samara Marshall, her co-worker is everything she wants most--and everything she most fears. . .

Samara Marshall is determined to make the summer before her senior year the best ever. Her plan: enjoy downtime with friends and work to save up cash for her dream car. Summer romance is not on her to-do list, but uncovering the truth about her flirtatious co-worker, Caleb Baker, is. From the peculiar glow to his eyes to the unfortunate events that befall the girls who pine after him, Samara is the only one to sense danger behind his smile.

But Caleb's secrets are drawing Samara into a world where the laws of attraction are a means of survival. And as a sinister power closes in on those she loves, Samara must take a risk that will change her life forever. . .or consume it.


Review:


Living Violet didn't really have any expectations to live up to, but if it had had any, it surpassed them easily. So much fluff that I could choke on it! A heroine with a brain! The cover might make it seem SUPER SRS, but this book is not that serious and overdramatic. It's pretty funny, actually.

Samara's narrative voice flows well and her story is compulsively readable. Rather than reading a few chapters at a time, I read the entire book in three or four quick bursts where I couldn't get enough. She's got a good brain in her head too; multiple times, she's not afraid to enforce some boundaries on Caleb and get some distance when things become too much for her to handle. She also recognizes that Google is not very helpful when it comes to finding out more about one's supernatural boyfriend. More than one silly trope in YA PNR gets picked on and most of the time, it's done pretty well.

Though the novel lost direction for a while roughly halfway through, finding the motivation to read on was rarely a problem. Samara's wisecracking as she poked the tropes, her developing relationship with Caleb, and the development of Reed's fascinating mythology behind the Cambions were what usually kept me going. Even though low blows at popular books normally irritate me, this one's attempt at it (complete with a teenage girl who says others are just jealous and don't get it the way a troll on someone's review might) made me start giggling. Those sections are highlighted so I can get back to them more easily.

So what kept me from giving what was one of the most entertaining books I've read in recent memory a higher rating? For one, the writing was a little... over-the-top sometimes. One line where Caleb's gaze was able to disrobe and deflower her while still looking innocent had me rolling my eyes and there were similar moments throughout the novel. Samara also had three strikes against her for calling a guy a man-whore (that's not okay no matter what gender they are), calling some preteen girls prostitots (I have NO respect for anyone real or fictional who has no problem using this word), and use of "retarded" to call something stupid. I don't quite care if it's "realistic"; it still makes me angry.

The implications of one of the reasons Samara is able to resist Caleb's pull is rather iffy too. She can resist because she's a virgin and is satisfied with her love life as it is, but girls who have had sex or are somewhat unhappy with their love life will throw themselves at Caleb--sometimes literally. Basically, if they've had a taste of guys, these girls can't stop themselves sometimes. (That leaves me asking: what about the gay people? Are lesbians attracted to Caleb just because they're female? Are gay guys attracted to him on his own merits or does the pull affect them too?)

I was entertained enough by Living Violet to want its sequel Burning Emerald ASAP (though it helps that the sequel's blurb says something about the antagonist wanting Samara; I'm a crackshipper by nature and that blurb dangled catnip in front of my face). If you're in a bad mood and need something sweet and fluffy, check this book out. Who knows? All the sweets consumed in-book might even keep you from going for comfort food instead!

3.5 stars!


What am I reading next?: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian