Thursday, March 01, 2012

Review: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

From Goodreads: 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 … 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: I love books that involve angels so I was really excited about finally being able to read Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace in North America. At the same time, I was a little wary as well because I’ve read quite a bit of angel novels and many of them haven’t been particularly great. Embrace though turned out to be one of the better books even if I did have several issues with it.

My main problem with Embrace was the characterization. I liked Violet in the beginning and could easily relate to her not wanting to celebrate her birthday or pining over Lincoln but not telling him how she feels for fear of jeopardizing their friendship. Given that she went through something traumatic and told Lincoln all about it, I could also see why Violet felt so betrayed by the fact that he never told her he was a Grigori. Over the course of the book however, Violet became increasingly emotionally unstable and it became hard to understand her actions. Shirvington does provide an explanation for this at the end so I currently feel very ambivalent towards Violet.

I also didn’t fall in love with either Lincoln or Phoenix. (Griffin, Lincoln and Violet’s mentor though was a different story, and I’d love to know more about him.) When compared to Phoenix, Lincoln is simply boring. That said, I’m rooting for him because it's obvious that he really cares about Violet whereas I found Phoenix to be controlling and a total stalker. I figured Phoenix had his own motives for wanting to know Violet and spending time with her, but I never guessed his backstory! It’ll be interesting to see how the two interact with each other in Enticed, the sequel to Embrace, now that Violet knows the truth about him and it appears that he may have developed some genuine feelings for her.

Another thing I found problematic in Embrace was the lack of parental presence. You’d think that Violet’s dad would be more protective of his daughter considering what she has been through; yet he remains a workaholic and rarely appears in the book. Similarly, Violet’s best friend Steph can do whatever she wants because not only is her family rich, but her dad is constantly away for work.

Despite its issues, I ended up enjoying Embrace since Shirvington created a tight story exploring free will vs. destiny with an interesting (though at times confusing) take on angels. It’s clear that Shirvington has talent and can write, especially romantic scenes; so I think Enticed definitely has the potential to be better!  

Embrace will be released by Sourcebooks Fire on March 6, 2012.
Comments About the Cover: The bottom half of the model’s pose is a little weird but I love the background and the wispy wings that hint at Violet’s angelic side. I also really like that there are falling black feathers because it suggests that just as exiles of light will vie for Violet’s powers, so too will exiles of the dark.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free. 


  1. Great review! I feel the same about this book. I liked it but I didn't love it. The triangle was much too cliché and both "perfect" evil vs good guy. Bleh. a but boring. They were both hot but that's about as far as my liking for them went. I still liked the plot itself it was interesting and I'll probably read the second. Great review! :)

  2. A lot of the issues you brought up here are some of my frequent ones with other angel books that I've read. I am, however, curious about the free will vs. destiny theme plays out in the book. So I might check it out. Thanks for an honest review, Z!

  3. Umm...No thanks? LOL

    I'm glad to know that you enjoyed this one despite its flaws, Z, but I don't think I'd be as lucky. As it is, I struggle with angel stories and though I think the cover for this one is beautiful, I not liking the sound of the love interests. Boring vs. Stalkery... yeah, not working for me.

  4. "Over the course of the book however, Violet became increasingly emotionally unstable and it became hard to understand her actions. Shirvington does provide an explanation for this at the end so I currently feel very ambivalent towards Violet."

    Yes! That was the exact same issue I had with this one. The explanation at the end wasn't quite enough to help me get over her actions in the previous pages. I'll be interested to see what I think of her in book two since it will essentially be like meeting her for the first time.

  5. You put all of the flaws in this book in the perfect terms! <3 I felt the same way about Violet as the story progressed -- she did some things that I wish she hadn't, but I Jessica's explanation for it helped me to understand her a little bit more in the end. :) And LOL that's so true! I once read a review that called it the Missing Parent Syndrome where the parent wouldn't be there and I thought it was GENIUS! x)

    Awesome honest review, Z! I'm really excited to get my hands on the sequel too -- with everything that happened in this one, I'm SO curious! :)

  6. I haven't read this one yet, but I definitely plan on doing so soon! I've heard lots of awesome things about this book, so I'm sorry you didn't necessarily feel the same. Violet sounds like she might get on my nerves--especially the emotionally unstable part. And the parents being non-present? Drives me bananas! Awesome review! <3

  7. I've had this one for a while, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Angel Books can be hit and miss with me, and even though I've read mixed reviews of this one, I hope it's a hit! I like these covers - they're so much prettier than the UK covers for the series!

  8. Hmm, I'm a little unsure whether I would enjoy this one. On the one hand, I'm encouraged that you seemed to like it more than you might usually like an angel book, on the other hand, iffy characterization and an unsatisfactory love triangle do not appeal to me. I'll have to think on it! Thanks for the review!

  9. It's tough when you have issues with the main characters. But at least you ended up enjoying it overall.

  10. Great review! Inever really liked angel books so I probably won't read it. I love the purple background and the wings on the cover too! I liked learning all the flaws of this book. But also I liked learning this book was about problems with destiny. Its amazing how good a story can be with the hero figuring how to react and deal.
    Anyways I enjoyed your review. I also like the Teddy
    bear on books. :)


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