by Julie Kagawa
Read: March 15 - 17, 2014
Published: April 15, 2014 by Harlequin Teen **UPCOMING**
Source: NetGalley (Thank you, Harlequin Teen!)
Category: Vampires, dystopian, gore, YA
Series: The Blood of Eden #3
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
NOTE: The Forever Song is the third book in a series. See my reviews for the first two books, The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure. If you're curious about the series, the first half of my review below is spoiler free. I will tell you when to STOP reading to avoid them. This review is safe if you've read the first two books.
VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS
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.
I've become fatalistic about series ends recently. In fact, I dreaded starting this book, because I was certain it would be another disappointing finale. But I shouldn't have been worried. In The Forever Song, Julie Kagawa has delivered a thrilling conclusion to her Blood of Eden trilogy that exceeded my expectations. Of course she tried to kill me in the process, and it is not an exaggeration to say I was on the edge of my seat for the entire experience. I'm also pretty sure I felt every emotion there was to feel while reading:
I was devastated, depressed, and fearful that this book would end in utter destruction. I was terrified, disgusted and completely horrified by the things that Allison encounters in this book, and the psychotic mind of one of the characters. I was heartbroken, hopeful and proud of Allison and her companions. I laughed and might have even swooned too (but that's unconfirmed). If a book can accomplish all of that, I'm declaring it a success.
One of my favorite themes in this series, which I pondered way back in my review of book one and was still thinking about in the final installment, is Does what you are, define who you are? I've very much enjoyed watching the evolution of that question within Allison and the characters she encounters. Does the fact that she's a vampire mean that she's a monster? Can you retain your humanity even when your heart stops beating? We know that humans can do bad things, but can vampires be good? Should they even try? And once you become a monster, is there any going back? These questions led to quite a bit of delicious intensity in this story.
STOP READING HERE if you're new to this series. Although I don't give away any major spoilers below, there are some character details you probably want to wait and discover for yourself as you read the series.
Although unlikely, and reluctant at times, Allison, Kanin and Jackal become a family in this book as they travel together on their hunt for Sarran. Even though some of them would never want to admit it *cough* Jackal *cough*, I think they all love their new familial bond. I have been a fan of Master Vampire - and Allie's sire - Kanin from the beginning, and that doesn't change in this book. He has an incredibly strong presence, although he doesn't often say much. He's lived a long time, experienced a great deal, and his burdens are heavy. I'd definitely read an entire series about his life.
The vampire that stood out to me the most compared to the previous books, was Jackal. For some reason I didn't connect with him in book 2, but he was definitely a favorite part of three. Everything he says is awesome. Seriously, every time he opens his mouth - which is frequently - he calls Allie out on something, or says what everyone else is really thinking but doesn't want to voice. It's still anyone's guess whether he'll choose to do the right thing or not. Still, no one is more shocked than he is about how his life has changed since meeting Allison. In a book filled with a lot of horror and blood, Jackal was a welcome addition.
I'm going to spoiler tab my discussion on one character, though I'll still try to be vague. But really, don't peak unless you've read this book!
Allison and Zeke's romance is one of my favorite aspects of this series. It is unlikely from the very beginning, but that's exactly why it worked for me in The Immortal Rules. When they meet, Allie is a vampire and Zeke is human who hates vampires. They definitely don't seem like a great match. Besides their personal philosophies, she is strong and immortal and he's weak and mortal in comparison. Because I always think practically about my ships, I struggled with them as a couple in The Eternity Cure. Even though I really liked Zeke's character growth in book 2, I kept wondering what kind of future did they have together? Then came the devastating end of the second installment and I didn't know what to think. I'm not going to tell you what happens in book three, but I want you to look back at the first sentence of this paragraph, because it holds true. What I loved was - after suffering some heart attacks about the story direction - we were allowed to see the strength and bond of these two as a couple. What they could accomplish together as a team, and the ways they supported each other. Much of Allie's growth in this series can be seen through her relationship with Zeke, and in some ways is because of it. Julie Kagawa knows how to write a love story.
Of course, I can't end this review without talking about Allison, who began this series as a defensive "fringer" girl, fighting for survival. Now she's a powerful vampire bent on destruction. She continually amazes me with her inner strength and will to keep fighting no matter what. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of her. As the blurb on the book cover states, The Forever Song is a "spectacular conclusion." I definitely recommend it.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series end. Satisfying! But leaves wiggle room for future stories, if there were to be any. That is not confirmed! As far as I know, this is The. End.