Series: Avena #2
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing
Published on March 1st 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
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Following the revelation that Ebony is an angel, and Nathaneal’s narrow victory in battle with Prince Luca, the two are enjoying their newfound love. But Ebony’s friend Jordan is bitterly angry that he has lost the girl of his dreams. Then suddenly Prince Michael arrives to arrest Nathaneal for breaking Avena’s law when he revealed his powers on Earth in his bid to save Ebony from Luca. Nathaneal is forced to return to Avena without Ebony to stand trial.
Jordan seizes the opportunity to plant doubt in Ebony’s mind about Nathaneal and her own angelic nature. Desperate to find out what has happened to her adoptive parents, Ebony is persuaded by Jordan to believe that new teacher Mr Xavier, who claims to be her uncle, can introduce her to her real father. Disaster inevitably follows and Ebony finds herself at the centre of another epic battle in the realm of Avena itself.
While Nathaniel is charged with the crime of revealing his power to his enemies and is sent on a mission to redeem himself, Jordan gets to work breaking up Thane and Ebony, only to find that his time has been cut short when the evil Prince Luca, surprise surprise, kidnaps Ebony early to claim her as his bride.
I don’t get this worldbuilding. There, I said it. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why Thane was in trouble in the first place. Everyone kept saying what he did was a crime, and I couldn’t figure out why saving his life, the lives of his friends and colleagues, Ebony’s life, Jordan’s life, and almost destroying the one enemy who is determined to ruin everything was a crime. Something about Thane revealing his powers – why is that a crime when no one but other angels saw it? No one ever told me why. Something about destroying the earth’s environment – OK, I get it, but CONTEXT, PEOPLE. He was saving the lives of several angels and defeating the foe. Something about a non-king not allowed to kill a king? Who the hell invented that rule? But Luca goes by ‘Prince’ and Thane is technically a prince, too. What’s stopping Thane from becoming king? Why is Luca both a prince and a king? WHY U NO MAKE SENSE?
You know what? This is probably why we didn’t ‘see’ the trial. All accusations woudl have gone out the window and Thane would have been free to return to Ebony.
CHARACTERS + RELATIONSHIPS
OH MY GOD THE FLIP-FLOPPING. I couldn’t keep track of who thought what of whom. First Ebony thinks Zavier is human, then out of nowhere decides he’s an angel and that she hates him, then immediately runs to his side when he’s hurt. Zavier goes from Luca’s lapdog to small-time betrayer. Gabriel accuses Ebony and Jordan of getting it on and ‘cheating’ on Thane but then stays t help them anyway. Jordan can’t decide if he likes Sophie or Ebony, but I mean he totally loves Ebony, which explains why he gets all upset when Sophie and Danny hook up. Amber hates Jordan, which is consistent, at least. All the bad guys minus Zavier seem to be creepy sexual predators. Does everyone want to bone Ebony?
WHAT WORKED/DIDN’T WORK
I’m normally not one to say this, but WHAT IS IT WITH THE MIDDLE BOOK SYNDROME? This is clearly a ‘filler’ novel where Ebony questions whether she’s human or angel despite, you know, starting to grow her goddamn wings which conveniently and unexplainably disappear so she can angst over whether or not she’s the ‘one’ Thane’s been looking for! This goes on for half a novel! Then the other half is her kidnapping. FILLER FILLER FILLER.
Luca’s been keeping Jordan’s mother as a slave for how knows many years, so how did he know that was the ONE thing that would manipulate Ebony’s charge? How did he know Jordan was Ebony’s charge? WHY DOES THIS MAKE NO SENSE?
And oh, the inconsistency. Like last time, I had a hard time following this book. Characters have no thought processes. We don’t get any introspection that leads to decision making, only “I’m so in love with Ebony!” from Thane and Jordan and “I’m so in love with Thane!” from Ebony. Ebony flip-flops between hating and caring for nearly every character except the black and white of Luca and Thane, on which she never wavers. Jordan’s supposed to be this tough guy now that he’s been in training, but both Skinner and Zavier toss him around like a rag doll.
I once had this writing partner in high school who ultimately turned her character into this super-powered omniscient god for lack of a better description, yet she still ‘fainted’ from exhertion and was liable to be knocked out during battle, leaving her helpless. This was when I was a teenager, mind you. I can’t help but think the same thing of Ebony, Thane and Luca. They’re super-powered until it’s convenient to the plot not to be. It feels totally forced. The whole plot felt forced, from Thane’s ‘crime’ and retribution to Ebony’s early kidnapping which, I might add, took up half the freaking novel.
Oh and one more thing. Luca seems to think he’s won because Ebony used her FREE WILL and ‘consented’ to go with Zavier to meet her biological dad. But Ebony didn’t consent to enter Skade, or go with Luca, and besides, the thing about FREE WILL? Ebony can CHOOSE that she no longer gives consent.
I think my head is about to explode with just how juvenile it all feels. And I tried to keep reminding myself that a lot of teen girls think Patch from Fallen and Xavier from Halo are hot and ideal boyfriends, and House of Night is, to my bafflement a successful series for teens, so maybe I’m just not as
gullible imaginative as the teen girls who might enjoy pretending to be beautiful, perfect, damsel in distress Ebony?
Yet, despite all I’ve said about the inconsistent writing, I’ve already started the next book in the series. This is what I don’t get: I can tear a book apart yet still deep down enjoy some part of it, and I can’t say what it is. It’s the same with two of my favourite juvenile TV shows. Despite what I’ve said about the lack of sense making, I kind of just skimmed over the inconsistencies and tried to forget about them and that way, the novel turned out to be somewhat enjoyable.
PS – I can’t believe they spelled Zavier’s name as Xavier in the blurb. Some kind of editorial oversight. Yeesh!