Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: Empower (The Violet Eden Chapters #5) by Jessica Shirvington

Firstly, thanks to Hachette Children's Books Australia for this review copy <3

This is my last review of the year and I purposefully left this one to last because it’s the epic conclusion to one of my favourite series of all time – I think a very fitting closing out post for 2013.

My Background and History with the Series:

I first picked up Embrace in 2008. I was casually strolling through the book section of Target looking for books to read when I stumbled across this book with a gorgoeus lilac cover and a girl on it. Very intriguing and not like other book covers of the time. I immediately called my friends to ask them if they’d read it and one told me she liked it and for me to try it out. I finished Embrace that very night and when I found out it’s a series and Enticed wouldn’t be out for another year I nearly cried. It was one of the most refreshing angel books I’d ever read – actually, at the time it was THE best angel book I’d read. Let’s be honest, it still is.

Anyway, every year since then I bug my local bookstore looking for the next book as it comes out on release day. Luckily for me I bought Enticed, Emblaze and Endless all on their release days and finished them that night. I’ve given the whole series 5/5 and when I got to meet Jess this year I was just gushing and hugging her. Even luckier I managed to get Empower 11 days before its release! And yes I did finish it on the day I got it because it’s THAT good.

If you haven’t read the series, there are some spoilers. But there are no Empower spoilers so don’t worry (:

Date Read: November 1 2013
Release Date: November 12th 2013
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books Australia
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Paranormal
My rating:  (Not enough stars)

"It has been two years since Violet Eden walked away from the city, her friends, her future and - most importantly - her soulmate, Lincoln. Part angel, part human, Violet is determined to stand by the promises she made to save the one she loves.

Living in the perpetual coldness of a broken soul she survives day to day as a Rogue Grigori in London.

But when an unexpected visitor shows up at her door, the news he bears about someone she swore to protect leaves Violet with no choice.

Even worse, she fears that this might all lead back to the night she tries hardest to forget. And what was taken without her permission.

Violet is going back to New York ... and she knows exactly who is going to be there.

With Phoenix in her dreams and Lincoln in her heart she knows it is only a matter of time before the final choice must be made."


“I need you to live for me.”

Fast track two years from the ending of Endless and Violet Eden’s living the Rogue life in the UK, travelling around like a nomad and killing off Exiles for a form of income. She works alone. Vi’s strength is something I have always admired. She has grown into such an indepenent woman over the course of the books. What I love about her is that she has never complained about the large weight on her shoulders; she has taken everything in her stride – the sacrifice, the pain, the heart break. Her resilience and willingness to fight for her loved ones AND the greater good result in her decisions being occassionally conflicted as she tries to decide what’s best. But in the end she always manages to pull-through. She’s definitely a lot more distant and colder compared to the previous books. Shirvington did a great job with her character – the change over the years as a result of everything really reflected through Vi’s thoughts and actions. Once upon a time I may have been slightly annoyed with her, but not anymore. I love this girl so much.

“We do not run. We do not quit.”

Then, by a thrilling turn of events, someone goes missing and Vi is the one commissioned to find them. A knock at her door one night makes her go back to the Academy and face-to-face with Lincoln Wood again. ERMAGHERD *SWOON* Linc Linc Linc <3 Love this boy… wait man? Yes man omg I keep forgetting he’s 9 years older than Vi and OMG IS HE REALLY ALREADY 29 HERE? Woah yes he’s definitely a man. A very yummy one at that. He’s matured so much in Violet’s absence, filling out his suit ;) and becoming a real leader. I think my heart just automatically stutters of its own free will whenever he’s mentioned. And when we/Vi meets him head on? That tension was palpable and I’m just sitting here like “SODJFSDLHFSLDFKJSDJFD;LSAJDKASD GET TOGETHER ALREADY”. But the great thing is they didn’t. Ha. Hahaha. I’m such a masochist. The pain of reading Linc as he struggled with Vi’s reappearance was heart-wrenching. I loved that Shirvington didn’t just throw them together again. Linc had issues he had to work through – trust issues and the need to constantly protect Vi that he needed to let go of so that they could be real partners again. The great thing was him slowly learning to treat Vi as an equal in every respect. His trust, ability to love unconditionally, sweetness, kind heart and honesty make him of the best book boyfriends ever. Also, just… The sexy. Lots of it.

“It was painful. Incredibly so. It surpasses anything imaginable.”

Phoenix also makes an appearance in this book. How can he not? From the beginning he was integral to the story and I’ve always had a soft spot for him. As the series progressed he became more important and then Endless happened and I was like “BBY I’M HERE FOR YOU” *cries*. Phoenix has changed so much throughout the series… Or rather, is he finally showing his true self? Either way, Shirvington has created a complex character with so many edifices – one that looks different if you look on at different angles… Just like his hair really. The things he does, the acceptance and belonging he strives for, the love he yearns to have… This beautiful and broken person made me bawl my eyes out.

“Say the words I came to hear.”

What makes a series great and the main characters stand out are the supporting/secondary characters. The stronger they are, the more personality they give to the story and protagonists. The Violet Eden Chapters has some of the most memorable people I’ve ever met. Each one leaves a lasting imprint. Onyx and Dapper, Spence, Vi’s parents, Griffin all have their stories. But who I adored the most was Steph. Steph has been a constant to the series and her friendship with Vi since Embrace has been one of the most endearing things I have ever read. Their friendship is basically indestructible. Steph herself is another strong, young woman. Being pulled into the Grigori world, staying by Vi’s side, supporting her, being surrounded by people who will outlive her – that takes a strength and willpower of one’s own. Then there’s Gray, whose presence in Empower just took my breath away. I immediately fell in love with him at the beginning of Empower and his character is just brilliant. Funny, charming, witty and just so full of life he really had a huge impact on the story.

“Steph… well, Steph is one of the good ones. She doesn’t hold a grudge. She isn’t cold.”

So that romance aye? What we’ve all been waiting for. *Flails around wildly* My heart. My poor heart. That is all.

“This was real. Understood. Fought for. Against. Lost.”

Shirvington has managed to tie up every loose end in Empower. Seriously it’s an achievement. I’ll be honest, I was quite confused when I read the blurb of Empower. What did Shirvington have in store? What else could she put them through? Really hadn’t she done enough damage. Well thankfully she picks up the pieces and puts everything together. Everything from book one to what’s introduced in book five all fall into place as the story progresses. The complex plot explains many things that were left unanswered, the story never faltering in its purpose. Her writing is as addictive as ever, her words pulling you in to the Grigori world and anchoring you there until the story’s over. There is no shortage of emotions in Empower. With the squealing of happiness and swooning comes heart ache and heart break; with the healing comes new wounds and with the love comes bittersweet hope. As Shirvington has taught us, there must be a balance and she has done just that with Empower – balanced every emotion, every person and death and love. With it all, comes an amazing sense of completeness and peace once the last page is turned. In your heart, you just know this was the way things were supposed to end.

“May your dreams be many.”

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