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Shirvington, Jessica: Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters 1).

** SHIRVINGTON, Jessica Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters 1) Lothian, 2010 382pp $24.99 pbk ISBN 9780734411846 SCIS 1483414


It seems that the YA paranormal romance genre has now diversified from vampires to a spate of publications featuring angels. Here in a first novel, there is a complex scenario featuring angels of both light and dark who have chosen to leave the spiritual realm and live on Earth in human guise. Called exiles, these creatures have joined forces, unheard of though that is, to take over the world and make humanity submissive to their will. In our world, however, are the Grigori--humans who lost a parent within the first few days of their lives and received essence from an angel. When they come of age at seventeen, they can choose to become a Grigori through a process called an embrace or reject that path. These people have superior strength and powers and are charged with protecting humans from exiles and removing them from Earth.

Violet's mother died on the day she was born and when she finds out from her friend Lincoln on the eve of her seventeenth birthday that she has been chosen as a Grigori and he is her Grigori partner, she initially recoils and doesn't want anything to do with either him or this whole supernatural dimension. She feels lied to and betrayed and turns for solace to Phoenix, but he is not who he says he is either. The story is partly based on the legend of Lilith and also on other angel legends. There are quotes at the beginning of each chapter from a variety of sources, including the Bible, but the concepts behind the plot are quite innovative. However, the complexity of the ideas does make the plot drag a little in parts.

The narrative is written in the first person so the character of Violet is reasonably well-developed. Other characters are not so well-drawn. After the first 100 pages or so, the action picks up pace, especially when exiles start to home in on Violet and her extraordinary powers. The crunch comes when Lincoln is attacked and almost dies. This book will probably appeal more to female readers who persevere through the earlier sections. As a first novel it is quite accomplished and fans will be pleased to know the sequel, Enticed, is due.

** Book by an Australian author or illustrator

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Author:Babbage, Lynne
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2011
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