Friday, 6 June 2014

Review - The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden, #3)

The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 15 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia
Pages: 393
Rating: 2/5 stars
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, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone. 
For the third and final book in a series in which the stakes are as high as they can possibly be, this book spends a lot of time on romance and not nearly enough on plot and action. The middle thirty percent of the book is literally just Allie and Zeke whining and arguing and kissing and whining some more. If I hadn’t already invested so much time and energy into this series, I would have DNF’ed it.

I might have enjoyed The Forever Song if Zeke was a stronger character. I might have liked it if I understood what made him so appealing to Allie. If I didn’t feel like he was holding her back. But that is not the case. I have disliked Zeke from his first appearance in The Immortal Rules, and my disapproval only increased in The Forever Song. Zeke is not the kind of love interest I want to see in a book about ruthless vampires who rule a dystopian society. He doesn’t fit in. His idealism is annoying instead of inspiring and I spent the first forty-odd percent of the book wishing he was dead. I think that this book would have been much stronger, particularly in Allie’s character development, if Zeke had in fact died at the end of The Eternity Cure. I would have loved to see Allie confront who she is as a vampire without Zeke around to guilt her into being a “good person”.

One of the biggest complaints I have about this series is the conflation of humanity and morality. Throughout the series, Allie rebels against what is expected of her as a vampire, believing their lack of humanity to make them inherently evil. This is something that I think Kagawa tries to resolve, but it didn’t work for me. I think that there is a distinct difference between humanity and morality, and I don’t think that line is painted as vividly as it should be in these books. It is not being a vampire that makes someone a bad person – morality is in the choices we make after the fact. Yes, there are a lot of horrible vampires out there, but I can’t say I’d have a lot of sympathy for the humans considering their immediate judgement of anything that is not like them. Not to mention the fact that humans have shown over and over and over that we are just as capable of atrocities as anyone else – humans do absolutely horrible things, but that does not throw their humanity into question. So why is it that humanity is something to hold on to at any costs?

I’m particularly disappointed in this book because of how much I loved The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure. There was so much potential for this book to be incredible, and it let me down at every turn. One bit of praise I can give it is that Kagawa writes great (though sometimes repetitive) battle scenes. She is quick with the action, and the pacing isn’t too bad if you forget about the middle section of the book.

My final complaint I have is the lack of female characters in the series. I didn’t really pick up on this until I was reading The Forever Song, but I can’t help but notice that Allison is the only woman in the entire series who actually matters. She is the only one with character development, the only one with agency and opinions and personality. The only other women to grace the pages of The Forever Song are Caleb and Bethany’s adoptive mother, who is suspicious and standoffish towards Allie and Zeke the moment she finds out that they are no longer human, and a human woman who Allie nearly kills at the beginning of the book, whose only purpose is to appear as a reminder to Allie of the relationship between herself and her deceased mother. I truly wish that some of the fascinating characters in these books could have been women. It just seems strange for there to be no other women in Allie’s life.

Best of Jackal (the one bright spot in this dismal book):
“Hey, maybe we can tie him half in and half out of the sun, that’s always interesting. Did that to some undead bastard who pissed me off several years back. The light began at his feet and crawled up towar his face, and it took a very long time for him to finally kick it. By the end, he was screaming at me to cut off his head.”

“Next time we get a flat, you’re on your own. In fact, I think some lazy little fucks who won’t be named need to learn the basics of changing a tire.” 
“For all I know, he could be chasing squirrels to make a necklace from their little squirrel balls.” 
“Puppy, I am getting so tired of listening to you whine about this. This isn’t rocket science. If you don’t want to be a monster, don’t be a bloody monster! Be an uptight stick in the mud like Kanin. Be a self-righteous bleeding heart like Allison. Or you can stop agonizing about it and be a fucking monster, it’s actually a lot of fun.” 
“All the meatsacks are perfectly content on their happy little island, Sarren has given up world destruction to raise kittens, and the magic wish fairy will wave her wand and turn shit into gold.

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