Amaranth by Rachael Wade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amaranth (The Resistance Trilogy #1)
Camille has finally taken a step toward breaking away from her abusive relationship and dysfunctional family. A trip to Paris, where she has always longed to go, research for a book she longs to write (but has not even told her best about), and a "special" coat she spent way too much on, but it makes her feel happy and in control. It's here in Paris that she has a chance encounter with Gavin Devereaux. He somehow can tell she's searching for something and recommends that she move to Paris. This is too much of a leap for Camille, and while she is drawn to Gavin, she wanders through Paris on her own without ever contacting him again. She is, however, inspired by his suggestion...
A year and a half later, Camille is now living in Southern Louisiana. She has "improved" her life by leaving Seattle, is attending a university, and working at a local bookstore; at the same time, she has just traded one abusive relationship for another. The Hoodoo influences in the area have lead her to attempt to work spells and rituals herself to banish her newest, and worst, abuser yet. But nothing seems to work! She is still trying to rid herself of Andrew when her best friend finally visits for the first time from Seattle, and Gavin appears at the local bookstore. Still drawn to him, but without Paris to distract her, will she find what she has looked for in his arms? Despite what she may, or may not have been looking for, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed: Amaranth, an exile world for vampires. Soon she must decide what path to follow and what price she is willing to pay. For all paths require a sacrifice.
What I Thought
I've never been this conflicted about a book before. I've waited a full 24 hours after finishing it, hoping that time and distance would clear up my thoughts and resolve my opinion, but to no avail. I so badly wanted to like this book, not that I dislike it... The best way I can describe what I think is to lay out the pros and cons. My overall rating fluctuates between 3 and 4 ♥'s. I can seem MANY people liking this book despite my ambivalence.
Pros: The characters are vivid, the description is impeccable, even the cover is so lovely. It is written very well, and one can't help but want to read the next in the series to find out just what happens. She really builds and entirely new world, with an interesting take on vampire "mythology". The main male lead, Gavin, is most definitely swoon-worthy. And I simply loved the small nods to Twilight and Johnny Deep (*sighs*).
Cons: Part of who Camille is, reads (to me) as a standard relationship abuse victim. She seems to define herself by the bad males she has paired herself with in the past. Granted, some of her "current" victim behavior is supernaturally enhanced... but enhanced or not it's there. She's a victim at heart, in my opinion, and I just don't like victims. Yes, she did take steps to break away from abuse but she seemed stuck in a cycle she was doomed to repeat no matter what steps she took. And her choices that she makes! It's been a while that I've read a book where I so badly wanted to reach through those pages and smack the main character (in this case, Camille,) around. ALOT! Because of these reasons, I never connected with her character. And her relationship with Gavin, while he is swoon-worthy, seemed to have that "instant love- just add kiss" syndrome. Maybe I've read too many books recently using this approach, but I wanted to really see more "falling in love". Maybe I've just become too jaded to "buy" what that syndrome seems to be selling to so many books. Additionally, the "blurb" of the book gives out far more spoilers than I would have given, had I written it.
It really is a book I can see so many people reading and enjoying; I know all readers do not have the same hang-ups that I do. Most likely, I will read the next because I want to know where the story is going to go- and hope- that Camille redeems herself as a character in my eyes. But on the other hand, I will also likely never read it again. I "erred" on the forgiving side for actual stars to appear on the overall review- but my heart is still not sold on 4 stars. There are still times that I want to just be evil and give it 3.
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