Author: Tracy Wolff
Pub. Date: April 7, 2020
My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
This will be a spoiler free review, and thank you Entangled Publishing for sending an ARC my way!
Buy this book when it comes out. Buy this book when it comes out. Buy this book when it comes out. Do it.
This book surprised me in the best way possible.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I went into this book.
Vampire, yes, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure.
On the outside, it’s very clear what this book looks like…I have no problem with that.
But I’ve also been kind of burned before when it comes to the reemergence of vampires in YA. So, while I was incredibly excited to read this book, there was a little bit of wariness as well.
This book wasn’t what I expected, in the best ways possible. I’d love nothing more than to talk about all the little things that made this book completely wonderful and addicting, but this is a spoiler free review, so I can’t…or I should say, I won’t.
Don’t go into this book thinking you know how it’s going to play out. Trust me, you don’t. Don’t go into this book thinking you’re getting Twilight remastered, because you aren’t. And don’t go into this book thinking you’re going to get only dark moody, attractive af vampires in a gothic castle, because this book has so much more than just that.
What I loved most about this book was the almost fourth wall break, meta feel it had. I don’t think it every truly breaks the fourth wall, but it if feels like the book pokes a little bit of fun at those who were obsessed with Twilight. And those who wished that they could be Bella and find an Edward.
Grace is very aware that her connection with Jaxon – who is swoon worthy – is almost too fictional, too much like the relationships she sees in books, or on shows. There really is almost this lightheartedness about it, even when dealing with some heavier themes and emotional weights.
I really liked Grace as the main character. She’s been through a lot, and honestly has every right to just crawl into bed, pull the covers over her head and just cry. In my opinion, Tracy has done such a good job at showing how someone may deal with grief, and how you can still go a live your life, only to have something seemingly innocuous set you off.
While I haven’t lost what Grace has, I’m dealing with loss, and most days I’m perfectly fine, looking at me, you’d never know. I’m smiling, happy, having a good time, but then something triggers the need to cry, the ache in my chest…
I felt like I could relate to Grace and how she goes about life after everything she goes through. It’s really about finding out how to keep living life, even when the moments get so incredibly hard. It’s about finding the little things that make you want to crawl out from under the blankets, to stop crying. It’s about placing one foot in front of the other, until maybe there’s a little more brightness up ahead.
Grace is such a great character, and I really like how she seems to know and is aware of everything…even when she might not have all the information. She sees people for who they are and how they’re impacted by their actions, and just who they are based on their actions. She stands up for herself, and fights for her own agency.
Jaxon is everything teenage, high schooler me wanted in a vampire boyfriend. Don’t lie, during the craze that was Twilight every teen girl who was interested in guys, wanted a vampire boyfriend. If I had to choose Jaxon over Edward…easy, Jaxon. Edward wasn’t quite tortured enough.
What can I say, apparently I have a type of guy I like to read about.
I also really liked Jaxon as a character. I’m all for this growing trend to have emotionally vulnerable guys in YA. Don’t get me wrong, give me a damsel in distress, knight in shining armor plot and I’ll eat it up. But emotionally soft and vulnerable guys…especially when they have to present to the public as tough, aloof, moody, but really are really just suffering and need someone to get them to talk about their feelings. Give me the guys, who at the mere thought of the person they love in trouble, become terrified and panicky. There’s just something about having a guy character be emotional that’s so endearing and makes me want to hug them.
I really liked the whole cast of characters as well. They all serve a purpose – mainly the handful of side characters who have page time, and they all feel different, and fleshed out. Like they could each easily have their own story.
I think my only complaint with is book is that I did feel a little rushed. For such a long book, a lot happened in a very short amount of time. I kind of wish it had taken a little more time for the plot to progress. This might just stem from the fact, that I need more. Like, I’m thrilled that this book is the first of three, because after that ending, I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next. Though, when I was reading the book, I had zero idea that this was the first in a trilogy, and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how this story was going to close with like forty pages left of the book.
Oh, I should add, that there’s kind of insta love in this book, but I can forgive it for two reasons. The first reason, I can’t really go into without spoilers, but it has to deal with the “why” they’re so connected. The second reason is because of Grace – she gets how kind of absurd it is that she has such strong emotions for a guy she barely knows. Her awareness, caution and critique of their first few initial encounters kind of endeared their connect with one another, to me. Did that make sense?
In the case of girl meets vampire and boom instant connection, I’ll take the insta love. Hell, give me more.
Overall, I loved this book. I love that vampires are coming back. I love that this book is the first of a trilogy, and I’ll get more vampires and mythical/fantastical beasties, all in a gothic castle, school setting. Hell, it’s my jam and I so want more. I can’t wait for book 2, and y’all should definitely pre-order this book, it’s out April 7, 2020. If you’re reading for vampires to take over YA again, this is the book.