Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant

Title: The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant
Author: Joanna Wiebe
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publication: January 20, 2015
Pages: 320


Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.

Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves...or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben's destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?

(I received this title as an ARC from NetGalley)
In an effort to refrain from spoiling too much for you, I'll give you just the basics.

Anne is back on the island, back at the school, and face to face with a new headmaster who is scary as hell (no pun intended. Okay. Pun intended) but also, to Anne's extreme annoyance, devastatingly attractive. Things get weird when the charming, odd, headmaster takes a liking to Anne and asks to be her mentor. Like she has time to deal with another demon! She's already got her hands full trying to deal with Ben and his infuriating lack of will to survive the Big V.   With the fate of friends and foes resting uncomfortably in her hands, Anne has to get down and dirty to make sure that they all have a chance, especially Ben, no matter the consequences.

I read the first of the V trilogy books earlier this year, also as an ARC. My expectations were low for the first title, as I'd seemed to have had a string of so-so books right before then. After the first few chapters of "The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant", I guessed that I was in for a wild ride. I was not wrong.

When I got the chance to read this second book I wasted zero time. I expected this book to be as thrilling as the first, so it was no surprise that only the reality of 1am and an early morning the next day could force the book from my hands.

Intelligent, dark, and in some cases so disturbing or disgusting that I made faces my Mr. Darcy will not soon forget.

The meshing of mythology, philosophy, and the questions surrounding personal identity created a work that is thought provoking, entertaining, and creepy as an asylum basement.

There's a lot going on in this book, and I admittedly felt frustrated a few times with how slowly things are revealed to the reader, though most of it was well worth the wait. The conclusion was a bit slapdash but left plenty of space open for a third title.

I was a bit taken aback by how brutal this second book was,  but both violence and sexuality were pushed just close enough to (but still far enough from) the "graphic" line for the author to make her point and have readers both grimacing and fanning themselves in intervals. 

An edgy, interesting, and compelling second book. Will definitely be reading the third.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk, a part-time Reference Librarian with a degree in Anthropology and a nearly completed Masters in Library Science. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

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