Book Review: Crave
By: Melissa Darnell
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Page Count: 416
Source: Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: YA - Paranormal
I was a little hesitant when I first received this galley. I have to admit that I picked it up for two reasons: the amazing cover and the element of witches. The plot line seemed just a little too familiar: two teens who are intensely attracted to one another but are forbidden to be together and vampires. My mind immediately jumped to Twilight. Sighing and bracing myself for yet another paranormal YA that follows the Twi-method, I dove in. What I found was something unexpected and thrilling. Crave does have fanged ones, but these vampires are different from Meyer's sparkle clan and breath fresh life into the undead. Told through the perspectives of both main characters, Savannah and Tristan, readers will enjoy hearing their perspectives as the story unfolds.
In addition, Crave adds the element of The Clann, an intensely powerful coven of witches, and the enemy of the vampire.The witches in Crave are more along the lines of sorcerers with some Druid like elements. They are tied to nature - using these elements to draw or ground power. The Clann is also structured as a hierarchical aristocracy which uses its power to control the town and its people. This happens behind the scenes and is meant to be a secret, but rumors float through the high school halls about the magic that dwells within the Clann. Darnell makes her lore her own while still borrowing from traditional sources; she does a great job of explaining the history behind the Clann without making it overwhelming or boring.
The Clann vs. the Vampires felt a little Cullen vs. Wolf Pack to me at first, but as with the other elements, eventually I began to pack away all the Twilight comparisons to allow Crave to stand on its own merit. One reason this took some time was because the beginning was tedious for me. There was very little action; it just focused on how Savannah and Tristan weren't allowed to be together and you got a glimpse of their freshman year of high school - such mundane things dominated the opening chapters. However, things started to pick up once Savannah comes down with a mysterious illness. From that point forward, I couldn't put this book down.
It was hard to read the parts where members of the Clann bullied Savannah simply because she was different and they were taught to fear her. This really made me think about how many kids are bullied for the same reason. While the point of this book is not about bullying, I still think lots of teens who are going through that experience might find some solace within the pages of this read.
Furthermore, I truly love the direction that Darnell chose to go with her vampires. She focuses more on the ancient lore of Lilith and the incubus in order to create the culture and habits of her vampires. This is a more sophisticated way to approach them and it was a nice change. These vampires don't just feed on blood - they crave passion and energy.
Finally, I was so frustrated by the ending of this one! It ends on huge cliffhanger with a major life altering decision on the horizon for one of the characters. I need the next book to put me out of my misery. Romeo & Juliet mingles with a magical world to create a forbidden romance that will leave you anxious for book #2.
One Last Gripe: I was so frustrated with Savannah for not seeking help from her parents before things spiraled out of control. She was also was too hard on her Dad in my opinion.
My Favorite Thing About The Book: The character development - both Savannah and Tristan grow so much through the course of the novel
First Sentence: I edged closer to my unconscious boyfriend cuffed to a chair nearby.
Favorite Character: Tristan
Least Favorite Character: Dylan
Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.
For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences….