TheFountainPenDiva's Reviews > Burning Emerald

Burning Emerald by Jaime Reed
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Just. Wow.

This was so worth the wait! There's always pressure for the sequel to be even better than its predecessor and here Jaime Reed succeeds fabulously. There are roller-coaster ride novels, then there are bungee jump novels. Burning Emerald is a definite thrill rush and has me fiending for the last book (which won't be out until NEXT YEAR...boo).

One of the tropes in YA books which will either make or break a novel for me is the "love triangle". Whenever I pick up a book and read the back blurb, if there's even a mention of said "love triangle", I drop the book faster than a pissed off rattlesnake. Not to give away too much, but the way Reed handles this trope actually works and there's nothing very "loving" about it.

Newly-made Cambion Samara is literally stuck between dangerous and dangerouser as an incubus with a bad attitude and a refusal to heed the word "no" comes into town and turns her already topsy-turvy world into a nightmare of epic proportions. Unlike some authors, Reed doesn't make her incubus--Tobias--just an irresistable chick magnet who's misunderstood. He's completely and utterly amoral and bent on revenge. He behaves exactly the way a demon of lust and desire should act and doesn't care who gets hurt (or worse). His interactions with Samara are at times cringe-worthy, as they should be for a paranormal creation who isn't bound by human morality.

There are so many reasons why this book needs to be at the TOP of every YA readers' lists. One reason is Samara Marshall herself. She's the kind of independent, smart and realistic heroine the YA genre so desparately needs more of. In spite of her newfound powers as a Cambion, her physical body hasn't changed. There's no magical weight loss, hair straightening or any other epic fail that other authors would commit. Her snarky and humorous observations are a welcome panacea to the "OMG I can't even tie my own shoes without the help of the mysterious-hawt-boy-du-jour" type heroine who seems prevalent in YA paranormal books these days.

Now Samara's a dude magnet because of Lilith, her sentient host. The only physical manifestation of her powers are the uncanny green eyes which all the students at her school assume are contacts. To borrow a line from Spiderman, "with great power comes great responsibility...and a shitload of problems". Samara's powers cause a whole lot of trouble with practically every female at her high school because they all assume she's after their boyfriends. Worse, she's in danger of losing her BFF's Mia and Dougie (who've broken up) because she can't tell them what really happened to her.

Can I say that I LOVE Samara's mom? Unlike most parents in YA fiction who seem utterly oblivious to the fact that their kids have either devloped some strange, mysterious powers or who have attracted those who do, Ms. Marshall is still the overly protective mom for whom Lifetime based-on-a-true-story movies are made for. However, she's also the only one who knows what happened to her daughter and has now become an expert in the care and feeding of Cambions. This is also a woman who sleeps with a .45 under her pillow.

The other reason is this is a book with a diverse and interesting cast. It's obvious Jaime Reed lives in the real world, where most high schools and neighborhoods are integrated. It would be nice if other YA authors could join the 21st century in this way. My other reason, it's an interracial romance as well. Speaking of the romance, there's something sexy about Samara and Caleb, their sweetly geeky but running very hot connection which doesn't feel as if their respective hosts are the sole reason for the attraction. I love it when she calls him "Cake Boy". I love the fact that neither Caleb or Samara are these physically perfect teens--in spite of the paranormal aspect, they feel real--more like quirky best friends than characters in a book.

Lastly, I just love the sly digs at the whole Twilight phenomenon. I wonder if Reed will ever do a spin-off joke sequel called 'Specter'.

My only complaint is that this book felt a little short. Just as I was getting to the good part, I have to wait until next year! Nooooo!
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Reading Progress

05/31/2012 page 34
13.93% "God I missed this series! Why can't more YA have heroines this cool and diverse?"

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva Tell mei wont spend the whole time being pissed over Caleb being hurt or feeling threatened. I normally avoid love triangles like the plague. I fall for the characters I like and hate seeing that type of enotional ambiguity so please tell me Sam is clear on her feelings here lol


message 2: by TheFountainPenDiva (last edited Nov 21, 2013 07:48PM) (new) - added it

TheFountainPenDiva You won't. This one doesn't read like a typical triangle because of the other forces around them. Trust me, this ain't Twilight, lol. It's all about Team Cake Boy!


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