Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

Review: ‘The Forever Song’ by Julie Kagawa

**SPOILER ALERT – THE FOREVER SONG is the last book in the Blood of Eden trilogy.  If you haven’t read the first book, The Immortal Rules, you might want to head over to my review of that HERE instead.  This review won’t contain spoilers for The Forever Song but may contain spoilers for earlier books in the series**

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

(HIGHLIGHT BELOW FOR BLURB – it’s jam-packed full of spoilers for the second book, The Eternity Cure, so I’m keeping it hidden so that it doesn’t catch someone’s eye and ruin the whole series for them. That’s just how much I care)

Vengeance will be hers.

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

Monster.

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions – her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost – the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

THE FINAL HUNT IS ON

Review

One of the things that I loved about the first two books in the Blood of Eden series was that they managed to be both YA books about vampires and decent.  They were dark and had a satisfyingly threatening atmosphere, taking some of the best bits of the paranormal YA and dystopian genres and making something that felt a bit different.  There was romance but it wasn’t too much and it didn’t feel to me like it was the heart of the series, just another layer to Alison’s experience as a relatively new vampire.  And then along came The Forever Song.  I was really looking forward to seeing where Kagawa took the characters after the gut-wrenching bombshell of an ending to The Eternity Cure and I was really hoping that it would feature a lot more of Sarren, who I found almost unbearably creepy.
The sad fact is that The Forever Song just wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be.  Where the first two books had well-placed moments of angst amongst the action, this one had occasional action to detract from the angst.  And even when there was a bit of action, it was quite repetitive.  Alison and a combination of the other main characters are travelling.  Alison and her companion(s) smell (literally) something amiss.  Alison and friends get attacked by a bunch of rabids, prompting a fight during which Alison will whirl around with a katana while Jackal bashes at things with an axe and Kanin rips them apart with his bare hands or slashes at them with his knife.  Rinse and repeat for roughly half the novel.
I could have lived with that though (I think), if it hadn’t been for the labouring of Alison’s moral quandary that earlier in the series was reasonably well handled.  I don’t know if I’ve become less tolerant as the series has gone on or if this instalment really was more clumsy but I do know that I did an awful lot more sighing during The Forever Song.  Alison’s struggle to ‘contain’ her demon and Kanin’s constant judging/mentoring presence just got too much. If I’d had to read something like this one more time, I’d have rolled my eyes right out:

There is a difference between killing while in the throes of Hunger or Blood Frenzy, and giving in to the monster. Once you fall, once you willingly cross that line, it changes you. Forever“.

We get it, Kanin.  We get it.
By far, my favourite thing about The Forever Song was Jackal.  He was the only character that remained consistently interesting and entertaining to read about because he was the only one who didn’t become predictable.  
But I liked the ending and when some characters who shall remain nameless for spoiler avoidance reasons finally stopped feeling so bloody sorry for themselves and being so horrendously whiny, I enjoyed it.  The second half was far, far better than the first and felt a lot more like the rest of the Blood of Eden series that I’d enjoyed so much.  It saved the book from being a complete disaster and was more than a little responsible for the book getting a 3.5 star rating and not being a complete washout.  I still feel as though the series is a good one and I definitely think that it stands head and shoulders above some of the other more generic vampire stories that the urban fantasy/paranormal market seems to be saturated with but I’m not sad that it’s over, which is sort of sad in itself.

Overall:  A good ending to the series but getting there is a bit of a bumpy experience.  I still have generally positive feelings towards the series overall but can’t help wishing that the quality of the first two had been sustained to the very end.  Don’t abandon the series if you’ve made it this far but do open the book with a little bit of caution and a lot of patience.

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Date finished: 08 January 2015
Format:  Paperback
Source:  Bought
Genre: YA; Urban fantasy
Pictured Edition Published:  in May 2014 by MIRA Ink