Book four of this series is about to be published in Australia, so Shirvington is hardly a newcomer despite this being her first U.S. publication. It's a solid entry in a well-established paranormal niche: the angels who live among us aren't nice, and it takes a small cadre of gutsy humans to maintain order. In this case, those protectors are the Grigori, mortals infused with angelic essence, who come into their powers on their 17th birthdays. Violet Eden is turning 17 and wrestling with an infatuation with her personal trainer, Lincoln, who's in his 20s and perfect. Violet discovers that Lincoln is a Grigori and that she is one, too. Yet, feeling betrayed by Lincoln's concealment of their true identities, Violet turns to a second love interest—Phoenix, who represents the darker side of the angelic continuum—and further complicates her understanding of herself and her destiny. While Shirvington's world-building reflects the conventions of the genre, the book's strength is in its persuasive evocation of Violet's emotional turmoil as she copes with human adolescence in the midst of her discovery that she has a fate beyond even Lincoln's power to explain. Ages 12–up. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)
It starts with a whisper: "It's time for you to know who you are..."
On her 17th birthday, everything will change for Violet Eden. The boy she loves will betray her. Her enemy will save her. She will have to decide just how much she's willing to sacrifice.
A centuries old war between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity chooses a new fighter. It's a battle Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don't run and don't quit. If angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden.
LINCOLN: He's been Violet's one anchor, her running partner and kickboxing trainer. Only he never told her he's Grigori-part human, part angel-and that he was training her for an ancient battle between Angels and Exiles.
PHOENIX: No one knows where his loyalties lie, yet he's the only one there to pick up the pieces and protect her after Lincoln's lies. In a world of dark and light, he is all shades of gray.
Two sides: Angel or Exile.
Two guys: Lincoln or Phoenix.
The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity...
The Embrace Series:
Embrace (Book 1)
Entice (Book 2)
Emblaze (Book 3)
Endless (Book 4)
Empower (Book 5)
Praise for Embrace:
In her YA paranormal romance debut, Jessica Shirvington combines "the badass-action of Vampire Academy, the complex love triangles of Twilight, and the angel mythology of Fallen, taken one step further." -Book Couture
"Shirvington's debut is smart, edgy and addictive-and sure to leave readers clamoring for the rest of the series."- Kirkus Reviews, STARRED
"One of the best YA novels we've seen in a while. Get ready for a confident, kick-butt, well-defined heroine." - RT Book Reviews
Gr 9 Up—Violet Eden has always disliked her birthday, a sad reminder that her mother died in childbirth. Her 17th birthday is more than sad however; it causes her previously unknown destiny to demand her undivided attention. A gift from her deceased mother and an exposed secret reveal that Violet is Grigori, a hunter of exiled angels who desire to conquer humanity. She must choose whether or not she will embrace her supernatural lot or deny it and try and live a normal human life. Complicating matters is her love for Lincoln, her fated Grigori partner, and her sexual attraction to Phoenix, a mysterious exiled angel. First published in Australia, this initial volume in the series has an abundance of crowd-pleasing elements: an appealing main character/narrator, hunky angels and angel hunters, steamy (but not explicit) lust, and unrequited love. Opening quotations for each chapter from a variety of sources act as effective teasers for the action that follows. There is a little too much telling in terms of world-building, but even that is managed succinctly and without affectation. This title has more than a few Buffy parallels, but that's not a negative; the pace is quick and the writing style clean, with the ultimate battle between dark and light complicated by shades of gray. Violet may be bruised from past trauma, but her mantra, "I don't run and I don't quit," makes her one tough cookie. Young adult readers will be happy to follow her lead into the remaining volumes of this series.—Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL
Get ready, American paranormal-romance fans. Published in Australia in 2010, Shirvington's debut is smart, edgy and addictive--and sure to leave readers clamoring for the rest of the series. Seventeen-year-old Violet Eden's mother died in childbirth, leaving her to be raised by her detached, workaholic father. If it weren't for her best friend Steph and her trainer (and secret love) Lincoln, Violet would be very much alone. But on her 17th birthday, everything changes. Though finally being kissed by Lincoln is a dream come true, Violet learns that their romantic involvement is forbidden because he and Violet are both Grigori--half angel and half human. They're destined to be eternal partners in the battle against exiled angels on Earth, and romance would make things far too complicated. Furious with Lincoln for keeping this secret, Violet pushes him away, making room for the dark and seductive Phoenix to take hold of her heart. As a reluctant and conflicted heroine, torn between her desire for normalcy and the awesome responsibility of her newfound power, Violet is a compelling and convincing narrator. The story is rife with action and romance, steering clear of overtly religious overtones that often complicate angel books. A must-read for paranormal fans young and old. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)
Read an Excerpt
"Outside, among your fellows, among strangers, you must preserve appearances, a hundred things you cannot do; but inside, the terrible freedom!"—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Birthdays aren't my thing.
It's hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother's death. It's not that I blame myself for her not being here. No one could have known she wouldn't survive childbirth. It's not that I miss her either. I mean, I never knew her in the first place. But it is the one day each year that at some point I'll be forced to ask myself, Was it worth it? Was my life worth taking hers?
I stared out the bus window, avoiding. Steph was blabbering on, something about the perfect dress, completely absorbed in what she was saying. She was relentless when it came to the science of shopping. I could feel her watching me, disappointed with my cheer level. Buildings flashed past through the frame of the smudged glass and I couldn't help but wish my seventeenth birthday tomorrow would slide by in the same hazy blur.
"Violet Eden!" Steph said sternly, sucking me out of my trance. "We have your dad's Amex, a green light, and no specified limit." Her mock rebuke morphed into a devious grin. "What more could a girl want as a birthday present?"
Technically, it was my Amex. My name, my signature. It just happened to be connected to Dad's account. A by-product of being the only person at home who actually bothered to pay any bills.
I knew Steph wouldn't understand if I told her I wasn't in the mood, so I lied. "I can't go shopping today. I...um...I have a training session."
She raised her eyebrows at me. For a moment I thought she was going to call me out on my fake alibi. But then she segued onto a topic we seemed to be discussing more and more often as of late.
I shrugged, trying not to let on how much just the mention of Lincoln affected me. Although the training part wasn't true, I did have plans to see him later on and was already doing my best not to keep a minute-by-minute countdown.
Steph rolled her eyes. "Honestly, one of these days I'm gonna tell him you'd prefer to get all hot and sweaty with him in a different kind of way!" She threw me her bitchy smile—something she usually reserves for other people.
I sat back and let her vent. It was easier that way. Steph didn't get it and I couldn't blame her—I'd never told her all of the reasons why training was so important to me. Some things are just too hard to talk about.
"You do realize you're turning into some kind of sports geek, don't you? And don't pretend you actually like them all. I know for a fact that you hate long-distance running." Steph couldn't understand how anyone would rather go rock climbing or boxing in place of shopping.
"I get a kick out of training with him," I said, hoping to put an end to the conversation, even though she wasn't completely off base about the running. If I didn't have Lincoln's butt to stare at the whole time, motivation would be a lot harder to come by.
I busied myself by rummaging through my backpack, which was jammed with all the books they force you to take home on the last day before break. Steph didn't seem put off.
"It's like he's training you for battle or something." Her eyes lit up. "Hey, maybe he has some underground fight club and he's grooming you!"
"That's it, Steph. Definitely."
I didn't want to be talking about this, didn't want to have to admit the round-the-clock desire I had to be with Lincoln. It was like something deep within me found comfort in his presence.
Crushing with the best of 'em, Vi!
Too bad it was a lost cause. It had been that way ever since the moment I'd first met him two years ago. He was a late entry into a self-defense class I'd signed up for. When he was partnered with me, what I thought was going to be another mediocre attempt on my part to get fit and strong became so much more.
I never found out why Lincoln had taken the class. He clearly knew more than the instructor, moving through the exercises with the kind of ease and grace that made it clear he was in another league. After the first couple of weeks, when I was finally able to string more than two words together around him, I asked him why he was there. He shrugged it off, saying it was always good to do a refresher class.
By the end of the three-month course, I was learning more from him than from the instructor, and he offered to give me some kickboxing lessons. Now I get the best of both worlds. I get stronger every day—our list of activities has expanded to include rock climbing, running, even an archery course—and I get to hang out with Lincoln. It's perfect...almost.
"Well, I guess that means we're going shopping tomorrow then." Steph pouted but couldn't keep it up. She can never stay mad for long.
Unfortunately, she was right. I knew Dad had given her strict instructions, due to my lack of spirit and his lack of know-how, to make sure I had a new dress for my birthday dinner tomorrow night. The clock was ticking—shopping was inevitable.
"I can't wait," I said, flashing her a well-practiced fake smile from my birthday repertoire.
As the bus slowed for its next stop, Steph stood up from our seat, three rows from the back. She was convinced only the wannabes sat right at the back, the geeks at the front, and the goths/weirdos right behind them. That left about three rows we could work with, the ones that apparently put us in the not-trying-to-but-can't-help-being-cool section. The ironic thing was, if judged purely on academic achievements, Steph was the biggest geek I knew. Of course, she never publicized the fact that she was some kind of borderline genius.
She wrapped her narrow frame around the metal pole near the doors, donned her favorite pair of D&G sunglasses, and blew me a kiss. I laughed. Luckily for me, Steph wasn't only a label girl. For all the designer clothes she paraded around in, she was surprisingly balanced. The fact that she was from a seriously moneyed-up family and was usually wearing something that cost more than my entire wardrobe didn't adversely affect our friendship. I didn't overly care for material possessions and she didn't overly care that I didn't.
"Do me a favor?" she said, making her way out the door, unfazed by the logjam of kids sardined behind her. "While you're drooling over Mr. Fantastic, make sure you jab him in the gut a few times for taking up all your free time and depriving me of my bff."
"Sure thing," I said, blowing her a kiss back and ignoring the twinge of guilt I felt about lying to my best friend.