Crush (Crave #2) by Tracy Wolff – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

The Crave series is best enjoyed in order. This is Book Two

Everything feels off―especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.

Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.

The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.

And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake―unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.

Maybe more than I’m able to give.

My Review

I do not understand the hate this series gets. It’s honestly the most fabulous, escapist fun ever. In this second outing for Grace and co. the stakes are even higher and more ridiculous than ever before… and I loved it!

If you enjoy paranormal fiction with super hot characters, lots of cheesy moments, and fun, sassy banter then get yourself to a bookstore and pick up book one in this series already!

From here there are going to be spoilers for book one Crave, so if you haven’t read that then don’t read this review!!!

Crush opens some weeks after the events of Crave and from the get-go there’s angsty, drama aplenty. Grace somehow wakes up from her dormant gargoyle state but she isn’t alone in her body. Her hot vampire boyfriend Jaxon’s murderous brother Hudson is somehow living in her head…

AND BOY OH BOY DO THESE TWO HAVE CHEMISTRY!

The sparks!!!

The banter…

It’s brilliant!!!!!!!!

These two are just two halves of the one coin and gel together in ways that Grace and Jaxon never did despite their mating bond. It took me about five minutes to jump from my Graxon ship… I am ALL about #TeamHudson now. Also I don’t know if anyone else uses that ship name. I just felt inspired lol!

The initial plot of the story focuses on gargoyle Grace, vampy Jaxon, witch Macy and their dragon and werewolf friends all banding together to try to figure out how to get Hudson out of Grace’s head and into corporeal but mortal form. They do not want to let Hudson loose with his super vampire powers because of all that went down in the past i.e. that whole destroy the world plot of his which is what led to Jaxon killing him….didn’t do a very good job though Jaxon did you?!?!

Anyway they determine they need a bunch of magical objects for the spell to cast our Hudson from Grace’s head so boom…

IT IS QUEST TIME PEOPLE!

God I love a good quest. There’s something about characters being thrown together to battle evil on a quest that fills my heart with joy. And this quest is particularly great. Because we get to see the evolution of Grace as a person in this book. She starts to question the world around her, looks deeper into her relationships with her friends and Jaxon, questions other people’s opinions, and seeks out her own path.

In book one Grace was quite a passive character in many respects. Lots of things happened to her and she just went with the flow in sort of a shell-shocked manner. In particular she just sort of ended up with Jaxon because they were mated.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Jaxon. I think he’s a great character and has many good qualities. But what’s really interesting here is how the book explores the time old tropes of romance and the idea that the man defends the woman, how sometimes the woman is seen as less than… so we begin to see how Jaxon loves Grace in this sort of protective fashion. And that is juxtaposed with the character of Hudson and how he treats Grace. He encourages her to trust her gargoyle power, to trust her own strength etc.

Like okay, it’s all a bit heavy handed if we want to be critical. You can just feel that the author really wants us to get behind the idea of Grace and Hudson together. This is not a book laden with nuance and subtlety, but nuance and subtlety wouldn’t work here. Because this book is a punchy joy. It’s a rollercoaster ride of adrenalin from start to finish. The pace never wavers, instead it’s full steam ahead at all times. The prose is cheesy. There’s no lyricism here. This was especially noticeable when I listened to sections of this book in its audio format. But what it is is laden with humour. It is a book that knows what it wants to be. Nuance and elegantly crafted prose are for another type of read. This book was written for thrills and spills.

I’m not a very visual reader. By that I mean I don’t picture characters or events in a story in my mind’s eye. At best I just see characters as a blur of colours and emotion, and frequently it’s just a black emptiness. So for climactic events I LOVE descriptive prose and flawlessly executed pace to create my desired atmosphere. Without it, the ending of many books have fallen flat for me. This was not the case here. Without giving away spoilers, in the closing chapters of the book there was what could be described as somewhat of a battle between good and evil. And it was UTTERLY engrossing. It went on for a number of chapters and I couldn’t read fast enough. I was never more engaged in a book’s ending as I was here.

As I alluded to earlier, I experienced this book in a mixed media format. For the most part I read from my kindle. But I got desperately sick during the read and downloaded the audiobook to listen to while I was poorly. Now I’ve never been a fan of audiobooks. I find them too passive a reading experience, and typically they send me to sleep! So having to listen to so many chapters definitely tempered my enthusiasm for the book. The narrator used a variety of voice styles to indicate the different characters, and, while this is exactly what I would want from an audiobook, it sort of drew overt attention to the dialogue choices made by the author. A lot of it felt a little too slang-like for my personal taste, and I always cringed every time I heard an f bomb… I just find swearing in books to be a cop out. I’d rather an author get the feelings of the character across with other word choices and save the f bombs for moments of true frustration and anger. But as I noted earlier this novel was never going to be about lyrical prose, so ideally I should stick to only reading lyrical books in an audio format.

Overall this was a fantastic read. I had an absolute blast reading it. I loved the characters and the plot, and am eagerly awaiting book three in the series.

Highly recommended to people who love escapist YA fiction.

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