Series: Casual Enchantment
Published on January 22, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.
When Evangeline meets Sophie after literally stumbling upon her café, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.
With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities... like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.
In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed.
Anathema is centered around newly-eighteen Evangeline, who has been starving for human connection for years. She’s so hungry for it that she is willing to blindly accept the first person who acknowledges her and shows personal interest. Desperation can be deadly.
Evangeline is blind, naïve, and occasionally dense but she’s also young and young people tend to think they’re smarter and more mature than they really are. These traits will be annoying to some readers but when you factor in her age and the fact that this is a Young Adult book, it works. To the supporting characters’ credit, they continuously point out Evangeline’s naiveté to her, refusing to let her continue on in oblivion. Unfortunately for the reader, and Evangeline, it takes most of the book for her to truly grasp the truth of their words. I would have been banging my head against a wall if Evangeline was the heroine in a contemporary adult romance. The character fits the setting in this case and is, therefore, more acceptable.
I would like to take a second to discuss “Insta-love.“ There are times when I can overlook it or even enjoy and appreciate it, that moment when two strangers meet and feel a deep connection. I didn’t enjoy it here. Evangeline and her vampire soulmate, Caden, fall in love as soon as they lay eyes on each other and before they even speak. That is more insta-lust than insta-love. I like knowing why two people are drawn to each other. This was probably my biggest gripe with the book.
The narrator, Khristine Hvam, is phenomenal. She masters different personas and accents with ease. Hvam’s storytelling drew me in even more than the story and I couldn’t get enough. There are a lot of diverse characters with varying accents in this story. Each one is brought to life like actors on a stage but it is all done by one woman. The narration alone is worth a listen.
Anathema pulled me in and kept me excited and intrigued. I enjoyed seeing the worlds unfold and discovering new challenges along with Evangeline. The stellar narration kept me enthralled and coming back for more. If you’re looking for a fun YA read or listen, check out Anathema and the Casual Enchantment series.
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