Sunday, July 15, 2012

Origins (A Black Novel) by Jessa L. Gilbert

First of all, I would like to thank the author for providing an ARC for this review.

Summary as listed on Goodreads: Red pain, Red desire, Red need, Red hunger…

I have been plagued by the same dream for months now. A nightmare filled with red, dripping with death, where I am the hunter. There is no escape, no end in sight…. The nightmare has become a reality and I am forced with a choice – I can become one with the darkness that lives within that is clamoring, clawing to escape, or I can bury the demon, and the nightmares, once and for all.

It may seem like an easy choice, but not when I also have to choose between the father who has raised me or a mother whom I have thought was dead. Not when the choice is my humanity or Immortality….

Aided by a dark mysterious stranger, a hidden world is opened up to Adelin - a world full of bloodlust and death - the Black world of Immortals. Torn between the two, she faces the hardest decision she's ever had to make. Will she choose the safe, familiar life she has always known? Or will she let the darkness consume her?

My Review: ** May include plot points but I will steer away from spoliers as much as I can** This is the story of Adelin, an 19 year old girl who has grown up as a single child with her single father, having lost her mother just after being born. She grew up knowing that she may contract her mother's 'fatal condition' at some point and has undergone routine medical tests to see if the illness starts to make itself present in her own body. Adelin is a cool girl. As characters go, I like her. She's intelligent and not whiny or incapable. She is put in some difficult situations and has to make some tough decisions she reacts in ways that are understandable to the reader (or at least to me!) One day she receives a visit from her doctor and it's news that she never wanted or expected. The good news - it's not fatal, her life is not necessarily in danger -- just life as she knows it.

Adelin soon takes a trip to a private island where she becomes acquainted with a group of immortals, including her own mother, who she learns is still alive. She has to use her time to decide if she wants to become one of them herself and really get to have the mother she thought she'd never get to know, or if she want's to stay human and live her ordinary life with her father. 

While Adelin is living on Black Island she get's to know the family providing it's namesake. Moira Black (who is somewhat of an immortal queen) and her husband Elrich have to have two very good-looking sons; Vraiden and Lucien. Both of them definitely have serious appeal. The relationship between them is full of skeletons in the closet.

The first time we are introduced to Vraiden in the story, I immediately thought to myself, SOCIOPATH!! If that is what the author was going for on a first impression then I think she hit the nail right on the head. I know that he's not human and therefore might not be classified as such from his own peers, but being on the human side of the line myself, I will go ahead and defend my snap judgement of him for at least a little while. :) Many of the details that we learn as a reader are not known to Adelin as she gets to know him, he does tell her that he's done some bad things but does not give all the scary details. Adelin is not fully human when she meets him so he presents no imminent danger to her, so I can see why not being a victim to his murderous ways helped her to see his finer qualities and feel an immediate attraction to him. After all... he is very attractive!

Lucien or Luc is much more sympathetic to the human cause. I had a much better immediate reaction to him. He takes time to really help Adelin understand the origins of the Immortal race and how they came to be. I really enjoyed this part of the story's legend, it was kind of scary.

While I have pointed out the faults of one character and the strengths of another, it's not as easy as black and white. There is not one brother who is all good and one who is all bad. Adelin is kept by safe by the efforts of both brothers. I don't want to comment further on the plot because I feel I would be giving too much away if I did. I will say that the author did a great job of creating one idea for these characters and then turning those ideas inside out by adding twists and turns in the plot. I am left thinking about these characters and their choices long after closing the book. 

Origins is an imaginative and enjoyable read. The world and plot are fresh and original. I will eagerly anticipate future writings from this author. As it stands now, I don't know how long I can hold out for the next book in the trilogy after the last words of the last chapter.

The book is also a great deal! It's currently free if you have Amazon Prime or otherwise for sale as an ebook for $4.99 Here