The Cambion Chronicles #1
By Jaime Reed
Author’s Website: http://www.jaimereedbooks.com/
Brought to you by guest reviewer Lynda
*Beware of Spoilers*
Regular girl meets mythical creature/supernatural boy. They are smitten but alas! cannot be together because, reasons. This is a story we all know. It’s fairly common among PNRs (especially of the YA variety) I say this not to disparage the trope, it’s appealing for a reason, but merely to point out that it’s a formula we are all familiar with. And then Jaime Reed comes along.
Living Violet is the first book in a trilogy (The Cambion Chronicles) and follows our protagonist Sam (I will gush enthusiastically about Sam in a sec) who is a Regular Girl. It’s the summer before her senior year and she’s been working hard in the local bookshop to save up for her dream car. Caleb also works at the Buncha Books (how great is that name btw?) though Sam has avoided him to the best of her abilities. Not only does he have freaky violet eyes, he swears they’re not contacts, but he has a new girl on his arm almost every month. Sam’s not about that. Boys are a complication she has no interest in. And then women start having heart attacks. Curiosity in overdrive, Sam decides to get to the bottom of things and gets more than she bargained for.
So what makes Living VIolet worth your time? Excuse me a second I need to put my fangirl hat on. *Secures it firmly in place* Now that that’s taken care of let’s talk about Sam. Sam is my everything. Here is a protagonist in a YA novel (and a romantic novel at that, do not discount the romance whoo boy) who not only is not about relationship drama, she is so not about guys that it’s actually a plot point. That is refreshing to me. And it’s pulled off in a completely human way. She’s not some shrew who’s like ‘romance? Bah! I curse the word!’ (Sidebar, when she’s annoyed she busts out in Elizabethan English. I don’t know if you can tell yet but quirky characters? I’m for it) She’s just not that into it. She’s seen unsuccessful relationship in her life and would rather devote her energy elsewhere. Also since this is a spoilerish review I can tell you when she finds out the guy she likes is all supernatural (and she finds out in a very violent way which again, refreshing, scary supernatural beings should be actually scary at times) what does home girl do? She tries to fortify her house against it! Which I mean, doesn’t work, but proactive thoughtful heroines are my lifeblood.
Sam is reason enough for you to go out and read this book, like right now, but let’s also talk about other things, since this is a book review and not a Samara Marshall fan club. Reed uses the setting of the book store in a very unique way, to have an employee book club where fake books are used for character notes and foreshadowing, lovely meta and parallels. It’s a clever device that’s pulled off well. The supporting characters are fleshed out and interesting. Sam and Caleb are an excellent couple. Hello excellently written sexual tension. And they talk. They banter and explain their feelings. The challenges they face are both internal and external but for the most part they present a pretty united front. Yes, thank you more please.
Now I will say despite a review so glowing it’s positively radioactive, this story really leaves some questions about how sexual orientation functions in this world. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) characters are absent and the mythology of the book is potentially erasing, especially of gender presentations. This is however, the first book in a trilogy so it is entirely possible these questions get addressed in later books.
In conclusion, go read this book right now.