My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me. Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me. Which could spell death for us all. Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally―as the bait.
What worked: This is an addictive, guilty pleasure read with a Legacies vibe. I love a good paranormal romance and this novel has everything a reader wants-.vamps/hot boys/secrets set in an Alaskan boarding school. Plus, shape shifters, witches, and dragons. But of course Grace doesn't know that at first.
The best part of this novel has to be the suspense leading up to the final climax in the novel. There's tons of chemistry between Jaxon and Grace. Unlike Bella in the Twilight series, Grace doesn't stay in her room and mope if Jaxon doesn't pay attention to her. She's pro-active and doesn't let his standoffish, antsy behavior get to her. She's snarky, funny, and determined not to let the others at the school bring her down. There's even a possible love triangle between her and cute Flint. Her cousin Macy is funny and supportive.
What dragged the story down had to be all the text slang throughout. I had to look up the terms more than a few times. Also the dialogue had a tendency to be cheesy. Though I did like the quirk Grace had of telling really bad jokes.
Engaging vamp paranormal romance that will have readers demanding to know what happens to Grace and Jaxon. No fair on that cliffhanger ending! I have so many questions that I hope are answered in the second book in this series.
2. Legacies/Twilight vibe
As things happen around her, resulting in a lot of unexpected injuries, Grace begins to realize that there is something different about the academy and its students. She finds herself most intrigued by Jaxon, the boy who is always warning her to stay away but seems to be drawing her closer.
As hinted in the description and advertising, we learn halfway through that Jaxon is a vampire. However, what vampires mean and the conditions of other students are to be learned.
What I loved: The book easily draws you in from the start with all the mystery and snark. This book could take a really dark tone, but it stays light with all the humor and sarcasm. It is very tongue-in-cheek at times; for example, Jaxon sends Grace a copy of Twilight when he is warning her off. There are some more complex power dynamics at play here with the roles of staff/students and how all the people in this paranormal world function/relate. I assume this will be expanded in future books, and I really liked the flair. The first half and then the ending were absolutely fantastic- I was completely engrossed, and I loved the twists at the end. You know something is coming, but it was unexpected, and I loved the way the typical roles were switched (when you read it, you'll get what I mean).
What left me wanting more: The second half of the book turns into a big push-pull instalove drama, and I would have liked a lighter version of that. We do see them interact, but it's very Spiderman-style (in the I-love-you-but-it's-too-dangerous-for-you-to-be-with-me). However, it definitely felt like some Twilight-style flair/angst, which will appeal to many audiences.
Final verdict: Overall, this is a really engrossing and snarky YA paranormal/fantasy romance with a premise that has a ton of potential. I would definitely be interested to see how this develops (particularly given those twists and cliffhanger at the end). Highly recommend for fans of TWILIGHT and VAMPIRE DIARIES.