Anathema (Casual Enchantment #1) by K.A. Tucker
Released: July 15, 2011
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 Sofie 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.
Dislaimer: I think this is the first YA vampire book I've read, which is shocking since there are so many out there and the topic is quite popular right now. (I haven't even read Twilight) but I kind of get the idea that Anathema has a Twilight vibe to it. Good vampires have to protect human girl from bad vampires.
One of the things I enjoyed throughout the book was Tucker's descriptive writing; the way she described Evangeline's reactions to her new friends, and their unique talents, is done in such a way that the reader can guess at what is actually happening even when Evangeline doesn't quite understand it. I thought this was excellent, particularly when she encounters a vampire trying to use his power of persuasion on her. Excellent writing on Tucker's part.
While the writing was well done, I found the plot harder to believe and I just found too many holes in it. Viggo and Mortimer are disgustingly rich, and while it is explained how they attain this absurd amount of money, it just isn't believable that they would have so much disposable income. I honestly would have had a better time buying into this if it had just been said that the money was magical.
However, it was the rather dubious love story that I disliked the most. It's just so intentionally hot and cold, and the intense emotions are supposed to already be there after meeting twice. ONLY TWICE. But worse than this, was just how possessive and petty Evangline became. Regardless of all the other disturbing things happening to her she is fixated on the fact that her crush doesn't like her back and has a girlfriend. I just couldn't fathom how this was her biggest problem to focus on. There were times when Evangline just looked like a crazed stalker, and I pitied the actual girlfriend instead. The villainizing also felt to be too much, where Evangline's bizarre perspective is forced onto the reader.
The premise of the book was interesting, but parts were difficult to accept, such as Evangline's discovery of another world LIKE Earth, yet it was so similar it was essentially a clone (right down to the slang used, and understanding of how the world works). Perhaps this will be explained later on, but for Anathema it just didn't make sense. I'm also hopeful that some of the rules of magic will later on be fully explained, because they seemed to come out of nowhere for no good reason at times.
I'm unsure of how I feel about the ending. It was clearly a set up for more books, which I will read because this isn't a poorly written or unenjoyable book, but I would have liked some sort of closure in at least one way at the end and I didn't feel that Anathema had that. That being said, I am looking forward to the next books in hopes that they will be able to explain more of these questions and bring things together.
Also, I want to add that you can buy this for Kindle from Amazon for only 99 cents. So that is a GREAT deal!