5 star review:
POP THE CHAMPAGNE! or in my case tequila. What can I say, champagne is way too light for my tastes.
A heroine to root for. She’ll suck your soul out. This book made my heart go “thump thump” after all the years of dead silence. I’ve been so tired lately of Young Adult heroines lately. So many TSTL (too stupid to live) heroines makes me want to have a bonfire. All the slut shaming and obsessions over boys and body image gets really sickening. It’s so fucking refreshing to find a book that I’m proud to put on my shelf next to Richelle Mead and Rae Carson. This book may have even contaminated those books in comparison. The heroine’s snark and humor is so much more relatable than all of that fake humor writers try to emulate to make the reader like the heroine. Crewe is one of those authors that actually understands realistic dialogue and humor. The snark, the humor, the twisted heroine! I love this book to pieces.
The story starts with Meda describing the cracked walls on the ceiling of the asylum where she casually plans a dead little girl’s revenge. Meda our evil heroine eats people’s souls, but not ghosts. She kills for souls. Oh yes, the asylum nurse who murdered the little annoying dead girl gets what’s coming to him; thy name is Meda. Two men in business suits arrive at the asylum and start to question her with all sorts of confusing questions, thus we learn about Meda’s demon kin. A boy conveniently shows up and assumes our heroine actually needs his help; but she prefers this since she’s not a TSTL heroine. Meda, unlike most heroines, wants to live. His name is Malachi, but he prefers Chi. Almost sounds like Chai tea, doesn’t it?
Anyways Chi and his good friend Jo (who’s a girl by the way), Jo smartly doesn’t believe that Meda is an innocent for one second, and takes Meda back to their school for Crusaders. Crusaders have always existed since the medieval Templars. They’ve just continued their belief to protect the innocent from demons in secret. Meda follows along with their idea that she’s a beacon because she wants to discover their base and secrets. But more conveniently, demons are after her:
But a strong dose of self-preservation holds me back. I’ve already learnt the hard way that the demons are stronger than me – or at least a lot more accustomed to fighting people who can fight back.
But let’s think about it, either she could just resist and resist their silly ideas. Or she can have protection and learn knowledge about those who would normally kill her for what she is. Please, it’s a no brainer. Follow the idiot boy and the smart badass chick for your own self-preservation. Luckily for us, Meda’s a smart girl. She learns that her life isn’t what she thought. She gets fucking pissed off. I would too if I learned my family and heritage isn’t what I thought. She wants revenge.
What I loved is how close Chi, Jo, and Meda become. Meda eventually learns to trust and yes even understand what it means to have feelings. Let me be clear: emotions confuse the shit out of her. She’s evil, at least according to her. I don’t fucking blame her. Emotions confuse and scare the shit out of me too. Eliza Crewe created a heroine and a story that I don’t think I will ever get over. This will be a book I’ll re-read over and over and over and over and over. It’s that good. Oh and Crewe? If you’re reading this: I blame you for ruining all other YA heroines for me.
The plot actually makes sense in this novel. Crewe even puts little clues along the way that you don’t recognize until you’ve reached the end of the story. It’s like Blues Clues only a thousand times harder and not as fucking cutsie. The plot doesn’t slow down. There’s always something the reader’s discovering through character development, dialogue, or description. Crewe creates a secret society that didn’t become annoying or seem unrealistic. She has the good guys as motorcycle riding demon killers and the bad guys as business suit wearing demons.
By the way, there’s actually a motorcycle club called the Templar Knights:
The plot might scare away some readers who are a little hesitant to read books with a slightly religious theme. I’ll reassure you that there isn’t a religious theme. There may be demons and Templars, but religion doesn’t become a big issue in this book. It’s all about the characters relationships mixed in with the plot. Crewe wrote a fast paced plot that had my eyes widening continuously as each page passed by.
Meda, actual name Andromeda, now defines the most kickass heroine I’ve ever read: R.I.P. Rose Hathaway. Open the scene for evil soul sucking Andromeda Melange. She’s snarky, witty, and a smart self-preserving girl. Screw courage if it’s going to kill you, defines the type of heroine Meda is. Who says smart isn’t kickass? Would you rather have the TSTL heroine who walks down a dark alley without any idea what she’s getting herself into or would you prefer a smart heroine who actually thinks about her situation before she jumps into the blazing fire? Meda’s also pro-girl power and she doesn’t obsess about her looks. She doesn’t go on describing one girl’s outfit and then describes herself. No, Crewe doesn’t do that shit. She gives us a smart and realistic heroine who plans out her decisions and thinks about her situation. Meda doesn’t look at every girl and think “slut”. But there’s one incident that I feel I should address. Theres one girl who Meda does slut shame:
…the girl asks, leaning in and flashing some cleavage. I didn’t even know they made low-cut sports bras.
Then she goes on calling her a “tramp” which really disappointed me. It’s one time, which is considerably better than most Young Adult novels.
This girl is hilarious. She makes fun of Chi and his willingness to just except and trust everyone around him:
This boy might have answers; I just have to take them from him. I consider the many tools at my disposal…and settle on my weapon of choice – one so infrequently used I need to dust it off first.
My eyes fill with tears. “Wha-“ I swallow hard “- what were those things?”
She acts like a complete damsel in distress to trick him. She’s hilarious in the way she snarkily remarks about Chi’s big ego. She’s no damsel:
“It’s OK. You don’t have to be scared, I’ll protect you.”
Big brawny man, protect his damsel! I try to look angelic and helpless – Beacon-ish. The haircut and the blood can’t be helping. Fortunately he seems particularly thick.
She’s the one who will betray and kill her savior.
Jo hates that she can never truly be a crusader. She’s wants to fight the demons. She’s angry, frustrated, and also a little depressed. She wishes people would treat her with respect, without thinking the word “cripple”. People don’t like Jo. They think she’s a freak because she can no longer be a crusader. More than anything she wishes her best friend Chi wouldn’t see her as an inept. Jo isn’t innocent or weak; she even kicks some demon ass. She see’s through Meda’s fake story of the innocent girl who needs Chi to protect her. She’s a leather wearing, motorcycle riding, girl with the mouth of a sailor (you don’t actually get to read her swearing damn it) who fights for her right to fight beside her best friend Chi.
One of the best parts of Eliza Crewe’s novel is the relationship between Meda and Jo. They don’t start out as friends. Jo hates Meda’s guts at the beginning, but Meda always sort of reluctantly like Jo. Meda refers to Jo as “gimp” at the beginning of the novel. Meda doesn’t see Jo as inferior to any other crusader. There’s a great scene where they really start to become friends. Most people would dislike what Media says to Jo. But I feel that it shows that Meda doesn’t care that Jo has a leg that doesn’t work correctly. She doesn’t treat Jo as fragile and she doesn’t feel sad for her either. This makes it a wonderful friendship because they see each other as equals:
I don’t care that your life is ruined. You’d be an idiot if you weren’t. Hell, I don’t even like you and I’m angry a bout it. I’m just saying you’re stupid for being angry for being angry-that’s ridiculous.
They aren’t forced to get along, but they slowly start to like each other when each starts to reveal more about who they are. Jo and Meda’s friendship grows realistically and develops without any fake circumstances.
Chi, Jo, and Meda become the best of friends by the end of the novel. Their close friendship develops into something where even when they discover each other’s secrets, they still overcome the drama without making it seem unrealistic. This book becomes about trust, friendship, and betrayal. My meaning: romance is not the focus of this novel. Eliza Crewe is just that fucking awesome.
I can’t imagine a more fucking entertaining, hilarious, snarky, and wonderful book. August is too long to wait for the next book.*nudge nudge* ;p