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I Belong

Review: Crave by Melissa Darnell

Title: Crave

Author: Melissa Darnell

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Series: The Clann (Book 1)

Publication Date: October 25, 2011

Format: Paperback, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373210353 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373210350 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Emmy


Savannah Colbert has never known why she’s so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It’s as if he’s a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she’s destined to fail.

For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back different, and suddenly he can’t stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences.

Quick & Dirty: This vampire-meets-witches romances puts the plot second and high school drama first, but if you like angst you’ll find plenty in this book.

Opening Sentence: The last day I was fully human started off like any other April Monday in East Texas.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Jacksonville, TX isn’t run by the Irish mob, though the Clann seems similar in some ways. The Clann runs the town and the government, while their children run the schools. Their kids have been making Savannah’s life hell since they stopped being friends with her seven years ago, for no apparent reason. One day she’s pretending to marry Tristan Coleman on the playground during recess, the next no one’s speaking to her. Overnight, she’s a social pariah. High school doesn’t get any easier, though she does get some answers.

Sav’s always heard rumors about the Clann and their witch powers, but like everyone else in town she’s never believed them. Until her mother reveals that she used to be Clann. That Nanna is a powerful witch and they were both banished from the Clann when her mom married Sav’s father…who is a vampire.

Savannah’s the first dhampire outside of myth and legend. She’s right in the middle of an ancient dispute between witches and vampires. If she’s seen dating a Clann member, the elders will think she’s trying to suck him dry and the vampire council will think she’s siding with the witches. Her every move is scrutinized by both sides.

The change affected more than her appearance — her eyes are bigger, her hair perfect — it’s affected her senses as well. For one, her awareness of Tristan has changed to be worse than the warm heat that flooded her before. Knowing Tristan’s Clann (and exactly what that means) adds another barrier — as if him backstabbing her in middle school wasn’t enough. But now that Savannah’s ready to follow the rules and despise him, Tristan finds himself drawn to her more than he used to be.  As Sav discovers her meld of witch and vampire powers, she accidentally puts herself in danger with the boys of her school. Her eyes aren’t just bigger, when she makes eye contact she turns uninterested boys into obsessive stalkers.

Now, this is the sort of thing you’d think Savannah would tell her parents about. When they explain why she’s changing, that she’s could become dangerous to other people, they tell her to keep the up to date on her new abilities. But Sav isn’t the sharpest crayon in the box and takes the revenge route instead — the classic well-you-lied-to-me-for-years-so-why-should-I-tell-you-anything route. In more than one place, it made me want to smack the girl. She’s upset she can’t dance anymore, because she’ll surpass the other dancers with her new vampire skills, so she decides to endanger the lives of her peers and not talk to her parents? Right. That makes sense.

Tristan and Savannah are the romance that’s forbidden to happen, which obviously makes it inevitable. The story is from both their points of view, but is focused on Savannah’s change (which Tristan doesn’t realize has happened) and their lives at school. Crave mixes both high school social politics with supernatural dangers, but the plot is all about Savannah and Tristan’s romance. While the young Clann members use their social situation to bully their classmates into a social hierarchy, the vampires use theirs to keep Savannah from sticking out and revealing their world to the humans. There was a lot of potential conflict in these two areas, especially after Savannah changes into a dhampire, but it doesn’t come to fruition. Which is doubly unfortunate because it keeps Sav’s character pretty static throughout the novel — despite the fact she changes from human to dhampire, she stays pretty much the same.

The narrative voice of Crave is easy to read, the world of the Clann just needed to be flashed out more. For 90% of the novel the Clann is just a group of power hungry witches who use their powers to maintain their social status in Jacksonville. The vampire council is the mysterious ruling body of vampires, which her father reports to. I think if the world had been more engaging and the stakes had been higher, Crave would have been a much more engaging book. One thing that did surprise me was the time spanned over the course of the story. It’s Sav’s freshman and sophomore year, but it could just as easily have been a few months. The lack of change in Sav’s life is both boring and confusing. (Make sense? I didn’t think so. Sorry, but that’s all I can say without spoiling!) Unless the synopsis of the second book in The Clann has something drastic happening, I doubt I’ll be adding it to be TBR list.

Notable Scene:

“Me, beautiful? Now I know this is a dream.”

“What if I told you this wasn’t a normal dream? That our minds really are connected right now?”

“Uh-huh. So you’re saying you’re not just a figment of my imagination?”

“Basically, yeah.” He traced a finger over the back of my hand, then he looked directly at me, and I loved the fact that I could safely stare into his eyes.

“So then you’ve done this a lot before? Connected with other people’s minds while they’re asleep?”

“No, just yours.”

The Clann Series:

1. Crave

2. Covet (September 25, 2012)

3. Consume

FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of Crave.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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