Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (V Trilogy #2) by Joanna Wiebe

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Available January 20, 2015

Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined.

Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves...or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben's destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?

I was completely dumbfounded when The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant ended. The moment of truth was not what I had suspected at all and by the time the climax and cliffhanger came to be, I was quite spent. Here we are now and I’ll try to write this review without spoilers!

Anne returns to Cania Christi (school), not by choice. It’s established at the beginning that she has a mission and the consequences affect many people. Things are looking bleak and this is not at all where Anne thought she’d be. She's returning to a number of changes such as a new dean whose flare for flamboyance and over-the-top gestures are the talk of the school. His singular attention towards Anne is especially irksome to her.  Even I felt a little uneasy by his flirtatiousness. However, Anne being Anne handles it all in stride, making the boundaries very clear. Returning to school also finds her relationships with several people changed like Teddy, who was central to her getting acclimated in the first book. He needs her as much as she needs him. Another one is her boyfriend Ben, who she loves desperately. She wants nothing more than to give him a second chance at life even if that may be without her. All her good intentions land them in some trouble as things go awry a bit. Her foes, old and new are many as they return to plague Anne too.

There are two story arcs going here – one, rescuing Ben which is the main impetus for everything she does. Two, take down a few bad guys on the way. In planning out her scheme, she learns that there's more to the mystery of Wormwood Island, and she's one of those mysteries. This proves to be almost too much but when it comes down to it, she knows what needs to be done so she can help the people she cares about.

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant shows a smarter, braver and more resourceful Anne who shouldn’t be underestimated.  This doesn’t mean that she won’t make mistakes.  Everyone has much at stake making it hard to discern who has an agenda and who is genuine. Perhaps the toughest road ahead is Anne's own battle of wills with herself as she unearths more information. Ride through hell and back with Anne - it won't be boring!

~ Bel

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