Friday, 14 March 2014

Burning Emerald by Jaime Reed

Publication date: 29th May 2012
Published by: Dafina
Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

** Spoiler Alert ** 
Skip synopsis and go straight to review to avoid.

My synopsis
Burning Emerald is the second book in The Cambion Chronicles  series by Jaime Reed.  I have just finished reading it for the second time (along with the rest of the series).

Living Violet, the first book, ended with the tragic death of Sam's friend Nadine.  In this book she is struggling to come to terms with her death, and cope with her new supernatural status as a Cambion, which occurred when Nadine's sentient left her body and entered Sam's as a means to survive.  Sam now has an internal 'room mate', Lilith, as well as Nadine's life energy and memories.  Nadine's mother, Angie, has taken Sam under her wing and become like a second mother,  offering her support and protection.  She tries to go back to normalcy - school and her job at Buncha Books - but this proves easier said than done.

Caleb, now a DJ, gets a gig playing at a house party on Halloween night and Samara goes along also.  While on a break, Caleb helps himself to Samara's drink. Unknown to them both, the drink has been tampered with and soon after Caleb is doubled over in pain. He is taken to hospital in critical condition and it transpires that he has been poisoned.

At school Samara is pursued by one of the popular guys, a jock named Malik Davies.  Until now he has always been mean to her but she understands that being a Cambion means she will attract the attention of most men. Malik's pusuit is relentless and it soon transpires that he isn't what he seems...

My review
Of all the books in the series this one provides the most info about Cambions; what they are, how they came into existence etc.  We learn that there is always a temptation for Cambions to feed excessively off humans and in doing so they run the risk of losing their humanity and transforming into demons.  This is what happened to Caleb's father. They are ruled by powerful families who govern territories all over the world.  Samara and Caleb live in the region where the Santiago family are in charge and the family is suspicious of Caleb because of his father. [In Living Violet they sent one of their employees, a private detective called Ruiz, to keep an eye on him and his brothers.]

Caleb is absent for much of this one and his absence was felt.  I missed his interaction with Samara, from their verbal sparing to their (reluctant) romantic exchanges.  That said, the introduction of Tobias to the story and the challenges he presents for Samara make for an intriguing plot development. But, as a demonic character, Tobias is pretty tame; if he has an evil side I did not read about it.  He preferred to take a gentle approach to getting his way and at times showed signs of his humanity (such as his relationship with Malik's little brother, albeit for selfish reasons).  In that sense, unlike Caleb's father in Living Violet, I'm not convinced that Reed demonstrated effectively through Tobias' character the difference between a demon and a Cambion.

The story ends on a cliffhanger and I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Highly recommended.

I have also reviewed Fading Amber, the third and final instalment.

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