Wanted by Annika James
Author: Annika James Website|Twitter
Published: 17 January 2013 (MuseItUp)
Format: Kindle e-book
Source: Received free copy from author in exchange for an honest review
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Attacked as a young witch and left for dead, Ashlinn is deathly afraid of being bitten again. Having survived until she’s almost eighteen without donating blood to any of her vamp friends, Ashlinn figures she’ll continue to live bite-free. After her crush reveals how powerful she is, however, the Vampire Council declares she be claimed as a familiar, which requires biting. Ashlinn doesn’t want to be owned, even by hot vamp, Conor. Luckily, her best friend, Matt, volunteers for the job. She is given one week to choose her protector, and the list of willing biters keeps growing. Will she go with best friend Matt, hot vamp Conor, or someone else to protect her? Will she be able to get her power under control by then? Will she overcome her phobia of being bitten? And who says she needs to be protected, anyhow?
I was really excited when the author got in touch with me about this book because the summary sounded right up my street! Wanted follows Ash, a witch who's friends just happen to be vampires. One day Ash discovers that her powers are attracting her to the vampire community and suddenly she's the object of everyone's attention.
What I really loved about Wanted was how much it stood out from the other vampire novels I've read. After a while they can all start to blend into one, but Wanted felt really different. I enjoyed the world building in particular because it was done so well. There wasn't tons of boring exposition, but we were introduced to everything gradually. I found the workings of Ash's world to be really interesting as well. At her school, witches like her mix with vampires and even humans and I liked how at the beginning we see Ash sticking up for vampire rights.The involvement of the vampire council also added that political element.
The main plot revolves around the fact that Ash's powers have made her attracted to the vampire community. In order to protect herself, she must find herself a "familiar" which means she must allow a vampire to bite her. This means she has to choose someone she can trust to build that relationship with. The whole story made for a great twist on the whole love triangle thing. Ash is torn between her best friend Matt who has offered to be her familiar, and her crush Conor, who is also willing. I say it was a twist because the fact is she spends a lot of time wishing she didn't have to choose anyone. She's put in a really tough situation and I did feel for her. It was fascinating seeing her cope with that and struggle to decide who she could trust.
It took me a little while to get into the writing style of the book and ocassionaly I felt there were a few too many adjectives used in places, but the writing definitely improved as the book went on. Soon I was completely immersed in the story and wasn't worrying about the writing at all. I particularly was impressed with the dialogue, which felt very natural. I liked that the characters swore every now and again because let's face it, teenagers swear. And in this instance it felt really accurate and true to life.
The pacing was spot on in Wanted and the build up to Ash's decision made for some really great suspense. I loved the twists and turns along the way and I was always curious about what would happen. I also loved how some of the information was teased slowly throughout the book, for example we learn that Ash was attacked in the past, but instead of it being explained it one chunk of text, little glimpses of what happened are weaved into the rest of the story. It was so cleverly done.
The characters were really interesting and I loved the contrast between Matt and Conor. Matt is like the sweet best friend and Conor the mysterious intriguing boy with a bit of a reputation. Seeing Ash take control of her powers made for some great scenes too. She really held her own as a main character. I thought Ash's best friend Cora added a really great dynamic to the group as well. I was even impressed that Ash's mum got an interesting back story. There was plenty of attention to detail, that's for sure.
The climax of this book really had me hooked. There were plenty of surprises so I totally didn't see the ending coming. Overall I was really impressed with Wanted. It's a real stand out in the vampire genre so if you love vampires then definitely grab this one as soon as you can!
Books like this: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins