Welcome to Vampire Apocalypse 2.0, Now With More Boring Road Trip

The Forever Song, Julie KagawaThe Forever Song (Blood of Eden #3), Julie Kagawa
Release date: April 15, 2014
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Spoilers ahead for the first two books in the series, The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure.)

Well, this young adult vampire-filled dystopian trilogy started out with excitement and originality, and ended up rather dull.

The story picks up almost right where book two left off – sane vampires Allie, Kanin and Jackal are hunting down crazy vampire Sarren to prevent him from releasing a virus that will wipe out all humans and vampires. Allie also wants revenge because she thinks Sarren killed her human boyfriend, Zeke.

There is action aplenty as the three slash their way through the post-apocalyptic countryside, but no new characters, settings, or objectives are introduced. The entire book follows Allie and her vamp family running around looking for Sarren. Every so often they pause to ethically feed off humans and bicker with each other and contemplate what it is to be a monster and still retain a sense of humanity.

That last part is what I used to like most about the series. Allie’s struggle with her choice to become a vampire instead of succumbing to death has always been the most captivating part of the story, but in this final volume her inner turmoil becomes tedious. Everything becomes a bit tedious, or else ridiculously overblown, because it’s already been done so much better in the first two books.

Take, for example, bad guy Sarren – he started out as delightfully psycho and evil, yet with a pretty good reason to be pissed off at everyone, so he had some depth. In the third book he turns into a comically crazy villain, complete with maniacal laughs and an absurd resistance to being stabbed. (MINOR SPOILER: There’s a part where he pops back up a few minutes after having had his throat slit and Allie yells, “Why won’t you just die!” It was silly, and not in a fun way. END SPOILER.)

And then there’s the issue of my favorite character, Kanin, Allie’s vampire sire and mentor. In the previous books he’s engaging and mysterious (a bit cliche for a vamp, but it worked), but in the third book he spends most of his time calmly chiding Allie and Jackal for their constant squabbling. And then he does something really stupid and I barely restrained myself from smashing my Kindle against the wall. I would have been majorly impressed if Kanin and a certain other character had reversed roles a bit, but in general I was disappointed with both character development and plot resolution.

I still recommend this series to readers who enjoy young adult vampire/dystopian fiction that has enough originality to stand out from much more mediocre works, but I was underwhelmed with the conclusion. With a few tweaks to the ending of the second book this series could have made a great duology. Instead, we get a trilogy with a final book that loses its ambition and is reduced to an extended road trip with the same few characters, looking to achieve the same goal, with no surprises of any real depth.

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