Wednesday, August 7, 2013

(W)REC(K) A BOOK: Thrall

Braedyn is a normal girl just trying to survive high school with her two devoted friends, Royal and Cassie. Together they're doing a pretty good job of shrugging off the slings and arrows cast their way by the popular crowd when a new boy, Lucas, moves into the house next door. Suddenly Braedyn finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Braedyn discovers humankind is at war with the Lilitu, an ancient race of enticing demons that prey on human souls. Her father is a member of the Guard fighting against the Lilitu - and so are the new neighbors, including her crush, Lucas.

As her world starts to unravel at the seams, Braedyn learns the right answers aren't always clear or easy. And as for "good" and "evil" - it all depends on how we choose to act.
                                        - Goodreads

This was inspired by ancient Mesopotamian myths of Lilith and her offspring. Braedyn's age had me hesitating to get it- I just can't stand how some authors think stupidity goes with young age -but this blew me away.

Braedyn's only ever had her father, and with two of the greatest friends in the world, and enough sense on her shoulders to know when or how to brush off the antics of the popular crowd, life's pretty good.

It starts off with Braedyn and her friends, Royal and Cassie, at a school dance. Three couples, the cheerleaders and soccer jocks, are outside when the girls head in to get ready for Homecoming's crowning. Long story short, one of them named Derek smashes a cupcake in Braedyn's hair after she tries to defend her friend. They go back inside, but when she hunts for her clutch by the dessert table, she sees Derek- and watches a beautiful woman stroll right up to him. She concludes that the stranger's total confidence and awareness = not a high school student. The woman briefly mentions their fight outside, glances at her, and then steals him away. The Homecoming Court is announced, and their king is nowhere to be found.

The next morning, as Royal's picking her up for school, they notice that she has new neighbors, which is a rarity. She totally embarrasses herself in front of one of them, though, (and he's a total babe) after talking smack about the old deathtrap house. Later in school during lunch hour, the embarrassment continues when her neighbor asks to sit with them. His name is Lucas. Derek and his friends mess with her again almost immediately for his cleaner's bill, and a pull at Braedyn's waist against the slimeball jock has Lucas throwing the first punch. It's their bonding moment, and they talk again during P.E., but when he mentions his relief of knowing another like him under the age of 25, she doesn't understand. He freezes up at his mistake and continues to act odd the rest of the way. It isn't until she gets home that her dad sees them talking, and boy is he upset at Lucas's slip up!

Her dad completely bombs her. He's not her biological father, her real father was killed by a Lilitu. "What's a Lilitu?" A succubus, (generally) female demons in the form of alluring beauties who feed on the essence of those who desire them either in their dreams or during sensual contact. Sex, usually, but in this YA case, a kiss does it just fine. XD Braedyn takes the news of demons running around a little easier than some, especially when her dad and one of the neighbors, Hale, goes on to tell her that they're a part of the Guard, humanity's only real defense against the Lilitu.

With that out of the way, they force Lucas to babysit her when a Lilitu is spotted hunting, but Braedyn wants proof of this craziness, so they see for themselves. She believes it, and Lucas is once again relieved that he can talk to her about this, but they get caught in an embrace during unofficial training and the final member of the household, Lucas's sister, Gretchen, sends him upstairs and goes off on all of them.
"She's the enemy!"
Time for another bomb to drop. Braedyn's dad reveals that she's a Lilitu, and was raised in secret by him in the hopes of showing the Guard that she could be a great aspect to bringing down the enemy. Only they know of her existence, however, as the first time they tried to raise a daughter of Lilith, she ran away. Braedyn has her moments with her dad, but in the end she still trusts and loves him, and he the same. However, despite "everyone" being okay with her, no one is allowed to tell Lucas, whom they believe would kill her due to his past of losing his brother to her kind.

The Lilitu are planning something, and they need her to find out what they're doing on Winter Solstice. During that time, she's struggling to keep away form Lucas under their orders, or, when she and Lucas decide to keep seeing each other in secret, to not hurt him. It's a series of finding out about her heritage and choosing right from wrong. On her birthday she'd come into her own, causing a lot of the males at school to lust after her. So when Parker, Derek's friend, didn't take her dismissal well, and she indirectly lets it slip that Cassie likes him, he gets the perfect revenge; he sleeps with Cassie while his friends are in the bathroom, telling the whole school about it. Braedyn is devastated when Royal calls to tell her, and it's that moment that the beautiful woman from Homecoming shows up again. Karayan had been visiting her, saying she has great potential as their sister, and when she says Parker needs to be punished, Braedyn agrees. She makes him feel what everyone felt over Cassie, but the result is frightening. Her once white-rose garden in her little dream world is now stained blood red at the base, and several days later, Parker tries to kill himself.

Karayan had been trying to set Braedyn up: when she chose to turn Derek Thrall and get him killed by the Guard, she'd done it under pretense of believing he was her boyfriend. Then when Parker hurt her best friend, she coaxed her into planting a seed of self-loathing into him, knowing the trace of what she'd done would be traced back to her by the Guard. And it worked.

Gretchen was never a huge fan of hers because her husband was Lucas's brother. Thane, a member they'd brought on to help train Braedyn, believed her to be nothing but evil and a traitor just waiting to betray them. They found the trace on Parker in the hospital, and it forced her to run away. Then situations placed Lucas and Braedyn making out in his room, and Gretchen flips a bitch at this, revealing her secret to Lucas. That kills him, but the warmth leaking from his eyes and the undeniable hatred for her kind- not to mention the freaking blade he snatches up that Gretchen stops him from using -kills her, and she runs away.

And yet despite all this, she doesn't blame him. Like him, she hates what she is and understands why he would hate her, but her love for him pushes her to need to explain it to him. So while all that is happening, she finds Ais, the Lilitu everyone's been trying to hunt down in South America, and finds out that she plans to tear down the Wall into their world in their own backyard. After escaping three Thrall that Karayan sicced on her to feed on, she meets Sansenoy, one of the Three angels, who gives her an angel sword to take own Ais. Even after being treated as a demon, she calls the Guard to let them know of the Lilitu's plans, but gets caught by Gretchen's boyfriend and his team, who mistake her for another huntress and bring her to the house.

Braedyn's dad is livid when he sees how they've treated her and it's total chaos as her existence and connection to Murphy (her dad) is revealed. Lucas's house is filled with more members of the Guard, and they take the news of Braedyn very hard. It isn't until she shows them the angel's sword that they begin to kinda trust her. Lucas still refuses to look at her, but small hints show that he starts to become lenient to not hating her, like him glaring at Gretchen when it's revealed that they all knew what she was, and were to treat her as an ally, like she'd been raised to believe.

Lots of shit happens, and in the end, after she saves Lucas, he apologizes and they make up. Karayan, who turns out to be the first Lilitu the Guard raised, has a change of heart when she thinks her sisters killed Thane, whom she still loves (somewhere in her confusion) as a father. He was the reason she ran away. He treated her like a weapon and never let her forget what kind of evil demon she was. It's obvious in the end how much he regrets what he did, and when Karayan sends the rest of Ais's Thrall away, they have a small moment, where he calls out to her, but she turns invisible, looking so confused and alone, and runs away. :(

Everyone parties and has fun in the epilogue, and of course Amber, the human high school antagonist of this story, has one more threat for Braedyn. The nerve of that girl, like seriously, it scares me how high she sits on her high horse.

This was a fantastic read! I loved everything- the confident Royal, the adorable and eccentric-stylish Cassie (I totally cried inside when a darker streak was evident on her usually bright smile), the way I hated Gretchen and Thane for being so mean to her, the way her dad stayed devoted to his little girl. Lucas was a cutie and good for Braedyn, though I did have my own moment of demonic weakness (and not in the good way) when he completely iced her out during her big secret reveal. In this gal's opinion, she forgave him too quickly. If a guy ever did that to me without even letting me explain?

mad GIFs photo: mad tumblr_lpvobmKM9w1qfkzrx.gif

Beware, sons of Adam.

Happy Reading.

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