Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review of Anathema, by K.A. Tucker

Anathema (The Causal Enchantment Series, #1)

Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.
When Evangeline meets Sofie after literally stumbling upon her cafĂ©, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.
With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities . . . like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.
In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed. (From GoodReads)
What if you had nothing and no one? No roots to hold you to your life. What if you had the opportunity of a lifetime? The most luxurious aspects of life become yours for the taking. What price would you pay?

Evangeline is a girl with no family, no ties to her life. When the glamorous Sofie mysteriously insinuates herself into Evangeline’s life, her life changes in ways she could never possibly imagine.  Upon arriving in New York, Sofie introduces Evangeline to Viggo and Mortimer. The fact that the three are hiding something from Evangeline quickly becomes apparent. But who can worry about that when wads of cash and loads of clothes are heaved upon you at every turn? Things take a bizarre turn on her first night in New York. A terrifying “dream”  has Evangeline meeting strangely beautiful and dangerous people, coming under attack, and waking up with a bump on her head. Night after night, she becomes more involved in the “dream world” and day after day, she is faced with increasingly troubling behavior from Sofie, Viggo and Mortimer. With deceptions coming at every angle, Evangeline is left choosing who she can trust. The wrong choice may certainly cost her life.

In Anathema, K.A. Tucker has created a fascinating world filled with rich characters, alternate realities and psychological drama. Although Evangeline is the main character, Sofie was, for me, the most interesting character. Sofie was by turns ruthless, deceptive and surprisingly caring. Evangeline started the story as a meek character, but developed the strength to handle her circumstances.

To be completely honest, the jumping between Evangeline’s dream world and daily life was a little confusing and left me hoping that there would be a great explanation. Every time she was thrown from one reality to the other, I was thrown off track. Both storylines were excellent, but they felt distinct, not fully cohesive.  The dual storylines are explained about halfway through the book, and eventually come together very nicely.

My favorite aspect of Anathema was the deception between the characters. While reading this book, you can never take anyone at “face value”. Each time I felt I knew who Evangeline could trust, the tables were turned. The level of deceit and trickery is astounding. I changed allegiance continuously and by the time I finished reading the book, I was still not sure I, or Evangeline, made the right choice. 

K.A. Tucker beautifully set the stage for the sequel, Asylum, due out in 2012.

You can learn more about K.A. Tucker at her blog

*I received Anathema from the author, in exchange for an honest review.*

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