Review: Crave by Melissa Darnell

Monday, November 21, 2011
Title: Crave
Genre: young-adult, supernatural fiction
Series: The Clann #1
Pages: 431 (Nook NetGalley ARC edition)
Published: October 2011
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 1.5/5

Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.
For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back…different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences…
With one of the few prologues that has excited me rather than dismayed me, Crave was an. . .  experience from start to finish. Crave is a very hard beast for me to categorize within my usual systems. One one hand, there were so many cliches and unnecessary elements that felt like filler, but on the other hand I had fun reading the novel and was intrigued by the lore/mythology of this supernatural world. Melissa Darnell's Crave has had several ratings from me in the day of reading and two days of analyzing I've had with it. From a 3, rationalized to a 2, again rationalized to a 2.5 out of 5 as the fairest I can do for this novel with my extreme mixed emotions. Savannah and Tristan's stories from Crave made me intensely want to smack them both, separate them, laugh at them. . . and ultimately want to read its sequel, Covet, as soon as I can get my grabby, contradictory hands on it in 2012. The only thing I can say is that it's like a bad movie: so bad it's good and you can't help but enjoy the often ridiculous, but hard-to-stop ride.

As said earlier Crave is all about two teens: Savannah Colbert, the "social outcast" of her high school and "golden boy" Tristan Coleman. The reader gets in both characters heads quite intimately with the switching, dual POV chapters from each. While I liked the switches between the views of Sav and Tristan, they came much too frequently in the flow of the novel and often without seeming to really need to change to the other's mind. With such a slow plot, with little to nothing happening (seriously the most exciting "event" in the first two hundred and fifty pages is some creepy guys and one guy grabbing Savannah's wrist) the shifts just exacerbated the problems already present. What kept me most interested was the lore and mythology of the Clann, it's secretive ways and just why the two kids were separated at such a young age.

Savannah was an okay protagonist, I suppose. I enjoyed her after a while, but she definitely didn't jump off the page in a burst of life and vivacity or anything, for me as a reader. She was a nicely rounded-out character, one who actually (amazingly, astoundingly) had a group of female friends with brains. I especially loved her friend Anne: protective, sarcastic and smart she was instantly relate-able to me in a way Savannah just wasn't. But, as more and more is revealed about Sav as the novel progressed, I warmed to her. Slight spoiler: especially when Sav was revealed as a half-witch, half vampire/succubus with powers! Tristan was more of a hit with me, though he too was far from ideal. I liked his struggles with his family and their expectations for him and his life -I feel that is something a lot of kids go through and Tristan's issues came across as genuine. He was a charming and even kind kid, apparently a rarity in this town/school. His overtures with Anne showed a lot about his personality and he helped me to warm to his girlfriend. I did laugh that his dream was to play in the NFL, but hey, he's a teenage boy. I did think idolized Savannah a bit much, as well. He constantly narrated, commented on, was angered by how saintlike and giving and perfect she was. We get it - we got it two chapters ago - move on, dude..

One thing I hated about both Tris and Sav: their relationship is practically Twilight but with witches and a part-succubus. Their teenage relationship is chock full of insta!love (no, being best friends in 4th grade does not negate years of independent growth/change/apparent hatred for each other with no communication - Sav and Tris do NOT know each other after reuniting, at least, not enough to be so "deeply" in love), "protectiveness" on part of Tristan that is borderline controlling and stalking, and of course, Tristan's blood is Sav's perfect cocktail (what, does he smell of lavender and freesia, maybe?) - so much so she is always aware whenever he is near. While happily Savannah does have dating experience other than her soulmate, I just had to knock a star off for this ridiculous relationship. It's laughable and like I said, been done before, many, many times. There's also no explanation just why it is Tristan, out of all the Clann, appeals just so much to Miss Savannah. If it's power, Tristan stated both his sister and father were stronger and more dedicated than he was with the magic, so it seems like unnecessary addition. I also wished for more from the vampire side of the novel: from Sav's dad to ominous Council, they seemed to swoop in randomly and then be ignored as part of the novel for quite a while.

I also soon realized just why the prologue was alluring, danger-filled and exciting: it's because the rest of the novel isn't. At all. This is a 400+ page novel with a plot consisting for the first 300 entirely of an old Friends trick: will they or won't they, can they, should they date? Seriously. It's all build-up and "oh no, I'm not allowed to date her!" "I can't be with him, it's against the rules!" when all along everyone - the characters, the reader, the author - all know it's a long-gone, foregone conclusion that they will. Ms. Darnell just dragged this unnecessary dating-or-not-dating drama out for far too long and other concerns that should have been pressing and important (the bloodlust, the council) are relegated to the back until the last 100 pages. For the first half, clueless me sat there wondering, "where's the action? When are the vampires, The Clann, anyone at all! going to do something/anything besides threaten and lurk offscreen?" This is a slow read, and if I hadn't been particuarly zealous the day I read it, I would probably still be struggling through the four hundred page length of the tome. There's no impetus to read besides finishing the novel, because there's no climactic build-up or suspense. Even the end of the novel lacks suspense or real excitement. Maybe Miss Darnell can fix these issues with the second, but I know I will be reading it regardless.


  1. Awesome review, Jessie. I had mixed feelings about Crave. I look forward to your next review.

  2. Why thanks! I had a hard time with this one - wanted to show it was fun but also mind-numbingly slow. Hopefully Covet is an improvement!


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