Review: Jealousy by Lili St. Crow

Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Title: Jealousy
Author: Lili St. Crow (pen name for author Lilith Saintcrow)
Genre: young-adult, horror (zombies), supernatural/paranormal (vampires, wulfen)
Series: Strange Angels #3
Pages: 316 (paperback edition)
Published: July 2010
Source: bought
Rating: 3/5

Love is a battlefield.

Just when Dru thought she was safe, everything exploded in her face. Her mom and dad are long gone, her protectors Graves and Christophe kinda want to rip each other's throats out, and a four-hundred-year-old nosferat named Sergej won't stop hunting her until his bloodthirsty army of suckers has torn her to shreds.

Dru's finally made it to the Schola Prima - the Real Deal djamphir training facility and home of the Order - and life is about to get even more Real World. There's a brand new svetocha in town - a redheaded vixen named Anna who's got the Order wrapped around her pretty little finger, and who'd rather kill Dru than share the spotlight. Turns out Dru's got something Anna wants. And his name just happens to be Christophe Reynard
.
Jealousy, while not a total miss for me, is thus far my least favorite of the Strange Angels series. I'm a noted critic of the overused and cliched love-triangle trope, especially in young-adult literature, that a novel based entirely around one is going to have a steep hill to climb to my good graces. Additionally, many of the key elements that had me enamored with the previous two novels (the vivid, bright descriptions, frequent and fast fights, can-do heroine with a deserved attitude, lack of love triangle) were strangely absent from this third novel. Dru herself seems to be devolving from the independent young-woman with perhaps too big-of-a-chip on her shoulder we met initially into a sulky, whiny, utterly selfish mess. I don't necessarily want a robot heroine, one who feels nothing and cares for no one but it seemed that every ten pages. . . Dru was crying, Dru was upset, Dru didn't understand why such and such . .  And it got really old, really fast. Along with Dru's increased. . .sensitivity. . . the complete dearth of any substantial action AT ALL for most of the novel made this the hardest Strange Angels novel for me to finish. I repeatedly wondered what had happened to the rapid-fire, up-tempo series I was reading?
 
As dreaded and as hinted at in the above blurb from Goodreads, the love triangle is firmly established between Dru, her loup-garou best friend Graves and the dangerous, protective djamphir Christophe. The love triangle itself brings an interesting question to mind, for all its banality:  should Dru date the "safe" choice (Graves) or the one that excites her (Christophe). Dru herself does no favors when asking these questions, as she clearly states her attraction to Graves as "home" and "comfortable" and "familiar", while Christophe practically causes her palpitations from standing in the same room. I'm not saying Christophe is the right choice - I hate relationships that begin with the girl constantly wondering if the boy is going to kill her as Dru did with Chris for the first two novels (though that was mostly because of her paranoia in Betrayals than his doing, but I digress) - just that it is interesting how starkly different they are, and Dru's conflicting attraction for both. I'm also sick to death with being beaten to death with just how bad Dru feels, just how responsible she is Graves' being  bitten - TWO BOOKS AGO. Move on, Dru/Lili! He's fine, he's happy and he's clearly and repeatedly told Dru he does not blame her. Why the needless melodrama, St. Crow? The added guilt does nothing for Dru's character and just seems to make her more self-centered: even her friend's condition is all about her.

Since I've grumped on for two paragraphs pretty severely about what I didn't like (with one more to come), I will admit to finding not all of Jealousy aggravating to read. Some points do stand up well, and were fun enough to read that I did not give up entirely. First up: Christophe. I'm not sure why he was held absent from the storyline so long when clearly the love triangle is in full-force, but I like his character immensely. He always adds at least a little excitement and between Dru's endless excursions to and from class, it was sorely needed. Second: actual information about the infrastructure/workings of the Order/The Council was imparted in the novel. I really like both the hierarchy of the Council and the vampires themselves: if I am momentarily less than impressed with her plotting/pacing for this novel, I am always impressed by the originality of the mythology and history that has been conceived for this series.

As with before, in each of the previous books, Ms. St. Crow utterly fails to deliver a satisfactory ending for Jealousy. I have yet to feel that the endings for any of the three novels I have read in this series was a well-rounded, well-executed finale. They've all felt lacking: either in tension, emotion or just plain answers to the endless questions. Anna is revealed to be the Big Bad that the author barely even tried to hide for the last two novels, and once again the reader is left hanging. The novel feels like mostly filler; a lot of show and very little content. I walked away from Jealousy feeling very unfulfilled and less-than-eager to see what the next book has in store for Dru and Co. I will probably pick it up in time, but for now I've had my fill of the nosferatu, djamphir, svetochas, Scholas, wulfen and loup-garou of Dru's world.

3 comments:

  1. Hi, I'd like to invite you to post your giveaways on our giveaway directory: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Please submit your blog here: http://www.giveawayscout.com/join/ Once you receive our confirmation email you can post your giveaways on our site. Thanks.

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  2. Wow, I'm sorry it left you feeling so MEH about it! It sounds like such a detailed universe, but if the content's not there, like you say, what's the point?

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  3. I know, AL! I was saddened - this series has such potential. Maybe the final two will have me back at my former position of loving them :-)

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