Monday, January 19, 2015

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant - Book Reivew

It's been a little while since I've done a book review. I was having a rough time reviewing books because I felt as though I kept finding books to review I just didn't like - and writing a negative review is rough. Luckily, though, NetGalley approached me to read The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe. 

Last year, The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by the same author was the very first review I posed from NetGalley and when they saw I had enjoyed it, I was given a copy of the second book in the V trilogy to review. 


If you would like to see my review of the first book, click here

I will warn you, I am going to try my best to not put in many spoilers in this review. However, since it is the second in a trilogy, if you haven't read The Unseemly Awakening of Anne Merchant yet, and you think you might be interested, please read that first before you read this review. I don't want to ruin any of the crazy plot twists for you!

If you have read the first book in the V trilogy and wanted to see where the story goes - read on! Again, I'll try to not have too many spoilers but it could be difficult! There's a lot to unpack for this book!

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant
Joanna Wiebe
BenBella Books
Release Date: January 20, 2015 (Tomorrow)

Basic Summary Without Spoilers

After finding out she has been in a comma for 3 years, Anne "wakes up" and goes with her former mentor Teddy back to Cania Christy to fight for "the big V." (Does that sound dirty to anyone else, or am I just an immature twelve year old?) While it has only been an hour since the crazy end of the lat book, when she gets back it seems as though everything has changed. Pilot is now her mentor, there is a new sexy headmaster named Dia, she's roommates with Harper, and Ben now is a senior at Cania Christy and has to fight for the big V as well. 

From the NetGalley site:

"...she faces the reality of life in a world ruled by wickedness: she must embrace her inner demons to help those she loves. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down a slippery slope that, if she lets temptation guide her, could lead her straight to the underworld."

My Thoughts

The Premise

I'll tell you this straight out - there are a million plot twists and turns in this second installment of the V Trilogy. We learn a lot more about Cania Christy and the underworld and demons and the like and also about Anne's history. Which is awesome - there were a lot of unanswered questions in the last book. 

As the story went on though, I wasn't sure how I felt about the direction the story was going. I'm all for paranormal and the different spins on demons and such. I think it's really interesting and makes for great plot twists. I do think it could have been more fleshed out in this story though, and it went in a very sexual direction. I'm also for having honest conversations and plot lines when it comes to sexuality and relationships in young adult novels, but this book almost seemed to try and cross some lines for this genre where it was more about "let's have a lot of talk about sex because it's edgy and cool!" vs. being honest.

I also feel as though Cania Christy is a lot more intense in this book. It was in the first as well, but I felt it more this time around. Although all of their classes seem to be out of place and too "ordinary" at times. I still say Paris Gellar from Gilmore Girls would have loved this school. Nothing brings out the competitiveness in people like fighting for the big V.

I was also a bit confused on where the story was going and what the point of all of the twists and turns were. There were times it simply seemed as though everything was just for shock value and to keep it interesting and not for the sake of the plot and story.

Thankfully, though, everything got ironed out in the end and even the over-sexualization made sense as the story went on. 

I also would like to note, it would be a good idea to brush up on the story of A Picture of Dorian Gray for reading this book. It is referenced a lot and I wish I was more familiar with the story so it would have made more sense to me. 

The Characters

Anne took some very dark turns in this second installment. She is no longer the girl we met in the first book and she makes a lot of tough, and even wrong, choices in this book. I was able to keep rooting for her through the whole book, but there were moments where I just wasn't sure anymore if I wanted her to succeed because of the choices she was making. 

Ben I feel could have been fleshed out more. He's very dreamy and swoony in the first book, and he still is in the second book, but I feel like there's not a whole lot else to his character. I'll go more into this when I talk about the love story. 

The big new character was Dia, the new headmaster, who was... interesting. I'm still not sure if I should like him or not, which from what I took was the point of his character. He's supposed to be sexy, tempting, a little deranged, and passionate. 

Harper plays a much bigger role in this book than she did in the first. (No dance offs this time though. Bummer!) Especially by the end we learn more about who is she and who she used to be which I really enjoyed. You have to love three dimensional characters! I felt as though there weren't many in this story so it was nice to have more to one of them.

I would comment on the other characters as well, but that would include spoilers!

Love Story

It appears as though at the beginning of the book Anne and Ben finally get to be together. Hooray! But as all trilogies go... this isn't going to happen. They start their "official" relationship but, for spoiler reasons I can't say, their relationship has to end. It is then that a possible love triangle pops up in the story - which I have very mixed feelings about. 

My first doubt about the love story/triangle is I'm not 100% convinced of Ben. I feel as though, while he's very sweet and swoony and dreamy and all, he doesn't completely grab me. This could be very subjective and I'm sure some girls adore Ben. Which is awesome! He just doesn't do it for me.

The other love interest for this possible love triangle (which, it never is a full on love triangle in this installment, but you never know for the third book!) I can't mention who it is because of spoilers. (Although, you might figure it out.) However, I will say, this one doesn't 100% convince me either and it's very borderline inappropriate - if not full on inappropriate. The only reason this book can get away with is is because the reader already knows everything at this school is completely messed up and these things would never (or rarely) happen in "the real world" without consequences.

The concept of this possible love triangle I like (and you could argue a love square... kinda), but I think if character building had been a bit more it would have been more convincing. 


The beginning of this book was rough. Mainly, because I had to remember everything from the previous book. I remembered the basics of what happened and the general premise, but I had to recall the details and who was still alive and who was dead and why, etc. Once I got all of that figured out, it was much better.

I did struggle with the middle too. While I enjoyed it more than the beginning because I had everything straight in my head, but the plot twists and the over-sexualization were almost overwhelming. It didn't make sense and Anne made some choices which made it very difficult to keep rooting for her. 

Then, everything seemed to come together in the last third of the book and I couldn't put it down! Once pieces fell into place and I could see a bit more of where it was going but still have questions to keep me reading and interesting, I loved it. The final book in this trilogy is definitely going to be a roller coaster and I can't wait!

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, but it's really more like 3 1/2 stars because the beginning and the middle were rough, but the final third was fantastic.

I received this book as a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Also - a little plug:  my friend Laura and I started a YouTube channel! We only have two videos up so far and it's basically just a thing where we send each other videos. Kind of like the Vlog brothers but not as cool. Haha. Anyways, if you are interested click here!

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