Thursday, May 10, 2012

Endure by Carrie Jones

Endure by Carrie Jones
ARC received from Bloomsbury Children’s
Release Date:  5-8-2012
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Enchanting, Endearing, and Entertaining 
It’s all-out war (and no-holds-barred romance) in the climactic conclusion to Carrie Jones’s bestselling series.

Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . .

Unexpected turns, surprising revelations, and one utterly satisfying romantic finale make Endure a thrilling end to this series of bestsellers.

I read the entire Need series in the last week, and I have to say, each book gets better and better, culminating in an action-packed race to Ragnarok (aka Armageddon, aka Apocalypse, aka AH! End of the world and no more paranormal romance books)!!  If you have not read this series and want something with a different species of paranormal—try the Need books by Carrie Jones.  They focus on pixies (no, not Thumbelina or Tinkerbell)—evil, blue, shark teethed pixies.  These creatures will keep you guessing—are they good or bad?   Is it possible to be both?
 For me, it was nice to see a different species in the paranormal genre mixed in with something I love even more—mythology!  These books have a focus on Norse mythology which doesn’t show up much in the young adult genre; in fact, I can’t think of another book I’ve read that focuses on Norse mythology.  So, it was new and exciting, seeing Carrie’s world intertwine with the gods Thor, Odin, and Hel.  Carrie creates a fantastic world, rich in imagery.  I felt like I could close my eyes, walk through a looking glass, and then I would right there with Zara, Nick, and Astley (mostly Astley…even the pixie thing doesn’t turn me off!)!
I really enjoyed Zara in this book.  She’s struggling with the idea of being the Pixie Queen, and it’s really endearing seeing inside her head—trying to see her reconcile her past with her present and constantly contemplating the future.  She’s not infallible, and that makes her struggle all the more real.  I do wish she would have come into her powers a little bit more—throughout books 1 through 3, we are constantly hearing about how Zara is half-pixie, and as a result, she would be extremely powerful once turned.  Although Zara did get to kick some butt, we really didn’t see her come into her own and learn to embrace her powers.  The book was short, too, (less than 300 pages), so I believe there was plenty of room to add a bit more so we can see Zara grow.
Then we have the guys…Nick and Astley.  No matter what team you are on, I do think you will enjoy this book, and you won’t regret who she finally chooses.  Nick is his same old, were self—agitated, grumpy, and kick butt.  But, we see a different side of Nick in this book.  We also see his downfall—his struggle to accept Zara as a pixie.  I thought his reaction was completely believable—I mean, it’s nice to see a love story where everything is not all, “Oh, I’ll love you forever, no matter if you turn crazy murderer or not.”  Nick is afraid of what Zara has become, and I found the strained relationship between him and Zara to be realistic and oddly satisfying.  Will they both get over their prejudices and end up together?  I won’t tell, you’ll have to read for yourself!
And then there’s Astley.  I love Astley.  Like Zara, he struggles with who he is, but it isn’t a struggle that causes him to crumble.  Instead, this struggle causes him to constantly surprise me.  Zara and Astley grow closer in this book, and I loved seeing the pixie relationship progress.  I do really wish there was more to the romance, though.  There was no scene where I blushed because I wanted to re-read it over and over again.  There was no time where I would have given my pinky finger to trade places with Zara.  I wanted passion and fear and uncertainty and love all mixed into one (or two or three or four) dramatic romantic scenes, but they never came.   Even so, I enjoyed being surprised over and over again by Astley.  Will she choose him?  I won’t tell!
There never seemed to be a dull moment in Endure.  It was action-packed from the start, and whenever it seemed like all was about to settle down, some mythological creature threatening apocalypse would show up and tear down the illusion.  You definitely won’t be bored with this one!  There were times where I did skip over some of the description, though because I felt bogged down by it and wanted to get straight to the action.
Overall, I’m definitely glad I didn’t skip over this series.  They were all very quick and fascinating reads, and although there wasn’t as much romance as I would like, I still did enjoy what we got to see between Zara and Nick and Zara and Astley.  Alas (I’m speaking Astley talk), love triangles do not both me!
So, if you want to see a different kind of mythology and a different kind of species to pluck you out of your paranormal funk, this is the series to read!