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Search tags: mature-content
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text 2017-07-18 23:43
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
Mature Content - Megan Erickson,Santino Hassell
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review 2014-12-14 03:16
Falter
Falter - V.J. Chambers

Jason is adjusting to being a father and trying to live a peaceful life but he's beginning to miss the thrill of violence. Azazel is exhilarated with hunting down their would be pursuers and hates that Jason doesn't approve of her impassioned cause. A simple survellance mission quickly escalates into an issue that endangers the people they swore to protect. Working together again comes naturally but it threatens to unveil the secrets they've been hiding from each other. This is the eighth book in the Jason and Azazel series and the second book in the Jason and Azazel: Ambrosia trilogy.

Falter is a paranormal story that takes place about six months after where the previous book ended. I like the new direction this last trilogy in the series has taken. It has the same intriguing drama that defines the series but it feels a bit more grounded with additional focus on action and suspense. While the paranormal elements gives it an interesting twist.

The narrative is told from Jason and Azazel's alternating viewpoints. The story really reinforces their mature perspective and how much they've been through. Their interactions with the younger characters were amusing and insightful. I liked that events from the previous books were referred to and reanalyzed by the characters. It gave the world a sense of history and it was interesting to see how it affected the characters.

Jason and Azazel have always navigated a morally gray landscape often getting lost in darkness and violence. It was interesting to see them try to define new boundaries and establish a new moral compass. I liked the moral dilemmas the story forced them to confront. 

The story introduces an edgier and darker intensity to Jason and Azazel's sexual relationship. Throughout the series they've betrayed and hurt each other in numerous ways but this story's portrayal of their relationship and the secrets they're keeping from each other seemed more intimate and intense. I liked how the story was able to capture that emotional rawness and internal conflict.

It was fun to see how Azazel's team had developed since the previous book. It was interesting to see how they all worked together and the different relationships that developed between the characters. I liked the setting of their chosen headquarters and it was fun to see their operation setup. I also liked how they utilized technology and altered weaponry in their missions.

The newly integrated magic system was developed more in this story. Its limits were better defined and it introduced interesting consequences. The story also further developed the lore behind its magic system. It's an intriguing biblical reinterpretation that introduces a formidable character and a secret society with an unusual goal. 

Falter is a dark, suspenseful story and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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review 2014-12-06 21:24
Tortured
Tortured - V.J. Chambers

Jason and Azazel are in Italy finishing off their senior year at a posh private school funded by the Sons of the Rising Sun. They bide their time trying to break into the school's library hoping to uncover evidence that Jason isn't the prophesied Rising Sun. Azazel is plagued by nightmares and feels overwhelmed by what their lives have become. This is the third book in the Jason and Azazel series.

Breathless is a young adult story. It was a fun and action packed read with tinges of darkness. It has a lighter tone than the previous books and makes startling revelations about everything the characters thought they knew. The narration was engaging and character development is great. The world building was given more focus offering a detailed and comprehensive overview. 

The beginning was dark, Azazel's nightmares were intense and it was upsetting to see her drinking problem surface again. It was interesting to see her work through her psychological distress after everything that happened in the previous book. I liked that Azazel finally confronted how she would deal with navigating the violence in their lives. She becomes more assertive and it was heartening to see her boost of confidence and determination to stay with Jason.

The rest of the story was fluffy and cute. The scenes were amusing and lacked the violent intensity established in previous books instead it felt more action oriented. The mystery surrounding Jason and Azazel's lives was given more focus and they followed clues gradually piecing together the story behind their forced prophetic mantles.

The world building was given additional focus. It further expands on the lore of the Rising Sun and vessel of Azazel. It was interesting and thorough offering a different perspective on events. It felt fair considering those events were first meant to be shocking. Though I liked all the additional history, I really disliked the compiled info dumps dispensed through text heavy dialogue. 

The first couple of books felt like they were leading up to a cataclysmic tragedy. This story releases a lot of that tension and it seemed to negate everything it previously established. I didn't necessarily feel let down but I did feel like I was tricked. The backtracking felt odd but it presents a new concept full of possibilities. 

Tortured is fun read with a happy conclusion to the first trilogy in the Jason and Azazel series.

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review 2014-12-06 03:04
Trembling
Trembling - V.J. Chambers

Jason and Azazel have moved to Florida and are trying to establish a normal life for themselves. They should feel safe knowing their freedom is secure with the blackmail material they have but Azazel is still paranoid. She keeps noticing signs that their enemies may be close. It puts a strain on her relationship with Jason which is further complicated by their surfacing insecurities. This is the second book in the Jason and Azazel series.

Trembling is a dark, young adult story that explores mature and controversial themes. The story picks up a few months after where the previous book ended. Jason and Azazel have developed a relationship that has turned into an obsession with each other. Their courtship was immersed in blood and violence. Now that the chaos has subsided they are struck by how little they actually know about each other.

Azazel's seductive ex-best friend seems intent on luring Jason away while Jason is jealous of how close Azazel has become to her new friend. It's a very dramatic story and manages to capture the emotional angst perfectly. It wasn't a comfortable read but it was engaging. I liked how complex Jason and Azazel's relationship has become especially with their violent lifestyle factored into it.

Character development was great. I especially liked how much Azazel has grown over the course of the series so far. Her psychological distress and paranoia felt authentic especially after everything that happened in the first book. She begins to realize that a relationship with Jason will require a lot from her while her doubts continually make her falter. I liked that the story forced her to make difficult decisions and that she chose such a dark course of action.

I liked that the religious order and satanic cult were further developed. It was interesting to learn more about them and how they influenced each other. I loved that the mystery surrounding Jason and Azazel keeps getting more intense and complicated. I enjoyed the irony of the revelation confirmed at the end and that there is an ambiguity surrounding both factions without one being clearly right or wrong.

Trembling is a dramatic and dark young adult story and I look forward to continuing the Jason and Azazel series.

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review 2014-12-05 19:01
Breathless
Breathless - V.J. Chambers

Azazel lives in a wholesome small town where the most exciting thing has been finding Jason. He's on the run from danger and Azazel wants to keep him safe with her family. She's determined to uncover the secrets that haunt him but soon finds that their lives are intertwined in a horrifying plot between a violent religious order and a satanic cult. This is the first book in the Jason And Azazel series.

Breathless is a dark, young adult story that explores mature and controversial themes. The narration is engaging with a genuine and unreserved voice that isn't often found in traditional young adult books. The characters are all wonderfully developed and the world building is fantastic.

The first part of the book has a slower pace focusing on high school life while building up a sense of foreboding and mystery. The second half of the book is a dramatic explosion of action, violence, and shocking revelations. 

I loved the amount of detail and research that went into the portrayal of the religious group and satanic cult. I liked that the initial focus was what their base values were before interweaving their lore, history, ideologies and structure. It was interesting to note overlapping similarities and I loved that there was an uncertainty about which one was in the right.

Breathless hints at an ominous future for the main characters and I look forward to reading the rest of the Jason and Azazel series.

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