Anathema by K. A. Tucker
Series: The Casual Enchantment #1
Published by Papoti Books on 25 May 2011
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal
Source: Kindle Purchase
Reading Challenges: 2016 HW Challenge
Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.
When Evangeline meets Sophie after literally stumbling upon her café, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.
With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities... like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.
In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed.
Anathema is very different from the stories I had already read by Tucker, and while her paranormal story is a bit different, I found the main character, Evangeline, to be very naïve and too trusting.
Now, I feel the need to say that Anathema was published five years ago, and I think it’s among Tucker’s first book. And I might have enjoyed her take on vampires and witches more if I had read it when it was first released rather than now. The reason for that is all on me – I have read a lot of inventive and original paranormal series, so I am possible a bit blasé when it comes to stories like this one. That being said, the writing is really good, and the pace is, too. I think it was really Evangeline and her trusting personality that got to me. I found myself shaking my head at her and asking her to please think a bit more for herself more than once. Especially because within 24 hours of meeting Sofie, she went across the country with her, only to have a lot of strange things happen as soon as they left for New York.
You know that saying ‘if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is’? That’s how I felt about what happened to Evangeline. Being offered a job after breaking something, then going on a private plane to New York, and being set up in a luxurious villa on fifth avenue, plus getting a bag full of thousand dollar bills so she could go shopping… definitely too good to be true! And it took a while for Evangeline to question Sofie, Viggo and Mortimer, which made her seem borderline stupid! Why was she in this house? She did’t do any work, and yet, she didn’t act like it was strange that she was set up with beautiful clothes, anything she wanted to eat, and being taken to see Romeo and Juliet in a theater at night.
I did enjoy some aspects of Anathema, though, especially the fact that vampires here couldn’t turn humans anymore after a spell gone wrong. And so, a counterspell had been casted in order to find vampires on another plane – ones who still had their venom intact. Some of the interactions Evangeline had with these other vampires were great, she showed that she had a sense of adventure, even if she didn’t have much of a sense of self-preservation. There is also a big case of insta-love, and while I can get the ‘beautiful, strong, brooding vampire’-thing, I don’t think it furthered the story that Evangeline became so infatuated with Caleb after meeting him only once.
Because how the ending, I’ll definitely continue reading the series, even if I wasn’t completely enchanted, I’m hoping that Evangeline will grow as a character and that she will become a bit more perceptive when it comes to the people she’s with. Written in first person point of view, past tense and with plenty of dialogues, the pace was well done, and the whole story unfolded from Evangeline’s point of view.
The three of them, fawning over me, a socially awkward stranger with no friends, giving me gifts and kindness… I should have known something was not right. I sighed. I wasn’t Nancy Drew – not unless Nancy Drew was blind and deaf.
“As long as there are no more lurking animals, I’m feeling pretty fragile right now.” Fragile, but unbroken, somehow – though by all counts I should have fallen apart. Any normal person would have by now, wouldn’t they?”