Thursday, 5 April 2012

Crave by Melissa Darnell **Review** [Blog tour stop: Q & A with the author]

Crave by Melissa Darnell
Series: The Clann #1
Pages: 416
Publisher: Mira Ink
Release date: 6th April 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones
Thanks to Mira Ink for my copy of the book :)

Back-of-the-book synopsis:
Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden secrets. 

Savannah Colbert is back at Taylorsville High after a life-threatening illness, feeling more like a freak than ever. People are looking at her differently, starting and giggling. Except golden boy Tristan Coleman, who suddenly can't keep away. Savannah's falling under his spell.

But the mysterious Clann, a group of witches with unknowable power and an unbreakable bond to Tristan, are watching. 

Star-crossed by history, Savannah and Tristan have been forbidden since birth. Their love could endanger everyone and everything they know. But the craving has started and can't be denied...

Any reader's first impression of a book is usually an important one, and this book makes a great first impression. The cover is definitely worth mentioning - the UK cover (which can be seen at the top of this post), is beautiful. It has the right mixture of darkness - which matches the sometimes haunting and dark atmosphere of the book - and colour (the red being both beautiful, and of course, symbolic of what is to come). The synopsis is obviously the main thing that sets a first impression in the reader's mind - if this doesn't grab your attention, then you won't be grabbed by the rest of the book - because you won't get that far, right? But the synopsis was definitely enough to get me interested. I've really gotten into my Witchy fantasy novels at the moment, so this was like satisfying my own craving when it arrived, and I knew I could start reading.

This is where reviewing the book gets more difficult. I've had trouble attempting to assign the book a star rating, but I will say that it is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, so I think we'll put it at a 3.5, so we know where we stand.
The story is a really interesting one, and I really enjoyed learning about the two different, Paranormal worlds that are presented to us throughout the course of the novel - and I look forward to learning more about them  as the trilogy develops further. I don't want to say too much about the story line, or the premise of the novel, because I don't want to give anything away, but I really liked the idea of Savannah's heritage, and the struggles between the two different powers inside her, and the problems that these are already, and will continue to cause her.
I'll be really interested to see how her relationship with Tristan changes as the trilogy continues as well. There  are inevitably problems between the two of them - they are already in a kind of Romeo and Juliet situation (being star-crossed lovers, and all of that) - but to top it off, Savannah may be more dangerous than she first appears. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this will change the way their relationship works - I doubt it will keep them apart for long, despite everything they've been through!
I do wish though, that this relationship had started earlier on in the book, instead of the characters side-stepping one another for so long - some of that is fine, but after a while it gets tedious.

There were a couple of things that irritated me about the novel though, and made it a little difficult to get through at times. The first of these things is the lesser evil, and that would be the convenience and almost predictability of everything that happened between Savannah and Tristan. The story is told from both of their points of view, switching between them often, and when this switch happened, I could become irritated. This is going to be fairly difficult to explain, but I shall do my best to help you understand.
The thoughts of one character, even though they hadn't directly communicated with each other (so this is particularly in the first half of the novel), were too similar to make it seem real. We'd learn what Savannah was thinking about, and then we'd switch to Tristan's point of view, who would seem to know how she was feeling. Some of it was just too convenient, and the character's voices, at these times, didn't ring true to me. This is where I found the story difficult to get along with.
The greater annoyance for me was (again, without giving much away) when Savannah described having to avoid eye-contact with everyone - especially boys - for months at a time. This just isn't possible. I know it's a fantasy novel, but some things still have to ring true, and this just didn't - you would make eye-contact with someone eventually, just out of habit. Everyone makes eye-contact, whether they mean to or not. It's natural. So this bit really annoyed me. Thankfully it didn't last for the entire length of the novel, and I was able to enjoy the excitement at the end.

The ending was definitely worth pushing through for, though. The final 50/60 pages were especially gripping and exciting, and although the end of the novel didn't quite end as I'd hoped it would, I'm really intrigued to see what happens next.
So I would definitely want to read the next book in the series - especially as I've been informed by the publishers that Melissa's writing becomes a lot more refined over the next two books.
I would give this book a 3.5 bookerfly rating, and would recommend it to fans of YA and fantasy.

And now for more excitement!
As part of the Mira Ink blog tour for Crave, I got to ask Melissa any five questions I wanted, either about her, or about the series - which is super exciting!
So before I start rambling on about it, I shall just introduce you to her!

Melissa Darnell is the debut author of Crave, the first book in the exciting Clann trilogy, but has been honing her craft since the third grade.
She is also a freelance editor, layout and cover designer, and eBook formatter, with over 75 books to her professional name.
Not only is she all of these things, but at one stage, she was also an award-winning dancer, being formally trained in Jazz, Tap and Ballet!

Crave is her first novel, and will be released on April 6th in the UK.

When you started writing Crave, had you already decided how the entire trilogy was going to end, or did it just come about as you were writing the other books?The ending for the trilogy came as I was writing the other books.  I plot each book out after writing the previous one because things change as I go, which then affects the next book.  You have to stay flexible as a writer because you never know how things might deviate from your original plans.

Where did the idea for the books come from?When the YA vampire craze started to take off, as a long time lover of vamp romances I was thrilled but felt the genre was really missing something...namely a vampire heroine.  Why should the boys get all the fun here?!  But I wanted to see her start off as a normal, clueless human and then have to experience this crazy transformation process as well as learn how to deal with the final result of becoming a vampire. 

I also wanted a real Romeo and Juliet forbidden kind of love, one where both the hero and heroine were equally powerful, equally interesting in a paranormal way, and equally dangerous to each other so the forbidden aspect of their love would have a huge rippling effect not just on each other but on their worlds as well.  When I considered what kind of hero could possibly be as strong and powerful as a vamp, the answer seemed natural...a male witch.

You not only tell the story from Savannah's point of view, but also from Tristan's. Was his voice more difficult to write than hers?My struggle in writing Tristan's point of view was keeping him likeable, which means striking a balance between his sounding "too authentically male" vs. sounding wimpy or girly.  Tristan is a guy's guy.  He loves the girls, but having never been in love with anyone except Savannah, he doesn't know how to really see other girls for the individual people that they are, at first.  It doesn't help that he's just a tad bit spoiled, getting whatever, and whomever, he wants before Savannah.  So his growth comes from this love story.  Savannah and the Clann don't make it easy for him at any point.  His love for her drives him to want more from their relationship (in a nonphysical way) than circumstances and descendant rules allow.  They're not supposed to even be friends, and he fights to get this back.  They're not supposed to date, and he has to struggle to convince her to break this rule.  He wants to date her publicly, but she won't risk their relationship being discovered.  With every other girl, so much of this is so easy to achieve that he just takes it all for granted.  With Savannah, the constant struggle combined with his genuine and undeniable feelings for her, make him rethink and really treasure what they have.  And that's a reflection of real life for the rest of us too.  Sometimes it takes conflict and opposition and struggle to shake us up, to make us wake up from the stupor of the every day routine and reevaluate the true blessings we already have.  Everyone hates their job...until they no longer have one.  You may hate the flooring in your house or that leaky, dripping faucet...until you no longer have a house to call your own.  And that's what Tristan has to go through with Savannah.  She is his wake up call that makes him see his life through fresh eyes and question the very foundation of that life...his family's expectations for him, the Clann's rules that define and create boundaries that direct the flow of his existence, and even his own goals for his future.

How would you react if two members of your family told you that you were anything but human?Pretty much like Savannah probably.  At first I would think they were just playing a prank on me, until I thought it through and realized my family has never been a bunch of pranksters.  All families hold their own dark secrets and drama; it's the inevitability of being human and having all these familial connections with each other.  In large measure, keeping family secrets is about protection, trying to protect your loved ones or yourself from the scrutiny and judgement of outsiders.  But sometimes this also results in keeping secrets from the younger members of that family until you feel they're old enough to be able to handle that knowledge as well as join the other keepers in protecting that secret from outsiders.  Learning those family secrets can even be its own kind of rite of passage of growing up.  The test then becomes how you choose to react to that discovery about your loved ones, and possibly even your own self, that you never knew or even guessed at before.  This is what Savannah goes through in Crave, and it's a real struggle for her to not only learn how to deal with her developing abilities, but also how to adjust to the fact that her family had to keep such huge secrets from her until she needed to know them.  Many would assume that she would react with anger, resentment, or rebelliousness, or maybe even become depressed or introverted.  And maybe there are elements of all of that underlying Savannah's choices.  But the greater driving force in Savannah is this kind of heroic resilience that too often people who don't understand assume is "being a doormat".  Too many people think you've got to go postal on your enemies in order to be heroic.  But the truth is...that's too easy.  It's too easy to lose control of your emotions, to scream and shout and throw things, to seek revenge, in short to sink down to the level of the people who bully or attack you.  Savannah doesn't do that.  She's the true hero, with a whole different kind of strength.  Think of people like Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. who espouted peace over violence even while standing up to your persecutors.  A lot of people think it's weak to turn your cheek and not react when someone either literally or verbally slaps you, that you should slap them back or something.  I say to them, "Try it."  It's far harder not to return violence with violence.  It takes a huge amount of self control and inner strength to rise above your attackers, and it's so easy to let them pull you down into becoming someone filled with anger and hatred just like them.  The key is to keep your sense of separateness, to realize that even as you don't return the violence or hatred, you also can't let your self esteem be affected either.  Because if you let them make you feel bad, then they've still won.  You have to hold yourself separate from them, to realize that their issues don't have to become yours, that they are the ones who have the problem, not you, and their problems will follow them everwhere they go for the rest of their days if they don't change.  You be you, let them be them, and stay focused on what you want out of your life, not what they want for you.  That's how you win.  And your success and achievements in life become the single best revenge of all.

Out of all of your characters, who is your favourite, and who would you most like to be friends with?I love all my "good" characters, because they represent real people I know or wish I could be like.  Anne is based on my real high school best friend, so I'd probably most want to be friends with her.

So, I will end this post by letting you all know that Melissa loves to hear from her readers, so if you do want to contact her, ask her some questions, or just chat, you can do so through either of her websites ( or This is also where you can learn more about The Clann, Savannah's race of Vampires, listen to the playlist for each Clann series book (as they are released), and much, much more!


kimba88 said...

Great review and interview. I have this in my tbr pile, i am glad you said to push through and that the last part was awesome.

Nancy Allen said...

Loved the review and interview. I have added crave to my TBR list. Love vampires. See you on the tour.

C.M.Brown said...

Great review! I will be adding Crave to my TBR list!


Christina said...

It's too bad this was a little disappointing for you! And, I agree that it seems improbably for her to not make eye contact, especially if it's not something she's always done.

Vivienne said...

I enjoyed this one. I liked the ending too, which I know quite a few bloggers didn't like.

Mist@BookaholicsBookClub said...

Great review and interview :) I haven't decided yet if I'm going to read the next book, will see how I feel when it comes around lol

Christina Fiorelli said...

I really liked this book! I liked the unique lore and the characters:)

Thanks for the interview:)

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I've had this one on my wishlist since I first saw the cover and read the blurb.

Eli Yanti said...

when you said that this is same with romeo and juliet which i love this story, i think i have to read this one :)

Disincentive said...

I totally want to read it! It seems pretty average but I have big weakness to judge book by its cover... And it's lovely.

Disincentive @ (read, watch, listen) - reviews

Book Passion for Life said...

Yay, it's nice to see you enjoyed it in the end hun! Donna xoxo

Megan said...

The eye contact thing is pretty weird. I know some people rarely make eye contact, but I'm sure they'll glance into your eyes for a split second before looking away.

April Hays said...

thanks for the honest review...the cover is beautiful....I think will still read this one and give a chance, because sometimes the story does get better in the second I will give it a go.

Jaime Lester said...

I have this book on hold at the library, and I can't wait to pick it up. I really hope that I at least enjoy the book, but I will be happy to finally see that cover in person. It stands out in a big way on a computer screen, I can imagine it is even better in person. Thanks for a great review, and letting me know what to expect so I don't have my hopes set too high!

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