The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

17883441I’ve been behind on writing book reviews lately, hence why my review for The Forever Song is three weeks late. Initially, I had great difficulty writing this review,  but now that I have had time to digest this book, one thought stands out: The Forever Song was not memorable at all.

Spoilers for The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure to follow.

Though enjoyable to consume, the Blood of Eden series is forgettable and unremarkable. I say this with regret and disappointment, because there were some moments in the book that I hoped would help break the series through – in some instances, the novel contained original elements that would have ventured into underdeveloped territory in the YA-postapocalyptic genre. Unfortunately, Kagawa ultimately misses the mark in the end, and the silver linings were dulled by the story’s unoriginal, cliched direction. This is particularly true in The Forever Song.

Something that struck me whilst reading this was how, for a novel that starts off trying to find its identity within a landscape of overused narratives, this book was reduced from a narrative about finding yourself, contemplating your nature, and finding a purpose despite, to a simplistic, shallow romance that lacks any depth or authenticity. Allie’s character development was forsaken for Zeke’s ‘character development’ – and, to be clear, the quotation marks are there because there wasn’t any. Zeke’s character development was as hollow as the husk he felt like and became in The Forever Song. Character-wise, this book was a mess.

As I stated in my review for The Immortal Rules, I took issue with how Kagawa depicted ‘human’ and ‘vampire’ as very distinct dichotomous categories of existence. Human is empathetic, kind, and compassionate, whereas vampire is bloodlust, savage, and heartless. My hope was that The Forever Song would resolve this moral antithesis.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

Allison’s experiences do not challenge these innate assumptions of what is human or what is vampire. There was no deep, thoughtful exploration of what either meant. Frankly, Allison’s decision to ‘accept my nature and be as human as I can be’ was not satisfying for me; such a resolution is finite and undermined potential character development. There was so much potential for analysis and character introspection, but Kagawa shackled her characters by confining them to simplistic boxes and settling for a conclusion that did not challenge human/vampire nature. As Rosa Luxemburg said, ‘Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.’

After all of this, then consider that this is completely overshadowed by Zeke and Allison’s romance. I withheld my criticisms of Zeke and Allison’s romance because I hoped that the climax of the series would convince me that they were in love, and that they were meant to be together. However, their romance was anaemic and boring. I just could not care for it, couldn’t bring myself to, and was really disappointed that such a poorly-written ‘romance’ was capable of invalidating growth and development from the first two books.

There were times when Kagawa showed the reader that she was conscious of Allison’s flaws and superfluous angst – namely, when Jackal brazenly reprimands Allison for being weak and indecisive. It would then make sense to steer Allison towards a path of self-growth, but instead she continues being obtuse with poor priorities that contradict her personality. It is nonsensical (and frustrating) when moments of self-awareness are followed by a blatant disregard of that awareness.

So, for a book that focused on a romance that bolstered character regression, it attenuated the opportunity for Blood of Eden to be something more than a series about eternal, angsty love. There were moments when the novel was enjoyable – namely, a character named Jackal, also known as the one true saving grace of the series, who had more sense and wit than everyone in the entourage had combined.

All in all, a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise decent series.

Rating: 1.5/5

Book Information
Book Name: The Forever Song
Book Series: Blood of Eden #3
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

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