Consume by Melissa Darnell

January 20, 2014 Reviews 1 ★★★★

Consume by Melissa DarnellConsume (The Clann #3) by Melissa Darnell
Published: 1st September 2013 by HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 372 pages
Genres: Paranormal
Source: Publisher
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4 Stars

These violent delights have violent ends, And in their triumph die, like fire and powder, Which, as they kiss, CONSUME. — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy — and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape.

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat — a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, as they run for their lives.

Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love — and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.

Consume marks the end of one of my favourite series, The Clann, and although I’m sad to see it go, I think it’s a good note to finish on and am looking forward to whatever Melissa cooks up next.

The strength of this novel, as with is predecessors, is the range and depth of the relationships between its characters. Most YA (that I’ve read) tends to be quite formulaic and focuses on Boy 1 in the first book, Boy 2 in the second, and the Choice between them in the third, which leaves very little room for a relationship to grow. I think this series is admirable because Tristan and Savannah don’t become embroiled in a love triangle, and instead their relationship evolves into Tristan having to figure out how to make nice with Savannah’s parents, Savannah getting to know Tristan’s sister, and the two of them realising that not everything is sunshine and rainbows and kisses. They have disagreements and learn how to overcome differences in their temperament, outlook and upbringing.

Another thing I enjoyed was that Tristan and Savannah aren’t at the centre of the conflict between the vampires and witches, although they are undeniably the catalyst that has sparked it after decades of tension. They spend most of the novel on the run, living in a trailer, which gets really boring for them and wears everyone’s patience thin. Coupled with the pregnancy of Tristan’s sister, Emily, which makes her absolutely unbearable to be around, and the distance between Savannah and both her parents, the confined space is horrible and leads to many problems. I like how the author chose to explore the relationships between all the characters in this way, because their conflicts seem natural and inevitable. Although it does mean there is a lot less action in the book, especially when considering that the vampires and witches are at war.

The story takes up immediately after Covet, with Savannah, her father, and her boyfriend Tristan hiding in the mountains while Tristan completes his transformation into a vampire. I think the plotting of the book is amazing right until the end, where I confess I thought that everything worked out just a little too well for it to be truly believable. It’s not that a lot didn’t happen, because it did, it’s just everybody basically got what they wanted, which got a little too sappy for me. Darnell’s writing style remains snappy and tight, and the story is well executed, but the ending could have been more realistic than what happened.

I’ve always admired how The Clann series is one of the few YA paranormal stories where the two protagonists are equally powerful, but in different ways. Consume gives us the conflict that has been hinted at since the first book, and ends off the series quite well, albeit a little unrealistically. While fans of Crave and Covet will want to round out Tristan and Savannah’s story, fans of the paranormal genre new to the series will enjoy how Darnell has changed up the usual tropes.

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