Book Review: Vanish, by Sophie Jordan

September 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm (Book Reviews) (, , , , )

NOTE: This is the sequel to Firelight, so what’s below will contain spoilers for the first book. If you haven’t read that one, you’ll probably want to skip what’s below.

To save Will’s life, Jacinda did the unthinkable. Now, with her secret exposed before a family of hunters, she has no choice but to accompany Cassian back to the pride, along with her mother and sister, but for Tamra, a perpeptual outcast among the draki for never having manifested, homecoming isn’t the hardship they all expect it to be. For Jacinda and her mother, it’s pure hell.
Jacinda knows her only choice is to let Will go, to trust that the magic of draki shading has wiped her completely from his memory. She knows that- but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
And danger didn’t stop at the pride’s boundaries.

Vanish picks up right where Firelight left off, with Jacinda in a LOT of trouble. It’s not that she regrets her choice, precisely- it saved Will’s life- but there are a lot of consequences that won’t be so easy to run away from. When she left the pride, she was on the verge of having her wings clipped. Their secret should be safe, thanks to the draki magic of shading, which wipes human memories among other things, but it still means returning to the pride after they snuck out. However worthless Tamra and their mother are considered to be by draki terms, Jacinda is still the pride’s only fire-breather.

But- perhaps as a stress reaction, perhaps something more- the impossible has happened, and Tamra has finally manifested: into a shader, equally valuable and equally rare. Suddenly she can be a part of things, a part of the pride, in a way she never could before. And she finally has a chance at Cassian.

This book looks a great deal at consequences and how incredibly difficult they can be to take. It isn’t just Jacinda who has to deal with those consequences, though, and we get to see how they ripple out to the others. We get to see Az- love Az!- and how much she’s missed her best friend, but we also see how she’s changed to work around the hole of Jacinda’s absence. We see what coming back does to Jacinda and Tamra’s mother- and it’s terrible. And incredibly realistic. It breaks my heart to watch but at the same time it’s so right that I can’t imagine it any other way. We see how lost Jacinda is amidst this familiar world, where everything is the same but everything’s different at the same time.

And we see Cassian.

I wish we saw more of Cassian. He is such a complicated character and I really wish I was able to know more about him. I get that we’re limited by Jacinda’s perspective, trust me I do, but still… WANTS. I want to know more of what motivates him. Why does he love Jacinda? Why not Tamra? Why does he go after her, why is he willing to wait for her, why is he so sure of his feelings for her? And why does she mean so much that he’ll go up against his father for her? Cassian is an interesting, compelling, multi-faceted character and I want to know him so much better.

I’d also love to know more about Will, which sounds strange given the first book, but we get Jacinda’s very visceral response to him. Gut reactions are strong and they can be deep, but I want to know more about him, like what it’s like to grow up amidst the hunters- like what else changed because of his father’s choice of cure. I especially want to know about his grandmother.

I love the variety of draki that we get to see, and love that each type serves a very specific purpose. That these talents affect their lives is clear, but they also affect their personalities and appearance. It makes you think: if Jacinda weren’t a fire-breather, would she be half so hot-tempered and impulsive? We might have a very different story then, which is so much fun to consider.

Most of all I love that nothing’s easy. Coming back to the pride isn’t sunshine and roses for anyone, but I really like that it’s just as dangerous there as in the broader world. People are people, whether they’re human or draki, so they’re still prey to the fallacies of mankind. There are still power-hungry, abusive dictators, there are still possessive creeps, there are still snide superior douchebags convinved they always have the right of things…and there are still those who can’t forgive, those who buckle under grief, and those who try desperately not to be victims.

I think what I hated about it was that it ended too soon. Did it end in exactly the right place to set up the next book? Yes. If it had gone on, it would have had to either dither around without committing or it would have committed and then cut off abruptly or been three times the length of the first one. But I wanted more! Especially given [spoiler redacted] and [spoiler redacted].

Vanish by Sophie Jordan, out in stores now!

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1 Comment

  1. Terry Lynn Johnson said,

    ooh, I bought this as soon as it came out, but haven’t read it yet. I did love the first one. thanks for your review.

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