Jealousy by Lili St. Crow

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Jealousy by Lili St. CrowJealousy by Lili St. Crow

Series: Strange Angels #3

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dru Anderson might finally be safe. She’s at the largest Schola on the continent, and beginning to learn what it means to be svetocha—half vampire, half human, and all deadly. If she survives her training, she will be able to take her place in the Order, holding back the vampires and protecting the oblivious normal people.

But a web of lies and betrayals is still closing around her, just when she thinks she can relax a little. Her mentor Christophe is missing, her almost-boyfriend is acting weird, and the bodyguards she’s been assigned seem to know much more than they should. And then there’s the vampire attacks, the strange nightly visits, and the looks everyone keeps giving her. As if she should know something.

Or as if she’s in danger.

Someone high up in the Order is a traitor. They want Dru dead—but first, they want to know what she remembers of the night her mother died. Dru doesn’t want to remember, but it looks like she might have to—especially since once Christophe returns, he’ll be on trial for his life, and the only person who can save him is Dru.

The problem is, once she remembers everything, she may not want to…

Wow.

I am continually floored by this series. I only have 2 books left, and I’m anticipating adding all five of these books to my “favorite series” shelf. I mean… I don’t know how St. Crow does it. At every opportunity I am presented with to detest this series, it sneaks up on me and makes me fall in love with it. I honestly don’t know how!

The most compelling exhibit which fortifies that stance stands: Exhibit A: The Love Triangle. It’s safe to say it finally formulated, on a molecular level, in this installment of the series. Although, I do hesitate to condemn it right off the bat. Going into Strange Angels (book one), I had no idea that either Graves or Christophe were supposed to be considered rivaling love interests, and honestly when I thought of it in that manner, the whole precept kind of fell apart for me because, clearly, Dru didn’t see it that way, either. In Betrayals (book two), I really got comfortable with the idea of Graves and Dru being together, same as she did. To her, Graves was, well, comfort, and he was the part of her that she needed to grow into on the side of her father’s world, when she had to learn to stand on her own two feet without the crutches of her parents or Gran anymore. Graves was a foothold in that life, and he helped her through the tough parts. They helped each other. They were growing up together. Now, here, in Jealousy, Christophe returns in a big way. SPOILER » And at a remarkably advantageous time to his cause, what with Graves having recently left Dru in every way. I find he kind of represents a reversion in Dru to the young girl that relied on her father to right everything in the nick of time, to always have a plan, where she needed only to assist in the big stuff and trust that everything would be okay. (Christophe steps into the role of a father figure, in a way, I guess?)

I must say that the reason I am paying so much attention to the development of this situation can be accredited to The Hunger Games because I watched a perfectly platonic relationship between two really good friends (Katniss and Gale) devolve into sloppy secondhand insta-love at the drop of a Peeta-shaped hat. There was no reason for the conflict of interest there! Katniss didn’t care romantically for either party, and it really only seemed like Peeta loved her at all, and then that was taken away, too, so the whole institution of “Team Gale” or “Team Peeta” for Katniss took on a cumbersome, awkward weight for the rest of the series (and, effectively, the rest of the war). And that’s what love triangles are in Young Adult books lately–limp-dick cop-outs that are merely included because it seems as if there’s a requirement to be.

But in Jealousy, the situation that emerges between them is real, and Dru is going to have to confront it sooner or later (which actually is where I currently worry because there are only two books left and it took 3 books to even get to this point… I can just imagine the fallout from that particular nuclear splosion will be crammed to the brim with drama).

Moving on to Exhibit B why I technically should hate this series but don’t: The Pace. St. Crow really knows how to take her time when telling a story. For three whole books, I’ve been bored to tears for the first like 5-10 chapters because things “happen,” but “nothing” really “happens.” Then “something happens!!!” for a while… then it’s back to things kinda “happening” without “anything” actually “happenin’.” Until the last half when “all kinds of shit happens,” leading up to “Something Happening,” and then a big, fat heap of “It’s happened. It’s done happening. But there’s more that needs to Happen.” St. Crow has a way of stringing together a series of events interwoven with bits of red thread that don’t get tied up in that book. It may trail off in the next, but in the process of answering that last thread, 5 others have sprang up at different points of that one red thread, so now there’s a blue thread, a green thread, a purple thread, a gold thread and a black thread branching off a single red thread that came up in the middle of the spool of Strange Angels or Betrayals. And I’m a sucker for it. (No pun intended.)

Exhibit C: The Different Aspects (that would get exploited in 10 different ways in any given fanfic where there any). Another thing I’m a sucker for. I first noticed this type of elemental depth when I discovered Weiß Kreuz. (FAVORITE THING EVER IN LIFE OMG AHHH!) I actually had never read or watched this series before I started reading the fanfics. I read so many fanfics on this thing that I pieced together the entire series (even the lesser-known, hard-to-track-down spin-offs and origin tales, etc.) just from hours spent reading others’ spin on it. And the areas of focus were so varied for every one of them! There were so many options: (1) the individual main characters’ backstories, (2) the dark side of the missions/assassinations, (3) the organization they worked for, (4) their rivals, Schwartz, (5) the fun side of the missions/assassinations, (6) the cover-up of the Koneko, a flower shop, (7) the torture and mental anguish, (8) the silly situations they wound up in just due to the fact that there are 4 dudes running a flower shop, (???), (PROFIT!!!). The list goes on. And I could enumerate in the same manner the various aspects of the Strange Angels series. (1) The period of Dru’s life where she had both parents, (2) the period she shared with Gran, (3) with Dad and, sometimes, August, (4) with Graves, (5) at the reform schola, etc., (6) Dru coming into her own with the Touch, (7) her “aspect,” Gran’s owl, (8) human methods of combating the Real World, i.e. hexes, washing the floors with herbs and oils, (9) Christophe and Elizabeth’s history, (10) with Anna; I mean, the list goes on, right? There’s a really heavy focus right now on Dru’s life in the prima schola, but something tells me that’s about to change.

And, I think, last but not least, Exhibit D: THE WRITING OMG!! I don’t know why I don’t like it! If I had a physical copy of these books, my reviews (at least, this one) would be positively beset with quote after quote after quote. Dru’s thoughts paired with St. Crow’s writing style just mesh really well even though I know, in my head, flowery curlicues like “I don’t know how I ever thought those eyes were cold. They were blowtorch blue, and they could burn anything they touched” (NOT SIC) should grate against my nerves. It just… doesn’t. And I’m okay with that. I actually rather appreciate it. I’ve grown to like it. Because St. Crow knows how to garnish with her gilded filigrees. She gets carried away sometimes, but not in a superfluous way, and not all the time. It’s tasteful and colorful, like a handful of cilantro thrown into the mix of an otherwise palatable meal. YUM!

Sooooo I think I went a little overboard on the praise, but I can’t help it. I love this series. I’m still not sure of what to expect from the next two. I’ve been wary of these books from the get-go, and I’ve also been blown away each and every time, so I won’t jinx it now by expecting any different, but… Well, a boy can dream.

Love is whatever you can still betray.

P.S. Who the fuck is that on the cover? Scratch that, I don’t care; this whole series (maybe minus Strange Angels) needs new covers made. They make them seem like contemporary romance novels, and that’s about as far away from what’s goin on inside as they can all get! Really! EYEROLL!

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