Entice by Carrie Jones, published by Bloomsbury in January 2011
Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever. But that's not quite how things have worked out.
For starters, well, Nick is dead. Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?
And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned. She's Astley's queen.
I was so excited to get an advance review copy of this book from Bloomsbury, who very kindly sent me this one. I'm such a massive Carrie Jones fan and I've been telling anyone who'll listen (and plenty of people who don't as well!) that they must read this series. I couldn't wait to pick it up and get stuck in but I also wanted to prolong the enjoyment of starting it. Finally, I had to cave in because the suspense was killing me!
Zara is now the Pixie Queen after being turned by Astley and she's having to cope with not only the reactions of her friends and family but also her own feelings about what she has become. She's made a monumental sacrifice to try and save her boyfriend Nick, but now she's not even sure if he'll want her anymore. He obviously dislikes pixies intensely and she worries that he'll be horrified by the fact that she is one. I love the way that although she's scared she still goes out there and not only kicks some pixie butt but also never gives up on finding a way to get Nick back. She's determined and brave and not afraid to do what she believes is right, even when people tell her otherwise.
My only disappointment with 'Entice' was that although the book is about Zara's hunt to find Nick, there is very little of Nick himself. I love his character so much and although Astley has definitely grown on me, there's only one true soulmate for Zara and that just has to be Nick! I'm hoping that book 4 will deliver all the Zara/Nick scenes that I'm craving. If they don't end up together then I'm going to be so disappointed!
Astley's character is definitely developed more throughout. He's protective and caring towards Zara and not only does she get to see another side to him, but we, as readers, also get to see the softer, more fragile, aspects of his personality. He's got serious mother issues too which come to the fore in the story and we learn about some of his backstory before meeting Zara which was interesting and intriguing.
Zara and Astley, with the help of Issie, Devyn and Cassidy, are looking for a way to Valhalla, where they hope to rescue Nick. Their journey unfolds throughout the book as they have to overcome a multitide of obstacles in their path. Zara never becomes defeated though and through her struggle to be reunited with Nick, she learns a lot about herself and her new responsibilities as the Pixie Queen.
Just like in 'Captivate' there are a lot of unexpected plot twists and I love the fact that I can never predict what's going to happen. I've given up trying to guess - I just sit back and enjoy the ride! Carrie Jones is an incredible writer. I love the world she's created and the characters that inhabit it and I'm going to be on tenterhooks waiting for the next installment. I hope she writes quickly!
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending this one.