Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: Vengeance by Michelle Madow

I really loved Remembrance by Michelle Madow, so yesterday when Vengeance was released picking it up right away didn't take a lot of decision making. I've been very eager to check this out since I found Chelsea interesting in Remembrance. I wondered if Michelle would succeed in walking the line between making us empathize with Chelsea while making her take action. I feel she did this admirably.

WARNING: Because this is a short story and the contents of the tale are so closely set together, the following review may have spoilers. If you are merely curious whether or not I liked the story and wish to remain spoiler free, please look at the General section. Thank you.

The Plot: (Summary from GoodReads)
When Chelsea Givens discovered that her ex-boyfriend Drew dumped her to be with her former best friend Lizzie, she'd never felt so betrayed in her life. Then her new friend Shannon tells her she can help set things right. Chelsea's willing to listen, but what Shannon wants her to believe -- that she shared a past life with Drew -- is impossible. And what she wants her to do to get him back … well, it's downright crazy.

Could Shannon be telling the truth? And if she is, what lengths will Chelsea go if it means making Lizzie pay?

Find out in Vengeance, the second part of the Transcend Time Saga.

*Vengeance is the short story that bridges the events in Remembrance and the final novel in the Saga.
The plot in Vengeance is quick, to the point and flawless in its execution. We get to see how the events of Remembrance have left Chelsea and after a quick entrance into her point of view we are immediately thrown into her tale. In short: Shannon may know a way that she can get Drew back. Chelsea is devastated about losing him, so she's up for pretty much everything.

I think that Michelle did a fantastic job showing us more about her reincarnation system. I also like how Shannon's aunt works differently from the man who helped Lizzie in the first book. I'm curious if Michelle made her magic up or if she did a bit of basic research into modern paganism. I liked the fact that the methods seemed relatively authentic, even though what this woman gets Chelsea to do breaks a key tenant of most modern magickal belief systems -- it will strip Drew of free will if it works.

I liked the fact that, despite the fact that Shannon is clearly not a great character, Michelle was able to get across how Chelsea views her current friendships, and how she still misses Lizzie and struggles between the friend she had and the betrayal she feels. This made the decisions she made during the story have weight and come across in a natural and interesting way.

The Characters:

I liked Chelsea, despite what this book has her doing. Do I still want Lizzie to end up with Drew? You bet! But I could certainly empathize with Chelsea's situation and understand what drew her to do what she did. (Hello, unwanted pun!) Her skepticism about magic and gradual willingness to believe in order to get what she wants, especially considering what she witnesses, made it hard to full hate her for what she is doing. I think it will be interesting to see how her actions will effect the next book.

I am very curious what the motives behind Shannon and her aunt's involvement are. Shannon was shown to be quite a pain in the first book and despite their "friendship" here, Chelsea does not seem to have forgotten or be neglecting this fact. Using magic to force someone to do something is pretty sinister so I wonder what's really going on here. Is the aunt doing this to get at Lizzie for some kind of past life issue, or is there something at stake in the present we don't know about? I am very curious, which is exactly what I should be right now.

There are going to be some of you who might be disappointed that there is no appearance from Lizzie in the book. I feel that this is for the best. It means that to our knowledge she will be entering the next story blind. We will not know whether or what Drew has told her and will be guessing about that. If Drew tells her that Chelsea is over he might be concerned she will be upset. But if he doesn't say anything, and what Chelsea does works ... There is going to be a lot of trouble up ahead.

The Romance:

This really does not apply here. We see that Chelsea wants Drew and that Drew is totally interested in Lizzie and definitely not interested. I wonder if he made a mistake speaking to Chelsea and whether that will effect the next book, though.

In General:

Be aware that Vengeance is not a full length novel. It's referenced as a 1.5 in the Transcending Time Saga for a reason. As long as you are aware of this going in, I think that fans of Remembrance are definitely in for a treat. Vengeance is an intriguing tale that enriches what has come before and lays groundwork for what may come in the future.

It also grants an intriguing look into Chelsea's situation, allowing us to see both sides of the story. As the stakes are drawn higher, the mystery of what all actually happened in the past is made more fascinating and the varying mechanics of Michelle Madow's take on reincarnation come further to light, I am confident in saying that I am anxious to see how this whole thing will conclude.

A memorable tale that does all of the things a bridging story should do, if you enjoyed Remembrance, Vengeance is an absolute must read.


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