Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Because It Is My Blood
Series: Birthright Series
Book #: Two
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
Format: ARC

Add on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Author's Website

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.

But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before. (taken from goodreads.com)
I adored All These Things I've Done, the first book in this series. Zevin created a world of strategy and gang politics that drew me in completely. The loose ends (mostly Win) had me dying for a sequel. While the cover for Because It Is My Blood disappointed me, the story claimed my attention from the first page onward.

Anya is an incredible character. I'd forgotten how utterly awesome this protagonist is. She's headstrong, brave, self-sacrificing, everything I admire in a lead character. Her love for her family and friends is evident as she takes great lengths to protect them from her corrupt family and ruthless enemies. As politicians and mobsters attempt to manipulate her, Anya displays a knack for reading people and situations that saves her life countless times. Despite her young age, she's seen more than many adults have, and she struggles to bear the burden of the Balachine legacy. I pitied and respected her, even when I didn't agree with her decisions.

Zevin tones down the romance quite a bit in this second book. Instead, she focuses more on Anya's family politics. While I missed the adorable Win, it was interesting to watch Anya become more deeply involved with the chocolate black market. Who can she truly trust in a family of criminals? Who is trying to protect her and who is trying to manipulate her?

The one thing I disliked about this sequel was the ending. I can't even put my thumb on what I disliked. Something about Anya's final decision just rubbed me wrong. I can't see how it will play out well in the following book. However, I am still looking forward to more tales of the Balachines. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that we'll see a little more romance between Anya and Win.

Once again, Zevin has impressed me with her ability to combine organized crime with a futuristic Manhattan. Because It Is My Blood resolves many of the unanswered questions from the first book while delving deeper into Anya's world of mistrust. It's definitely a must read for lovers of the first book. Congrats to Zevin for a successful sequel! 
Rating: 4 Stars