11:00 am EDT, April 13, 2020

‘Crave’ book review: Meet your new vampire novel obsession

Vampires and romance and secrets, oh my! If you’ve been longing for a new vampire novel obsession to sink your teeth into (pun totally intended), look no further than Tracy Wolff’s Crave.

When Grace’s parents die in a tragic car crash, she leaves San Diego to live at the boarding school where her uncle is the principal and her cousin is a student.

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But little does she know that Katmere Academy is unlike any other school she’s attended or even heard of before. Katmere is a school for the paranormal and its halls are full of vampires, shape-shifters, and witches, among others.

Not only is Grace surrounded by figures from her wildest fantasies, but at least one of them is trying to kill her.

But it’s hard to focus on that when Jaxon Vega, a tortured vampire with a deadly secret, is around. He’s mysterious and dangerous, but there’s just something that draws Grace in and makes her want to get closer to him.

When everything comes to a head at the end of her first week at Katmere, Grace will have to figure out who she can trust, who she can love, and who she can’t.

As someone who loved Twilight when I first read it, I’ll say that while Crave satisfies the itch for a new vampire romance full of angst and mystery, it’s very much its own thing.

Yes, it features a teenage girl who immediately falls for the most popular and untouchable (and, frankly, dangerous) boy, and yes, there is a war going on between vampires and shapeshifters with mistrust running deep on both sides. But that’s just the story’s bare bones.

Crave knows how ridiculous a school of paranormal beings sounds, but instead of trying to normalize it, the book leans into the madness without hesitation.

Weird and life-threatening things constantly happen to Grace to the point where it’s almost comical, but Grace is very much in on the joke (as she thinks it’s all ridiculous as well).

In fact, this book takes place over a week or so of Grace’s life, and she’s put in mortal danger once per day on average.

If she were more of a blank canvas character like Twilight ’s Bella, the frequency of threats would get really old really quickly. But Grace isn’t Bella.

Grace holds her own in a way that positions her very much as the writer of her own story. Yes, crazy and insane things keep happening to her, but she picks herself up and never stops moving forward. She has her own agency and asserts it constantly.

In fact, her “insta-love” with Jaxon, the mysterious vampire she falls for within the first few chapters of Crave, is actually brought up several times. By Grace.

She knows in her rational mind that her love for Jaxon is too much too fast (and mentions that fact a few times), but she also acknowledges that she can’t help how she feels. That her feelings are valid and she wants to see where they lead her.

To be fair, it’s easy to see why she’s so drawn to Jaxon.

Jaxon Vega is quippy but brooding, cold but sensitive. The boy’s an expert at suppressing his own emotions because he thinks that that’s what he should be doing. That he doesn’t deserve to feel.

He’s both warmer and colder in personality than Edward, depending on what mood he’s in. I’d say a better comparison for Jaxon’s character is Buffy ’s Angel and Angel ’s Angel. He can be hesitant and forcefully push Grace away one minute (Buffy ’s Angel), or a completely lovable and corny flop the next (Angel ’s Angel).

Take Jaxon’s favorite music, for example. I’m not going to spoil exactly what it is because it’s such a great surprise, but I will say that his list of favorite songs includes a sappy 90s song from a band that you haven’t heard of in ages.

And the revelation made me laugh so hard and love him even more than I already did. It’s only a matter of time before he has a devoted fandom following, mark my words.

Independently, Grace and Jaxon are fascinating characters to follow and to get to know. Together, they make quite an interesting pair.

Though he’s a vampire, Grace is very much the instigator to the point where Jaxon feels almost shy. I won’t lie: There were a lot of times while reading Crave where I questioned whether or not they made for a good couple (or had the right chemistry).

But when they’re on the same level and able to be vulnerable and truthful to one another, they fit perfectly. I’m very eager to see how their relationship evolves and plays out over the course of the rest of the series.

Oh yes, have I mentioned that yet? Crave is the first book of this new series, so it had quite a bit of world-building and stage-setting to do.

Though the pacing was admittedly a bit uneven and some secrets felt like they were kept (mainly from Grace) for a bit too long, there’s a really solid story here that has a satisfying resolution, except for the cliffhanger that teases the revelations to come!

There are a lot of info dumps here as well as character dives, but there’s plenty of action, mystery, and secrets to counterbalance that work.

I honestly could not have enjoyed Crave more. This was, by far, one of the most entertaining and captivating stories I’ve read in a long, long while.

I really had a hard time putting it down, but whenever I wasn’t reading it, I found myself talking about the book to anyone and everyone who would listen. (I even got my roommate excited about it and she hasn’t even had a chance to crack it open yet!)

If you need any further evidence of how much you’ll enjoy this book, Universal picked up the film rights for Crave before it even hit bookshelves.

And let me tell you: I will absolutely be first in line (with my roommate being second) to see this on the big screen. I can’t wait.

The perfect blend of Twilight ’s angst and “Will they? Won’t they?” and Vampire Academy ’s sass and action, Crave by Tracy Wolff is truly the most entertaining and enjoyable novel you’ll read all year. It’ll be your new guilty pleasure and have you hooked in no time.

(And when it does, please come talk to me about it. I’ll be waiting.)

Crave by Tracy Wolff is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, or Indiebound. Also, don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads “to read” list!

Crave by Tracy Wolff

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