Friday, December 21, 2012
SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW - "With Everything I Am" by Kristen Ashley
SUMMARY from Goodreads:
One night, Callum is driven into the woods by instinct, an instinct to protect… what, he does not know. Until he, in the form of wolf, meets a young, human child who he is instantly drawn to in a fierce way he doesn’t quite understand.
But in the end, she protects him. Then he finds this human child is his destined mate.
Sonia Arlington has lived a lonely life. She has certain abilities that make her strange and she has a rare disease that, if untreated, could kill her. Her mother and father are assassinated but before, her father makes her vow that she will never let others discover her abilities. This forces Sonia to stay distant from others, no family, no close friends and always guarding against exposure.
Then the intelligence leaks that Sonia is Callum’s human mate. He is now King of the Werewolves and therefore she becomes targeted by the wolves who have aligned with other immortals to enslave the human race. Callum has war on his hands and is forced to claim his mate and quickly integrate Sonia into a world that is strange and frightening to her.
As Sonia attempts to adjust, not entirely successfully, Callum attempts to cope with the knowledge that his mate is mortal. He will have her beauty and gentleness only the length of a mortal life and as werewolves only have one mate their entire lives, their union for him is unbearably bitter as well as unbelievably sweet.
Then he finds that due to her illness, her human life will be even shorter and he is forced to endure the increased bitter while doing everything he can to make Sonia’s short life incredibly sweet.
With Everything I Am is everything I want in a Kristen Ashley book. Good goodness, this book is an emotional powerhouse! It is not unexpected from a Kristen Ashley book, but a little more unexpected from a paranormal romance (PNR) novel.
It is Book 2 in the Three Series. I didn't know what to expect. I enjoyed Book 1, Until the Sun Falls from the Sky, but for some reason found the romance a little disconnected from the paranormal context. However, this book is fully integrated. It truly feels like a true paranormal romance - and all through the lens of Kristen Ashley.
The world-building is great and complex: Two worlds - humans and immortals. There is a civil war at hand amongst the immortals and Callum is right in the middle of it. There is a prophecy unfolding where Callum and his bride will join two others in determining the future of the immortals. But first, Callum must unite with his bride.
Sonia is the chosen bride. Sonia is suddenly dragged into this immortal world she didn't even know existed. You can feel her bewilderment, the uncertainty, her confusion as her world is turned upside down.
Being a fated lifemate may not all that it is cracked up to be. It strikes me that it is kinda like an arrange marriage, what if you never met that "lifemate" until it was time to mate? How do you know what is true and what is your misinterpretation? You don't know you mate well enough to have context for their actions. For Sonia it is heartbreaking and a constant internal battle:
Which meant that Sonia had to guard her heart with a growing ferocity that, the longer she did it, the more the bitterness built.
Callum is the fierce King having to learn to be gentle, sweet. We learn a lot from his point of view. He has low expectations and is taken by surprise by the "sweet" he feels for Sonia. He's practical, he's disciplined, he's kingly. He expected to fulfill his duty but he finds that she makes him "sweet":
Every day, I would wake up and think you were perfect and every night I'd go to sleep thinking, somehow, during the day, you got even more perfect. If I could have wished what I thought was my perfect mate on the wind and had her come back to me in a storm, I could never had come up with anything as exquisite as you.
I'm pretty sure that is one of the most romantic lines I've ever read from an alpha male. Makes me sigh everytime I read it. I sighed a lot during this book for Sonia's founded and unfounded fear of letting go, of being acknowledged and appreciated, of the misunderstanding between Sonia and Cullan, for his sense of justice and duty. Like I said, an emotional powerhouse.
IN A NUTSHELL: This one is soul-satisfying. I simply loved it.