Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Audiobook Review: "Because It Is My Blood" by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: Because It Is My Blood
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners, 2012 (print available from Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin

In book two of Gabrielle Zevin's Birthright series, we pick up Anya Balanchine's story after she is released from her summer incarceration at Liberty prison. This second installment had all the excitement and action of the first, as well as some great twists, but toward the end it fell victim to second-book syndrome.

Because of her prison time, Anya finds that not many schools will allow her to enroll with her checkered past. Eventually she finds herself in a situation she never envisioned herself in—she is sent to a different country, one where cacao is legal, to learn about how it is grown. But the longer she stays abroad, the more heated things get at home, until she must return to the life she has been condemned to live.

We come back into Zevin's futuristic America where chocolate and coffee are illegal and organized crime revolves around these two substances. I was struck by how much cacao's existence in this world mirrors marijuana's existence in ours, and I think that was what Zevin was aiming for, especially with some of the questions on the ballot in this upcoming election. It's an interesting parallel and does indeed make you think about illegal substances in our society, regardless of whether you believe they should be illegal or not.

The change of setting was welcome for me, as I'm not a huge fan of NYC anyway. Plus the new cast of characters that comes with the change of place is wonderful. Theo is my favorite character in the entire series so far now—love him. I'm interested to see where the next book will take us as far as the relationships between characters. Who will become allies, who will become enemies? It's pretty clear that Zevin has set up for something big in the next book.

That said, because of all the setup, the action tapered by the last pages of the book. We know something series shiz is about to go down, as Anya pretty much tells us so, but we are left with a short argument between Anya and another family member and then that's pretty much the end. Luckily the beginning and middle were gripping and full of action.

Ilyana Kadushin, as always, does an excellent job narrating Anya's story. Though her voices for other character's aren't always the most distinct, it doesn't really matter because Anya is the one telling it. Her narration is measured and calm, just what is needed for Anya.

I'm mostly looking forward to the next book in the Bloodright series, though I am also pretty apprehensive. I'm not a huge fan of violence, and I have the feeling there is going to be a lot in the next book.

Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read the first book yet, but this series sounds really great, so I might have to make sure to read it later this year. Hope you'll like the second book, too, once you get to read it. (Although I already hate the sound of a couple breaking up and moving on, even though I've never read about them. :D)


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