Life and death, light and dark, spirit and flesh-on Wormwood Island, the lines are always blurred. For Anne Merchant, who has been thrust back into this eerily secretive world, crossing the line seems inevitable, inescapable, destined. Now, as Ben finds himself battling for the Big V and Teddy reveals the celestial plan in which Anne is entwined, Anne must choose: embrace her darkly powerful connection to a woman known as Lilith and, in doing so, save the boy she loves…or follow a safer path that is sure to lead to Ben’s destruction at the hands of dark leaders. Hoping the ends will justify the means, Anne starts down the slippery slope into the underworld, intent on exploring the dark to find the light. But as the lure of Lilith proves powerfully strong, will Anne save others-only to lose herself?
Source: Publisher/BenBella Books and Purchase
My Rating: 5/5 stars
** SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE!!!! **
The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant is the second installment of The V Trilogy and unlike most second books in a trilogy, it does not slow down at all. The book opens with a very confused Anne being told by Teddy that she is not only going back to Cania Christy but she is going to have to help him take down not one but two leaders of the evil isle!! Shouldn’t be a problem given the cast of characters she has at her disposal. Here’s the crew:
Teddy: Huh? Who knew there were double agents where Heaven and Hell are concerned? As things stand, Teddy seems to be a fine actor and though he isn’t technically evil, he puts on a good show. Teddy is full of information and though he isn’t around much when he shows up, things get all kinds of interesting.
Hiltop/Mephistopheles: HA!! That creepy little bastard (what’s the word for a girl bastard?) is all kinds of demoted!! Turns out when one of Satan’s minions royally screws the pooch and gets outsmarted by a couple of kids, he loses all his power and followers but doesn’t get to leave the evil isle. Never fear, Hiltop is still on top of her/his game and just because the power and power base have been dramatically reduced doesn’t mean there aren’t plans within plans. Hiltop clearly has it out for Anne but on occasion she/he feels a bit generous and imparts some information.
Dia Voletto: Uugghh!! Talk about creepy wrapped in a pretty package. Dia is the new leader of Cania Christy and with him comes a whole new crew and nearly every one of them is smokin’ hot. Dia is seemingly clueless and only concerned with himself but he is actually quite clever. . . . sometimes. From the moment he lands on the island, Dia sets out to expand his territory and his influence. He launches construction on Cania College and within days of his arrival, pulls Anne into his madness. For a time, Anne is clueless about Dia’s interest in her but once she figures out how to manipulate him, Dia has no hope of survival.
Ben: Oh, Ben!! I’m not at all sure how I feel about Ben at this point. Sure, he loves Anne but then there’s that give it all up and accept my fate attitude that he has going on. I really want to like Ben, I do but when he gives up after everything Anne has gone through, it really pisses me off. Ben only gets truly interesting after Anne works her magic and literally forces him to suck it up and fight for his life. He does have a few endearing moments but for me, Ben had better square his sh*t away for the big finale!
Anne/Miss Saligia: Holy crap, are you kidding me? As if Anne’s life(ish!) weren’t hard enough already now she has to contend with the fact that she was once (still is!) a seriously powerful and seriously sexy devil with a tail. Oh, and she was Dia’s girlfriend. Really?? Once Anne gets something of a handle on her alternate identity and some information regarding Saligia, she begins to use it to her advantage. Within a few months, Anne and Teddy’s mission to overthrown the big bads is well under way and Anne has a serious number of followers. As her power base grows, so does Anne’s strength and confidence. With the help of a few trusted individuals and some serious badassery, Anne is on track to destroy all that Hiltop and Dia have built.
The Bottom Line: Joanna Wiebe just doesn’t follow the rules!! The second book in a trilogy is generally the slower paced, loads of backstory, get ready for the big finale book. (BTW: That is NOT a complaint from me. I love that crap :)) The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant is anything but and from the moment the book opens to the moment it ends, it is balls to the wall action. Anne is up to her butt in trouble, puzzles, mysteries and drama and if she doesn’t pull it together a lot of people are going to suffer as a result of her schemes. This is an incredibly twisty and turny book but Wiebe has done a fantastic job of leading the reader through each twist and turn with little to no difficulty. Just when you think you have everything figured out and all the players squared away, another twist or turn shows up to throw you off. I LOVED IT!! When you add the backstory of some of the characters and the hints about the third and final book in the trilogy, The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant comes in as a really fun and delightfully twisted read.