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Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: I Am Forever by Wynne Channing

I Am Forever (What Kills Me #2) by Wynne Channing
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Expected Publishing Date: January 31, 2014
Publisher: Jet & Jack Press

Introducing I Am Forever, the highly-anticipated sequel to Wynne Channing's best-selling debut novel What Kills Me.

Axelia fought an army of vampires and survived. Once fated as the destroyer of the vampire race, she is now welcomed into the immortal empire and revered as a god.

But instead of relishing her victory, she faces a dangerous new world and an empire at war. Axelia is thrust into the position of supreme vampire and caught in the crossfire of battle. To make matters worse, her role alienates Lucas, the one vampire that she trusts.

Her choices have brutal consequences and her power spawns evil enemies. And they know how to get to her — by hurting those whom she loves most.

Bestselling author Wynne Channing's highly-anticipated sequel to What Kills Me is another heart-pounding thrill ride filled with stunning twists, tragic betrayal and bloody action.

I Am Forever is the second book in the What Kills Me series by Wynne Channing. All the fast paced action that kept me so engaged in the first book continued right on into the second book. I got mad at Zee quite a bit in this one though. I think she let things go to her head a little too much which surprised me. I thought she'd be more sensible than that. Lucas, on the other hand, has a good head on his shoulders. I really like how his character is growing. I haven't picked a side. I don't like the Empress, and I don't like the rebels either. Is there a third side? I think Zee and Lucus need to create one. There is so much to this series. It's unique and exciting, and while I'm reading I feel like I'm a part of its world. I can't wait for more.

The ARC of I Am Forever by Wynne Channing was kindly provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Chapter 1

I stared at my reflection. Dried blood caked half of my face. It snaked down my neck in crusty, lumpy streaks. My shirt, my jeans, and my sneakers looked as if they had been splattered with mud.

My right arm, from my fingers to my elbow, was painted dark red. It was like a tree branch, the surface of my skin as textured and cracked as bark, my fingers hooked and gnarled like twigs.

All of it was blood. Sticky. Heavy. And none of it mine.

I won. I beat the bad guy. So this is what a survivor looks like, I told myself. At least, a very freaked-out survivor who let the bad guys lock her in an empty room.

“What are you looking at?” Lucas said, breaking my trance.


I tried to run my fingers through my hair, but it was stuck to my scalp.

“I look like hell,” I muttered.

“Well, you’ve been through hell.”

“Oh, so you agree?”

He came and stood behind me and peered over my shoulder. “I think this is a good look for you.”

“Yeah. I’m drop-dead gorgeous.”

Neither of us smiled. Maybe it was too tense to joke.

I turned to face him. He too looked like he had been through hell. His green eyes were dull and tired. Rusty stains leaked down his chin from coughing up his own blood.

“What do you think is going to happen?” I asked.

“Well, they can’t kill you.”

How ironic, I thought.

Since I had become a vampire, the Empress and her monarchy had done everything they could to kill me. They tried to burn me in the sun. The general tried to chop off my head. But somehow, with Lucas, I had survived, only to learn that if I died, every vampire would die with me, connected to me as they were by our blood.

I scratched my brow, red flakes scattering and falling into my eyelashes. It all seemed so impossible.

Hours earlier I had stood in the palace’s ballroom, my hand stinging from a cut across my palm and every vampire bowing at my feet as they bled from the same wound. It was surreal.

But the rapture of victory was fleeting. Confusion and panic washed over the ballroom. The clerics rushed around, arguing among themselves and with the Empress. The noise of everyone speaking at once became an indistinguishable drone. What should we do with the Super Vampire…? Lucas and I angled our bodies toward the exit. I had thought of running at every moment, but I wanted to see how they’d handle me now.

Finally, Uther, the first vampire I ever trusted, had stepped into our paths. He ushered Lucas and me into this room.

“We will figure this out, Lady Axelia,” Uther said before the door closed and locked. “You are most sacred to us. I promise, everything will be fine.”

Hadn’t he promised me something similar when I was first turned? After I drowned to death in the well filled with the blood of their gods? After his page, Lettie, washed me and dressed me like a schoolgirl? What an education that was. But everything after had not been fine.

How close we all came to the end…Uther, Lettie, Lucas. Everyone would have been killed if I had been killed. I shuddered.

Looking around the room, there was nothing to fight with. There was nothing to sit on. Just a polished concrete floor, wall-to-wall mirrors, and a black dome camera in the ceiling, staring like a shiny black eyeball. Pacing the perimeter, I slid my fingers along the glass, and Lucas crouched near the door like a guard dog waiting to pounce.

They’re watching us. These are probably two-way mirrors.

They would never leave me—the future of their race—alone here unsupervised. They would likely never leave me alone again. Unless, well, they left me alone in a cage.

“They’ll lock me up,” I said. “Like they did the first vampires. Entomb me alive forever.”

I imagined them putting me in a bulletproof, transparent case in the ballroom, like some living trophy or a packaged doll. Everyone would stare and point. I imagined myself, at the very least, giving them the finger.

“I won’t let that happen,” Lucas said. “We’ll escape.”

“Sure. We’ll just walk out the front door.”

“I know this place. I snuck in here to rescue you, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, and I can’t believe you did that. You knew it was suicide, right?”

“You’re not giving me enough credit. I had a plan.” He rose up from his haunches. “When they brought you here, I made a promise that I would come for you. And I promise you now that we will survive this.”

He sounded so resolute. Lucas. Always so brave. But I knew better. Everyone that he had ever cared about had died. His father, Noel; his page, Jerome; his sisters; his creator, Nuwa. All he had left was his ex-lover, Samira, and, well, me. Some crazy seventeen-year-old girl who stumbled into his home and brought chaos.

But I had brought chaos to the Monarchy too. I had terrified everyone. Tested the power of the Empress. Killed their general.

I had to remember that I could be brave as well. That I had to be—for us. I’ve been able to fight back. And I will fight again if they try to hurt Lucas or imprison me.

I stretched my fingers out and then clenched my fists, my nails pressing into my palms.

“Are you getting ready for battle?” Lucas said.


“Can you contain it until the enemy comes? Because right now it’s just you and me, and I’m not in the mood to fight you.”

“You couldn’t take me anyway,” I said, half-joking.

“Not anymore,” he replied, serious.

It was true. Lucas said that vampires grow in strength over time. But I was several times more powerful than vampires who had been alive for centuries. Such was another unexpected gift of having fallen into the well—strength, as well as immunity to the sun, and this blood connection with the vampire race. But could I fight my way out of this place?

When that door opens, anyone in my way dies. If I can get us into the hall, I can fight them a few at a time. They can’t surround us if we’re not in an open space. And they can’t hurt me. They’ll probably try to take Lucas hostage and use him to get me to surrender. That can’t happen. I’ll take someone’s weapon. Lead the way. But if we get outside, what if it’s daylight? Lucas will burn…

Suddenly Lucas was beside me. He always seemed to know what I was thinking, as if my skin changed color to match my emotions. He touched my elbow. Because of his short brown hair, the patches of blood in his scalp created a camouflage pattern. His black shirt was torn at the chest, and the fabric sagged like a lip where the general had plunged his sword. He had sacrificed so much for me. I pressed my hand to the tear and he covered my hand with his.

“I won’t let them separate us,” I said. Looking at his mouth, I thought of our kiss. Desperate. Crushing. His blood in my mouth. Horror and romance. How unlikely.

Before they took us, would I try to kiss him again? Was it ludicrous that I was even thinking of it at a time like this?

I turned to the mirror and looked into my own amber eyes, as bright as fire. “We won’t be separated,” I told whoever was watching.

Just then, footsteps and voices approached the door. Lucas put his arm out to sweep me behind him. Instead, I pushed him aside and stepped in front of him.

This is it.

Wynne Channing is an award-winning national newspaper reporter and young adult novelist. She loves telling stories and as a journalist, she has interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood's Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). She briefly considered calling her debut novel "Well" so then everyone would say: "Well written by Wynne Channing." Check out my interview with Wynne Channing!

To learn more about Wynne Channing and her books, visit her websiteblog, and Goodread's page. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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