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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Is this a kissing book? Part II - My Review of The Vine Eater by Carol Beth Anderson

So…. I’ve been highly remiss in reviewing everything I’ve listened to since say… May or so… But I have still been listening.

The Vine Eater by Carol Beth Anderson is book 2 in her series started with the Frost Eater. In this book, she continues to expand on her rich universe created in book. In Vine Eater, as evidenced by the title, the focus is much more on Zeisha, who we barely got to meet in book 1. She is my favorite character in the series. Reunited with Kray, she’s dealing with conflict between wanting to help her friends in their fight against the power that enslaved her in book 1, her repulsion of using her powers to harm others, and figuring out just what her relationship with Kray and her new friends should be. Her character arc in this book is delightful.

Like book 1 – this book is a YA directed fantasy, and as older teenagers – it can be a bit of a “kissing book.” (click here to read my review of book 1) BUT Anderson has created a character - Sarza - who is a perfect foil to the Lovey-Dovey nature of the 2 primary couples in the series. Not every teenager is a raging hormone. Some either 1- don’t get it, or 2- are slightly repulsed by it. Some remain like the kid in The Princess Bride. The fact that the author included a well developed character in this book who identifies in this group absolutely delighted me. I’m a father of 3 teenagers, and one of them is the model she could have used for this character. I was a raging hormone as a kid, so its been a journey as a parent understanding a kid who isn’t that way, and Kudos to Anderson for writing to them as well. I look forward to where she goes with this character in the ensuing book(s).

The other prominent couple (Nora and Ovrum) also go through some very important development personally and in their relationship – learning that in order to grow, they must sometimes be willing to give up a dream that has been important to them in favor of a dream that they can accomplish together.

Anderson also tackles the issue of addiction, secrets, dependancy & many other things head on, but in a fashion that makes it very approachable as well.

Again in this book, the characters are believable, likeable & well developed. She does a great job narrating her own book too. For every 1 author that narrates their own books well, there are probably 10 who shouldn't. I also love the setting of this book – Being a far distant dystopian future on a planet where magic has become part of everyday life due to a cataclysm referred to as The Day. Each chapter is begun with a snippet from a pre-day teenage journalist. Their apparent Pre-day technological & societal development parralells our own & Anderson is able to give us a kind of commentary on relevant events in our day in an oblique fashion – as traditional Sci-fi does brilliantly. 5 stars again all around. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book!

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