Entice, by Carrie Jones (Bloomsbury, 2010, YA, 272 pages)
(warning--contains spoilers for the first two books--Need and Captivate)
The third book in the story of Zara, an ordinary (ish) girl who agreed to be turned into a pixie queen to save her boyfriend Nick from Valhalla.
Being a new pixie queen is stressful for Zara (understatement). There's the little fact that rouge pixies are praying on teenagers in her town, which causes her friends and family to be more than somewhat dismayed that Zara is now a pixie herself. It dismays Zara too, as she wrestles with her new identity--can she still be a Good person, now that she is one of Them? There's the fact that Astley, the pixie king, needs her help keeping his people strong, so that the rouge bunch can be thwarted. There's her panic about Nick--can she save him in time, or will the sacrifice of her humanity be in vain?
Throw in a bullet wound, a really nasty ex-pixie queen, a were-tiger grandma who hates pixies, some very dangerous dead-ends on the road to Valhalla...and you have an exciting adventure that beautifully combines character-driven story-telling with almost non-stop action!
Jones' signature style of sweet humor is here (although more understated than in previous books), as is her ability to make supporting characters into people one cares about, but the focus is most definitely on Zara, and her conflicted state of mind. She's coming to care more about Astley every day, she's worried that Nick will hate her now she's a pixie, and there's the little matter of defeating the bad guys terrorizing the kids in her town. It's a lot to handle, but Zara grows stronger with every chapter....and I found myself caring more and more about her ultimate destiny--will it be Nick or Astley? (I'm not so worried about defeating the bad guys--one can reasonably assume that, with a kick-ass heroine like Zara, this will happen).
In short, Entice is riveting read, combining danger and romance (and I say this as one who is not, in general, a fan of paranormal romance). I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next!
(disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher)