Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Forgiven - Jana Oliver

GENRE: Young Adult
PAGES: 416
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Children's
FORMAT: Paperback
BUY IT: Waterstones

This is book 3 in the Demon Trapper's series.

Riley has made a bargain with Heaven, and now they've come to collect. Lucifer's finest are ruling the streets and it seems that Armageddon might be even closer than Riley imagined. But with her soul and her heart in play it's all she can do to keep herself alive, let alone save the world. Riley's not afraid of kicking some major demon butt, but when it comes to a battle between Heaven and Hell, she might need a little help ...

There isn't much I can say about this series that I haven't already mentioned in my reviews of the previous books. I adore this series, and yes, I'm wholly biased. All of the books are fantastically written and blow a lot of other teenage books out of the water.

Riley's character continues to develop and goes from strength to strength. I love the relationship she has with Beck; its the perfect mix of tension, frustration and humour. I love to watch them grow closer together despite everything that happens to keep them apart. I'm normally really annoyed with most teenage romances, they're over emotional and they fall in love too easily. Riley and Beck, however, have watched each other from afar and are friends first and foremost.

In this book the tensions between Good and Evil really come to a head in the form of a quasi-Apocalyptic fight, escalating from the fight scenes in the previous books. Cleverly Oliver uses this scene to give physical embodiment to a psychological battle that Riley has had within herself and personifies characters she assumes to be Good and Evil. But nothing is black and white; Good and Evil aren't things that are inherent or simple or even exclusive - they are learned, forged and chosen and can live together harmonious. Oliver shows us through Riley's choices that sometimes we need Evil, or those moments where we go against our better judgement, in order to learn life lessons and actually become better people. Without giving in to what Riley perceives as Evil she wouldn't have learned about her own moral compass. Sometimes we have to experience 'sin' to understand it. Our own morality comes from these times, but also from our parents, our friends and the society we live in and Riley shows how much she is a product of both Good and Evil. She ends up making selfless deals with what she perceives as Evil for Good reasons. I love any book who can make me ponder on these things without feeling overwhelmed.

In terms of other action the whole fake Holy Water scandal really comes to a head. This was the only slight downside to me, I felt this scandal was quite exciting and was slightly overlooked in the face of the other things that were happening.

I really feel that all readers are going to be rewarded by this and by the next, and final, book - looks like its going to be about all those little hints Beck has dropped about his past. I will miss this series when it ends, but I infinitely confident that whatever Oliver goes on to write it will be brilliant.

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