Rummanah Aasi
  I noticed that there is a lack of GLBT main characters in a fantasy and/or paranormal romances in YA literature. Many of the popular series do have characters with various sexual orientations such Magnus Bane from the extremely popular Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare; however, many of them are regulated to be secondary characters and/or plot line. Michael Griffo's Archangel Academy series is the first vampire series with a main focus on its gay protagonists. Today I will be reviewing the second book of the series as part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour.



Description (from back of the book): Life as a just-made vampire is challenging for Michael, even with Ronan, and experienced vamp, to guide him. Michael's abilities are still raw and unpredictable. To add to the turmoil, the ancient feud between rival vampire species is sending ripples of discord through the school. And beneath the new headmaster's charismatic front lies a powerful and very personal agenda. Yet the mysteries lurking around the Academy pale in comparison to the secrets emerging from Micheal's past. And choosing the wrong person to trust- or to love-could lead to an eternity of regret.

Review: Unwelcome is the second book in the Archangel Academy. I would highly suggest to read the first book, Unnatural, first since there is a large cast of characters, both supernatural and human, and not enough background information given in Unwelcome to new readers.
  The series focuses on our primary couple, Michael and Ronan, who are still getting adjusted to their new relationship status. Michael is an American teen who is becoming more comfortable in being gay. He moved from his rural, intolerant, Nebraskan hometown to northern England to live with his distant father after his mother's sudden suicide and to attend the prestigious Archangel Academy. At the Archangel Academy, Michael meets the charismatic and mysterious Ronan, who is also an outsider due to his hybrid vampire status and sexuality. I really liked Michael and Ronan together. They are cute and go through the same struggles as any other couple such as insecurity about past experiences, keeping secrets from one another, etc. Despite the reader's sexual preference, I think they can find many commonalities with this couple. Michael and Ronan both share a common passion for literature and sports. It's clear that they enjoy each others company and made me smile on more than one occasion. There were moments, however, where the couple becomes a bit melodramatic and a little too co-dependent for me but I can overlook this since this is Michael's first real relationship.
  Griffo's take on vampires is unique. Both Michael and Ronan are water-vampires, a web-handed variety that feeds on blood once a month and then drinks from the Well of Atlantis. The idea of water-creature who once mated with a vampire to create this hybrid race is unexpected and piqued my interest, but I wished Griffo would expand on this topic and explain it a bit more in his world building. I had a hard time trying to sort out the rules for this species and getting a good sense of the mythology.
 Though there are numerous subplots in Unwelcome, Griffo handles them quite well since I didn't really feel bored while reading the book. The book reads like a screenplay as characters enter and exit the story quickly making the third-person narrative voice jump briskly among points of view, even within a single scene. The screenplay feeling may be expected since the author is a screenplay writer himself. I did like how the characters' motivations often remain opaque making the reader wonder what are their true motivations.  
  Unwelcome is a book filled with action, passion, angst, and betrayal. I would recommend this book to readers who are looking for a different take on vampires and interested reading about a cast of mixed race and sexual orientations in a paranormal romance setting, which I hope other writers pursue writing about too.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are allusions to sex and some language. Recommended for readers 14 years and up.

If you like this book try: Unafraid by Michael Griffo (released in March 2012), House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast, Immortal series by Alyson Noel
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Water vampires? That's an interesting twist on things, I like it! Too bad it's not explained a bit more though. This is a new-to-me series so I think I'll go back and read book one first since you said there's a lot of info that doesn't get summarized in book 2. Thanks Rummanah!


  2. Jenny: I had the same thought. Like you, I've read my share of paranormal romances but haven't come across this breed of vamps before.


  3. Hafsah Says:

    Hmm, never heard of this, but it sounds a little weird. Based on your review, I'm not so sure I'll give this a try. One day, maybe!


  4. Hafsah: This book might not be for everyone, but I thought it was interesting.


  5. Missie Says:

    What? Wait a minute! Just when I think I've come across every type of vampire there is, you tell me there is a sea-creature/vampire hybrid!

    *faints*

    I don't know what to do here. I love vampires, and I have to admit that I'm interested in taking on something with gay protagonists but the species of vampire presented here doesn't really appeal to me, especially if it is underdeveloped, which just seems odd since this is the second book. Shouldn't more of the issues with the world and mythology been addressed?

    How did you rate the first book in the series?


  6. I've never heard of this take on vamps before! Traditional vamps drive me mad, but water vamps...hmmmmm it sounds like a promising new series. I'm adding book one to my TBR. Brilliant review, Rummanah :)


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