Note: There’s going to be spoilers for All These Things I’ve Done, so if you’ve got concerns about being spoiled, click All These Things I’ve Done and read that review instead.
Friends WHY DO I WAIT FOREVER TO READ SEQUELS? Seriously, I just don’t let myself read the sequels of books I loved immediately and that is a travesty. Y’all, I just gobbled up Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin a few days ago and now I am kind of questioning exactly why I waited so long to read. It’s full of awesome elements — like the mob, chocolate, coffee, Mexico, and tough decisions. Plus, main character Anya Balanchine continues to be fascinating and interesting as she decides between duty and desire. I actually almost loved Because It Is My Blood as much as I loved All These Things I’ve Done, but there were a few things preventing me from full on love.
Because It Is My Blood picks up right where All These Things I’ve Done leaves off. Anya is in Liberty serving her sentence as part of the deal made with Win’s father, Charles Delacroix. She’s preparing to get out and readjust to life on the outside. Anya is left feeling cynical about the chocolate business because of all the drama and how it leaves people dead all over the place. And so, when she gets out she has to find a way to go back to school, she also meets with her newest family member, Sophia Bitter who plays kind of a big role. Anyways lots of things go down and Anya ends up in Mexico seeing how cacao is farmed and made. PLUS there’s a new male interest in the form of Theo and he’s the best you guys. ANYWAYS a whole lot more drama and omgwhatjusthappened goes on in the plot and in the interest of you not being spoiled like I was by some goodreads reviews, I am just going to keep it at hints. ANYWAYS, Because It Is My Blood really does feel like a page turning roller coaster ride because there’s death, hiding, romance, family, rivalries and more.
Anya Balanchine is definitely one of my recent favorite YA characters. I love that she sacrifices so much for the safety of her siblings. I love that she wears the mantle of responsibility. Plus, she’s a YA girl who is smart enough to realize that just because you are into someone at the age of 17/18 doesn’t mean you’ll love them as an adult. Seriously, it’s such a realistic and awesome view to take. I mean, okay yes it might be a little painful to realize that in many cases the person you date in high school is not the person you marry as an adult, but that’s reality. ANYWAYS, other things I loved about Anya: she’s no nonsense. She doesn’t whine constantly about how hard her life is, although she actually has good reason to. She’s strong and totally fierce. I just love her as a character and I love her voice.
Gabrielle Zevin’s writing style is actually quite appealing to me. Her words have a certain cadence to them, and I guess while reading, I just kind of imagined a girl with a Russian accent talking to me about her story and it really worked for Zevin’s wording. The pacing of Because It Is My Blood is quite fast. I thought there were no unnecessarily long and drawn out segments. Instead the book pretty much speeds to the end which is exactly the sort of pace I want for an end of the year must exceed my challenge number goal. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I mean.
Because It Is My Blood does an interesting job of examining the idea of duty versus desire. Anya has a duty to her family and to the chocolate business. Yet, she also has a desire to break free and leave the business. However, her duty is going to follow her no matter what she does. I liked seeing how much self control Anya has and how she’s more self sacrificing than most people I know, but at least it’s for good reason — because protecting the ones you love does absolutely matter. However, I was rooting for homegirl to get what she so deeply desires the whole time.
There’s also romance within Because It Is My Blood, like we see Win again and meh, he did not totally win me over. He’s sort of –dare I say it — a douchebag for much of the book. Who I was really rooting for was Theo, the guy from Mexico. You’ll see why when you read Because It Is My Blood. Like there’s no making out or anything between them, but the commonalities and chemistry made Anya and Theo a better fit in my mind than Anya and Win. So, take that as you will.
In all, I think that Because It Is My Blood is a great sequel to All These Things I’ve Done. I wish that there had been a little bit more on the romance/love front, BUT I did like all of the action. I liked the conspiracies. I liked the way it ALL SHOOK OUT at the end. Actually, I really did love the ending and found myself looking forward to the third book, actually no, desperately wanting book three is much more accurate.
Disclosure: Received For Review
Other reviews of Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin:
The Book Rat – “I loved this new facet to the story”
The Reading Addict – “Anya is an incredible character.”
Book Brats – “I dove into BECAUSE IT IS MY BLOOD and was not disappointed”