It must be the year of finishing series, I swear! I’ve finished reading several series this year and on the whole I am pleased at how the whole slew of trilogies I have read are closing out. As a fan of the mob and gangsters, I had a special affinity for Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright trilogy and am MORE THAN PLEASED with how In The Age Of Love And Chocolate wraps up the series. Now, I know there are some weirdos out there who just didn’t like Anya Ballanchine or this series and while that is totally fine and cool, I loved her and you need to know that bias upfront because it kind of plays into just how much I loved In The Age Of Love And Chocolate. Zevin’s final Birthright book is darkly romantic, one to be read with chocolate on hand for sure.
In The Age Of Love And Chocolate is a kind of short book – at least to me at 304 pages that is SUPER short. Yet, so much happens in the plot. First, the book opens with Anya getting ready to open up her medicinal cacao night clubs — called the Dark Room. She sacrifices basically everything to get the club going, including a potential romance with Win. She wants to be on the legal side of chocolate, because as you remember, it’s illegal in this future, along with coffee. I don’t want to give the entire plot away but expect: a marriage, Theo, Japan, romance, assassinations, and recuperation among other things. Basically there are so many plot elements happening but Zevin weaves them together into like a perfect quilt that doesn’t feel like a kitchen sink or a mishmash of too much — if that makes sense, and I think that it should. What I am getting at is that this is the very perfect ending for the series.
Anya Ballanchine is one stubborn girl AND I LOVE IT. I mean, she’s stubborn to the point of making some not so great life choices. But her stubbornness goes perfectly with the loyalty she has to the people she loves. This girl sacrifices so much for her sister Natty and her brother Leo and Scarlet. I love it, and you just know that while she might not act in her own best interest — she’s acting in the best interest of everyone else. She’s got this backbone and strength that I completely admired. Also, she’s changed so much from book one. If you read all three books in this trilogy, I think you’ll understand why I say that these books do an excellent job illustrating growing pains and just how much one changes with they grow up. I loved seeing how different book three Anya Ballanchine is from book one Anya Ballanchine. Yet, she still retains that special something that makes her tick. Love it.
I think some people might not like this series because the idea of coffee and chocolate being illegal are unfathomable, which yeah it is kind of outside the realm of possibility. However, like prohibition, I rolled with it, as a reader and liked seeing how people would deal with the banning of something we all enjoy – especially when that something isn’t dangerous like alcohol supposedly is — you can’t overdose on chocolate y’all. I loved how Anya uses her brains to get ahead rather than brawn and she uses that brain to come up with an idea to bring her family from the illegal side of chocolate to the legal end. It’s cool. And a lot of how the book plays out made me think of marijuana and how it’s illegal but it seems like places are legalizing it to be on the right side of the law and anarchy has not broken out. Like, I will get controversial and say I don’t think smoking a j is that big of a deal — kind of like indulging in a bar of chocolate. And before you get all uppity on me, note that this book does not at all have anything to do with marijuana use — it’s just a parallel that I drew from my reading and interpretation of Zevin’s words.
I bet you want to know all about the love part of In The Age Of Love And Chocolate. I won’t do spoilers but I will say that my mind changed a few times and now I truly believe that Anya ended up with exactly the right person. What’s great about the book is that Anya learns she has to love herself before she can love another person. And granted, the love of someone does help her to regain her happiness and strength, but I won’t go deep into spoiler territory. Just know that Zevin does a great job with the romance and the kissing angle and I am just so thrilled with how the book came out.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Other reviews of In The Age Of Love And Chocolate by Gabrielle Zevin:
None as of my google search on 9/15/2013 — I am sure there will be some when this goes live, but I am too lazy to go look, so if you review this drop your link in my comments and I will add it up here.