Embraced is the second book in the Eternal Balance series from Jus Accardo. This book continues the story from the first book, Ruined, and should not be read as a standalone. The first book in this series was released in December of 2013, so to say that I have been waiting for this one to come out for what feels like forever would be an understatement. After reading this book and getting the author's note at the end, it appears that she had some extenuating circumstances that kept her from being able to get this book done any quicker and I was glad that she let the reader know what had been going on. I really hope that we don't have as long to wait for the next book though as I am not sure that I can handle two years between books again.
Jax Flynn is a descendant of the world's first murderer, Cain. He has a demon living inside him and though his brother Chase chose to embrace his demon, Jax has spent years trying to fight his. In order to prevent horrible things from being unleashed on the world, Jax was forced to sacrifice the only thing that meant anything to him, the girl he loved. Samantha Merrick might be human, but she is special. Just as she finally gets Jax back, they are forced to live with a deal they made. They can look, but they can't touch. The harder they try to fight it though, the more they begin to cross the line. But when an enemy once again threatens everything, Sam and Jax will have to make the choice of either killing the demon Malphi or Sam dying. While the choice seems easy, Jax's demon Azirak will do whatever it takes to ensure that Jax and Sam don't kill Malphi.
With Embraced picking up right where Ruined left off, I was anxious to see how things would be for Jax and Sam this time around. I still liked both of them a lot, and I was glad that they hadn't lost any of their fight in this book. The chemistry was as strong as ever between them, and it was obvious how hard it was for them to fight what they felt for one another. Unfortunately these two just can't seem to catch a break. Just when it appears that Sam and Jax have a chance at something, things come up that tear them apart again. I was so hoping that things would be different this time around for them, and they had even more obstacles this time it seemed.
Overall, I did like seeing these characters again and I was curious to see what would happen next for them. After the way things ended in the first book, I thought that we would get a conclusion of some type here and I was more than ready for it. But this one again ended with a cliffhanger and another book coming. While I enjoy reading a series and continuing the story if there is enough to warrant more books, I do worry that this one might be getting to the point that it is continuing when it shouldn't. This book was very fast paced and a lot was going on, but that was also a bit of an issue for me with how much was being thrown at not only the reader but also the characters. With so much going on it can be hard to keep track of all the players and the complex world, and I felt that there was a bit too much here at times. Just when one thing would be somewhat resolved, something else would pop up. It felt a bit like the author was throwing everything and the kitchen sink at Jax and Sam, and after awhile my interest started to wane. While I do enjoy twists and turns, I don't like to feel like the characters are fighting such an impossible battle that they will never get there and unfortunately that is what seems to be happening here. I will most likely read the next book, Released, as I want to see this one through. But I have to admit that if it takes anywhere close to as long to release as this one did, I will probably give up at that point. It was hard enough to remember everything that happened in the first book this time around, and with this world being so complex large gaps of time in between books is not something that helps hold my interest. While I think that this world is unique and different, I would recommend reading in order and possibly waiting until all are released or at the very least a reread before starting the next installment.
**ARC Provided by Publisher**