Burning Emerald (Cambion Chronicles Series #2)

Burning Emerald - Jaime Reed Sam is adapting slowly to having Lillith, to being a Cambion, but it isn’t easy. Her new powers of attraction are alienating her friends and a considerable number of her school peers and Caleb’s draw on her is growing to almost ridiculous degrees. Her own draw is attracting a lot of unwanted attention from men – one man in particular.Malik, he never had time for her before, but now he’s paying far more attention to her. Far too much and he’s not taking no for an answer. With her new Cambion powers, Sam has an answer to that – but that just opens up a whole new secret she never imagined – and a secret that is tied heavily to Nadine’s – and Lillith’s – past.Sam is now torn between what she wants and what Lillith wants and fighting to protect both the man she loves and the life she has, as the Cambions encroach more and more.This is the second book in the series and has continued the pattern of taking us right to the edge of a trope and then completely subverting it. I see the trope approaching, I’m poised to skewer it and then – last second – we pull back from it and expose it as ridiculous as it is.This time I thought we were going to have a love triangle. It had all the hallmarks. Here is the evil hot guy to counteract Caleb’s nicer-guyness. Evil Hot Love Interest is physically much sexier than Caleb, Evil Hot Love Interest embraces his evil predatory nature while Caleb fights it, Evil Hot Love Interest is more powerful – it’s a classic YA love triangle we’ve seen repeated over and over (usually with fangs and lots of moping and, as the author wonderfully skewers, with the CW logo in the corner). So I braced myself, I gritted my teeth aaand…Subversion! I am debating needing a spoiler warning here, but it’s not really a spoiler – or is only a spoiler because this whole book genre has convinced us that super-powerful hot guys who kill people and stalk you are zomg so sexy! Sam appreciates that Tobias is a very attractive man, and there it ends. She doesn’t consensually work with him, he pushed and manipulates and it’s not a sign of twu luv and devotion, it’s a sign of predatory behaviour and Sam treats him (almost) accordingly.Does that mean I’m generally happy with Sam this book? Not so much. In the last book I liked Sam’s common sense, I liked her strong determination to do what she needed to do. I liked that she could look past emotion and woo-woo and see the truth. I liked her practicality, her intelligence and general avoidance of so many of the tropes that have become staple in the genre. This time she did things that individually probably wouldn’t have bothered me – but collectively reduce the character.She is being stalked by EHLI and instead of actually telling people with the power/insight to do something about it she tries to make deals with him instead. She makes deals that involve her cutting off Caleb when she knows he’s dependent on her – which sends him on the rampage. She guards her house against him then lets him in. She wanders off with him on occasion despite his behaviour suggesting she should be screaming and dialling 911. It just doesn’t work for me – she treats him like the villain he is some of the time and then extends considerable unworthy trust to him the others.I also don’t like how much she’s letting slide. One thing Sam had going for her was her sense of priorities - focusing on her own goals and school work and not letting romance drop them. But this book her grades drop, she spends no time with her friends (both of whom now seriously dislike her and I’m not entirely sure why) and less time with Caleb… so what is she actually doing? Is it just down to stress of the whole situation? If so that needed more overtly labelling, because she seemed to be spending less time with Caleb, less time at school, less time socialising and, because of her mother’s deeply creepy GPS, less time away from home – so what is she spending time on?