BOOK REVIEWS

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-08-11 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 44 user ratings
ISBN:1250034221
LANGUAGE:English

"Because It Is My Blood engrossed me just as much as All These Things I've Done. Perhaps even more so, because I felt I was that much more invested in the characters and the Balanchine family.

Anya is such a strong and willful protagonist. She has already sacrificed so much for her family, and is willing to do so much more. The last we saw of her in Book 1 she had ended locked up at Liberty, and we begin this book with her release from the facility. Upon her release, Anya soon realizes that life will never be the same for her, and ends up taking refuge in Mexico with a family that teaches her all about chocolate making and carrying on a business.

However, an attempt on her life and her sister's life forces her back to New York. In New York, she does her best to get away from the family business and get on with her life. She takes care of all the loose ends she had left unresolved when she fled, but her taste for revenge has become more apparent, which worries those around her.

A few twists and turns, with several hundred revelations, and we are left quite at awe at all the things that could go wrong in this girl's life. Yet, throughout it all, she remains impressively strong.

Anya realizes that the family business is part of who she is, but she is torn between doing the right thing and the illegal thing. I really enjoyed Win's father's part in this whole series, and find that Anya was quite clever in how she approached him. What I didn't like is Win's part in all of this. I found him whiny, and quite irritating. After everything they have been through together, for him to just blow up on her like that at the end was unnecessary. Not accepting her for who she is, and not supporting her - what I thought was a - fabulous idea.

It was definitely a very good sequel, one that I found I could not tear myself away from until the very last page. I look forward to the next installment in this Birthright series.
" said.

"My Thoughts: We are back with Anya, you may remember her by her family or even as the girl who was dating Win. She’s pretty well known, as being a criminal.

We are thrust back into her life, as she is in Liberty Children’s Facility, serving out her sentence.

She’s released and gets to go back with her family for a limited time. She gets to see her best friend Scarlett who is dating her ex boyfriend. And then there is Win, sweet sweet Win who she must stay away from. Than she is thrown back into the system again. She must find a way out. She just can’t stay locked up, it's not right, especially since it's not deserved. She ends up getting out and leaving the country for a while. She meets a new friend named Theo. He teaches her a lot.

She comes back to the states and is reunited with her family again. But its not safe. People are trying to kill them. Anya doesn’t know quite what to do. She wants to be the head of the family and the chocolate business, but at what cost?

The second novel in the Birthright trilogy was pretty darn good. I wouldn’t say it was the best thing ever, but I did enjoy it a lot. There were a lot of twists and turns to keep me guessing. I also liked the new addition of characters, and the way they played out. I also liked learning more about Mouse and I hope she plays a major part in the next novel. I really do hope so.

Because It Is My Blood was a great read. I think it ties up a lot of unanswered questions from the first novel, and I loved where everything went in this novel. And the ending, pretty good. It really makes me look forward to the next one!

Overall: I really really enjoyed it a lot. A one day read for me. I did take a few breaks but finished it fairly quickly because I was hooked into the story pretty easily and fast.

Oh, Anya, how I love you as a character. You are so strong and smart.

Cover: Like it, but I don’t love it. Just feels like its missing something.

What I'd Give It: 4/5 Cupcakes
__________
Taken From Princess Bookie
www.princessbookie.com
" said.

"I only just liked All These Things I've Done, but I won an ARC of this one, so I gave it a read. I was hoping for more Leo after the ending events of the first book, but again everything is narrowly focused on Anya. Nothing around her gets much attention, which bothers me. I want to know more about the world and the other characters, not just Anya.

I'm still not sold on this so-called dystopian society. As I said in my review of the first book, the illegal chocolate lost its novelty and just became annoying. There's no real reason why it's illegal, except that it makes a unique setting and clearly pulls readers in. Anya must escape New York, and she does so by heading to a cocao farm in Mexico. The whole plot ends up being about chocolate, much to my annoyance.

I was definitely interested at first though, because I thought we'd get some actual world building as the US is compared to Mexico. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead we get a lesson in growing and harvesting cocao, and a lame explanation that chocolate was expensive and is therefore illegal. The author had some missed opportunities to really make this world feel solid. It would have been more interesting to get details of Anya's second and third stay in Liberty, which are again glossed over. At least then we'd get to learn something about the legal system.

"Anya you know I support you, but aren't there bigger problems in the world than chocolate."

Obviously not.

Even when Anya is back in the city, it's still chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! There is more action, mystery, mafia stuff happening but the focus was still on Anya running the chocolate business. Occasionally, there's a random tidbit that I'm sure was meant to be shocking, but those felt like they were simply stuck in there to be shocking, not to add to the plot.

Maybe it was just a case of mid-trilogy syndrome, but I liked Because It Is My Blood less than the first book. Since there's only one book left, I'll read it, but only because I am curious to see if Anya's idea works.

Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.
" said.

"*Genre* Young Adult
*Rating* 3.0

*Review*

After being sent to Liberty Children’s Home in “All These Things I’ve Done,” 17 year old Anya Balanchine is now up for release. But, that's not the biggest problem or issue she has to deal with in this, the second installment of Birthright. She knows that her school doesn't want her back because she brought a gun to her school, and it appears that someone is trying to kill her, as well as her sister Natty, and her brother Leo who is still in Japan supposedly in hiding.

If you’ve read this series from the first book, you know that Anya has a penchant for getting into troubling situations. She lives in a time where cell phones with cameras are forbidden to be owned by teenagers. Chocolate is considered to be illegal and is a black market item sold at joints like speakeasies. She’s the eldest daughter of the Balanchine chocolate empire, and has been trying to remain above board with the things she does for her sister’s sake. She’s a decent enough student, yet everything seems to fall on her head.

Naturally, Anya is hit with more problems with when pictures of her and Win holding hands are leaked to the press. Once again, Anya finds herself back in Liberty where she finds a way, with help, to escape to a cacao plantation in Mexico.

I believe I liked the first book a whole lot better than this one. There was a point where the narrative changed midsentence and it was kind of confusing. It was like Anya went back and changed her story once it was already written. There was the whole mystery behind who was responsible for putting a hit out on Anya and her sister. That mystery was cleared up pretty quickly when you started comparing the characters and what they really wanted from Balanchine Chocolate.

The interesting thing about this story is that once Anya hated the idea of being a part of the chocolate world. After visiting Mexico, and nearly dying, she comes to learn that chocolate is in her blood and there’s no point of denying it any longer. In the end, Anya once again delves into the families business and I’m wondering if there will be further storylines after this particular ending.

*Recvd via ARC Trade 07/09/2012* Expected publication: September 18th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR
" said.

"If someone told me there is this book reminiscent of The Godfather but in young adult genre where chocolate and coffee are banned in a dystopian future…I’d have to say no thanks.

But it works; I loved the first instalment of Gabrielle Zevin Birthright series – All the things I’ve Done. Despite the silly premise of a future with no chocolate or coffee, the world Zevin created for Anya Balanchine a 17 year old from a New York maffia family is completely believable.

I was very excited to see what the next instalment Because it is my Blood would have in store of Anya. The second book moves at a fast pace with some nice twists and surprises. Anya the lead protagonist, from whose point of view the story is told, is getting more and more likable to the stage where I may now like her more than Katniss! (from The Hunger Games). She is always going to struggle and fight against it, but we all know she will ultimately become her father (a mafia boss). Anya is wise beyond her years, like Tony Soprano or any mob boss, she is extremely good at strategy, she constantly recalls quotes and phrases her father told her, she seems to me to be made for this life despite how much she tries to avoid it. At the end she may have found a way to marry the two sides of her – there are parallels here with medicinal marijuana.

In this book, old enemies become friends and some friends become enemies. There are some great plot changes which leave Anya’s world and the cast around completely changed – a half-brother, a marriage proposal, a pregnancy, a few deaths and a machete. There is a complex murder-type mystery, that I would have never figured out.

I adored the reference to Twilight recalled by Anya’s cousin to describe the vampire nature that exists in any mafia family in order for them to thrive. I also like that her relationship with Win doesn’t define her, I feel that Win is too much a beta male to make any lasting effect on Anya and I suspect he won’t be around for long. New character Theo is introduced but I can’t see this becoming another Young Adult love triangle.

I’ve always felt that The Godfather was the perfect film and it looks to me from the two books so far in the Birthright series that it may become the perfect Young Adult book…I CANNOT wait for the third book.

" said.

"4.5 stars. It's been nearly two years since I read the first book in this trilogy, so I didn't remember it in detail, but this follow up did a nice job of filling in the blanks and making me remember why I liked the original book in the first place. This book begins with Anya's release from Liberty, a detention facility where she's been held due to her underworld connections (her family is the head of an illegal chocolate empire) and shady behavior. After her release, she flees the country to Mexico to learn more about chocolate but quickly realizes she's still not safe and that someone is trying to plan hits on her siblings and herself in an effort to take over the family business.

The thing that I immediately was drawn to about is book, and I suppose the trilogy in general, is Anya's voice. The story's told in a very noir-style tone, which I think was perfect for this type of tale! Anya is completely likable, and I loved the other characters as well, although some of her extended family kind of blurred together because they weren't seen for long periods of time and instead dropped in here and there. The main characters were nicely done, and I liked how everyone's personality and motivations were so varied. I also loved the new characters that were introduced in Mexico!

This book also did a good job expanding the history of how the U.S.turned into such a nearly-unrecognizable country and hinted at why chocolate (and other items, such as coffee) became illegal. I thought this background information really enhanced the story because I had a much better sense of how things got to that point. The mystery was also well done, as I had no idea who was behind the various attacks and attempts to take over the family's chocolate business.

The only drawback, for me, for this book overall was the fact that while the main storyline in this book was wrapped up, it did feel like simply an installment in a trilogy overall instead of a book that could be satisfying on its own. There were definitely plot points that will be resolved in the next book, as well as lingering questions that will be answered. That said, I did like this book overall and thought it was quite a strong "middle" book, as many other trilogies seem to lose steam at this point. I'm looking forward to finishing up this trilogy in the near future and seeing how it all wraps up!
" said.

"Anya's time in Mexico is easily my favourite part of the entire series. It's not just because Central and South America are dear to me and I loved reading a book in that setting, or that it was fantastic seeing Anya learn the ins and outs of cacao, it can also be greatly attributed to Theo.

Theo is a very fun, easy-going character, but there is so much more to him than meets the eye. While he acts silly and playful all the time, he's also incredibly smart. He picked up on all sorts of clues as to Anya was, and instead of letting anyone know (including Anya) that he had figured it out, he just kept mum on the subject. It seems surprising since he seems so childish most of the time, you would expect him to blab secrets. In fact you wouldn't really expect him to be all that observant, so this was definitely a surprise.

He has many of the same values as Anya does, he just goes about them in a different way. Perhaps it's because he hasn't lost his family the way Anya has, but he clearly cares deeply about his family. Where Anya is controlling and micromanages, Theo is funny and playful. In many ways his family and the way he treats them reminds me of my own family, and in even more ways they made me so nostalgic for all the amazing people I've met when I got the chance to travel in South America.

I've hit on how playful he is, but Theo is incredibly serious about two things: Cacao and his family. It's clear when he's teaching Anya about cacao just how passionate he is about it. He has devoted his life to it, knows the ins and outs of cacao, and he loves it (even when he hates it. That sounds awfully familiar...being a musician is DEFINITELY always fun) When Theo cares about Anya things, it's clear he doesn't hold back. The same goes for his family. At the end of the book, (view spoiler)" said.

"**As the second in a series, this book (and the review) may contain spoilers for All These Things I've Done. You have been warned.**

Anya Balanchine knows firsthand that being the presumptive heir to an illegal chocolate empire comes with its fair share of complications. After a turbulent year filled with futile attempts to move beyond her criminal reputation and date a truly ill-advised boy--all while caring for her brother and sister--Anya is hoping that the start of autumn and her release from Liberty Children's Facility will bring with it calmer times.

Unfortunately, nothing about Anya's life after Liberty is calm. Her criminal record makes attending (not to mention finishing) high school nearly impossible.

Her little sister Natty has grown up during Anya's time away. Scarlet, her best friend, seems closer than ever to her odious boyfriend Gable. And Win? The boy who made Anya want to give up almost everything her family stood for seems to have a new love.

Anya isn't sure where she fits into this world where everything and everyone has moved on without her except that she hopes it has nothing to do with her extended family. Or chocolate.

Unfortunately, as ever, Anya's wants are overlooked as she is drawn back into the Balanchine's world of crime, chocolate and intrigue. Taken away from the city and the people that she loves, Anya will have to decide what price she is willing to pay for safety and who she truly wants to be in Because It Is My Blood (2012) by Gabrielle Zevin.

Because It Is My Blood is the second book in Gabrielle Zevin's Birthright series which started with All These Things I've Done.

As exciting as Because It Is My Blood can be, this novel's strength is in its focus on Anya. She is still impetuous and often acts rashly. But she is also circumspect and calculating--as is fitting of a mafiya princess, even a reluctant one.

While Anya struggles with familiar questions about her family and her identity, Zevin keeps the story original with her surprising turns and Anya's wry, eloquent narration. Readers will also notice Anya's continued growth as she moves out from her dead father's shadow (and advice) to begin making her own decisions.

Zevin also continues to delicately build Anya's world in Because It Is My Blood with some tantalizing hints of what readers can expect in the latter half of this series. As our heroine moves beyond the island of Manhattan, Zevin develops the politics of 2083 that surround a country where chocolate is illegal and many other items are in short supply.

Because It Is My Blood proves that Anya still has more to learn and even more tricks up her sleeve making this book another absorbing installment in an already gripping series.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

You can also read my exclusive interview with Gabrielle Zevin later this month!

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012
" said.

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