I am so thrilled to have Ali Cross, author of BECOME, with us here today. First, I will give my review of BECOME, after which there is an awesome interview with Ali, after which you can enter to win a FREE e-book of BECOME, not to mention some awesome swag! All kinds of happy here today.

 

Note: Ali is my friend, but I am always honest in my reviews, no matter what. I know Ali would expect nothing less from me, or she wouldn’t have asked. 

Desolation Black is the devil’s daughter, and even though she hates Hell, she’s destined to inherit her father’s kingdom. But when Desi is sent to earth to temp weak humans and lure them down to Hell, Desi find herself resisting her demonic nature and hoping for what she’s always thought impossible- friendship and love.

The premise for this novel so intrigued me, that I dove in with eager eyes. Where would Ali take this? I fancy myself a pretty perceptive reader, and I must admit, I made a lot of judgements as to how this story would play out. Typical angel book? But I was completely surprised along the way, and I don’t mean just plot twists (though there is that) but also character development. The characters surprised me too. The plot moves at a quick pace and the characters are varied and vibrant. Desolation Black has many flaws and sometimes makes horrific mistakes, but not only did I love her, I empathized with her. I wanted what she wanted, even when what she wanted was wrong, even when she wished to be back in Hell. It takes some skills to make Hell sound desirable.That said, I was kind of hoping for a little more details for the brief time we spent in Hell in this book. I don’t think of it that often, so the idea of immersing myself in Hell in a book was sort of sadistically enticing, but there wasn’t much that piqued my interest there, and I supposed that makes sense from Desi’s point-of-view. Hell is pretty boring to her.

Enough about Hell. Let’s talk romance. Let me just premise this section with the fact that I am not much of a romantic. (Doesn’t that just make you want to slap me?) I tend to balk at a lot of romance in novels, especially in a lot of YA I’ve read. It often comes off as shallow, naive, and kind of slimy. But not in BECOME. Even though Desi and Michael have an immediate and powerful connection, Ali did not resort to the oft used and annoying method of “I felt inexplicably drawn to him.” There is an explanation for why they are so drawn to one another and it is so fulfilling and heart-warming and, wow, their relationship didn’t make me gag at all. It was intense, almost immediately, but genuine and well-developed. That’s the kind of romance I can fall for. 

I was at times a little confused about the time and place of the action, as well as the rules for the world and its deities. Ali mixed pretty strong Christian elements with more obscure mythology, which sometimes threw me off. The plot occasionally moves between worlds and realms and past and present, and I found myself questioning who was who and when and where was this all taking place? By what laws is this world and its gods governed? Some of these questions were eventually answered, but there are some unanswered questions in my mind, some loose plot threads, and I will be looking for answers in the succeeding books. I cant wait to read them!

By far my favorite part of this book was the ending. Of course I can say much, but OH MY HELL (literally) IT ROCKED! The ending alone is making me hungry to read the next book. BECOME is a gorgeous and thrilling book, with strong writing, characters, and story. Can you tell I’m excited to read more?

So enough from me. Let’s hear from the real deal. Thank you Ali for agreeing to this interview! 

1. What were the seeds of your idea for BECOME? How different was the end product from your original vision? Any surprises along the way? 


The idea for BECOME came from playing the “what if” game one summer morning. I asked the question, “What if the devil’s daughter wanted to be good?” and the story was born!

The end version is vastly different from my original attempt. There were many surprises–like the impossibility of changing a character’s behavior to suit my ideals, or the use of Norse mythology, which I totally didn’t expect.

 2. You have some powerful themes in your book dealing with dual nature as well as heart-breaking choices, (and I believe the two are linked.) Did these themes develop organically from your ideas or were they conscious choices? How do you think these themes relate to people in general and teens in particular?


Wow, that’s a great question. The themes developed organically, for sure. And I think you’re right–our dual nature and our difficulties to sometimes make wise choices are inexorably linked. If we were all black or all white then our choices would be simple–you go black or you go white. But when real truth lives somewhere in the gray, every choice can be a game-changer.

No person is all good or all bad, but I do think teens in particular have a greater temptation to reveal themselves to others in a less-than truthful way. Not because they are bad or anything, but because they still haven’t discovered who they are, so they’re a little bit THIS for one person and a little bit THAT for another person. Until we find ourselves I think we’re always trying out the molds other people have created for us. 

Like Goldilocks and the three bears, it can sometimes take a lot of trying things out before we find what really works for us, or who we really are.  

3. You take some elements that are unequivocally Christian but then also somehow morph those elements into something more universal. Was it your intention to cater to a specific audience, or do you think BECOME can be accessible for a larger audience, perhaps even people with little to no religious belief? 


I worried the Christian elements would bother readers. And it still might. But so far, it’s the mythology that’s throwing them for a loop! I really didn’t have any intention regarding the religion, so I hope people can see past that and to the heart of the story. I guess only time will tell how it will play out.

4. Any hints you’d like to throw to us about what’s in store for Desi in the next book? 


Aha! You’re the first person to ask me this. So here you go …. YES Michael returns in the second book. And …. yeah that’s all I’m gonna say about that. 😉

Oh goody! I like Michael. Thank you Ali! Everyone can buy BECOME at one of these sellers:

Smashwords

Also Ali is graciously giving away a  FREE e-book! (A code will be given to the winner to download the book for free.) And this awesome swag, bookmark, keychain, and a hand-tied Celtic bracelet. Leave a comment and you will be entered to win either the e-book or the swag! I will leave the contest open for a week. 

  
Ali Cross is the sensei of the Writer’s Dojo where she holds a black belt in awesome. She lives in Utah with her kickin’ husband, two sparring sons, one ninja cat, two sumo dogs and four zen turtles. 



7 comments

    • gaylene

    • November 23, 2011

    • 1:38 pm

    Ali was so deadly, in fact, that her enemies would go blind from over-exposure to pure awesomeness! ~ adapted from KungFu Panda 🙂

    Please pick me!

  1. ROFL Gaylene!

    Liesl, thank you for that amazing review. Your concerns about the world-building have merit–I hope I answer the questions sufficiently well in the next book!

    Thank you so much for your kind and generous words!

  2. Thanks for a wonderful review, Liesl! I really appreciated how you talked about both the things you loved and the things you didn’t quite get.

    And Ali, I thought what you said about teenagers revealing different elements of their personalities to different people was spot-on. Like you said, you’re still discovering who you are when you’re a teenager, so you kind of try on different groups of people to figure out where you’re most comfortable.

    I don’t have an e-reader, but if you can still download the book to a normal PC, count me in the giveaway!

    • Mindy

    • November 23, 2011

    • 8:22 pm

    Great review. Thanks for contest!

  3. You’re welcome Ali! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity. I truly enjoyed BECOME and hope it has amazing success!

    Krista, I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to download to your PC. Shouldn’t be a problem.

    But get an e-reader for Christmas. 🙂

    • Robin

    • November 23, 2011

    • 11:30 pm

    You review got me interested. Very Interested. I’d love to win this one and put in on my plane old style kindle:)

    Also, love Ali’s hair

  4. I’m WAAAY excited for the next 😀

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