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In the Age of Love and Chocolate (Birthright)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 26, 2013
Anya Balanchine knows about hardships and sacrifice. She also knows, better than most, that sometimes difficult choices have to be made.

Now eighteen and working closely with one of her former enemies, Anya is on the verge of opening a nightclub specializing in medicinal cacao--the first attempt to circumvent the laws that have made chocolate illegal in the United States for years. With that victory so close, Anya is also forced to accept the things she has lost in her efforts to legitimize the family business--namely the boy she loved, Win Delacroix.

Just as Anya begins to taste professional success, her personal life begins to fall apart. In order to make her way through, Anya will have to seek out old friends and enemies as she makes her way in this dangerous world where chocolate is illegal and family means everything in In the Age of Love and Chocolate (2013) by Gabrielle Zevin.

In the Age of Love and Chocolate is the final book in Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series which started with All These Things I’ve Done and Because It Is My Blood. The book itself is also broken into two parts: The Age of Chocolate and The Age of Love which, as you might have guessed, illustrate the shifting focuses of the story as well as Anya's shifting priorities.

It's hard to talk about the conclusion of a series without giving away too much about the story (or about the books that came before). What I can tell you is that while this ending wasn't always the one I expected or wanted for Anya, it is the only conclusion that makes sense for her as a character. It is the only one that could be truly satisfying after moving through the series.

Anya remains the smart, steady heroine she always was in In the Age of Love and Chocolate but her growth here is even more apparent as Anya negotiates the murky waters of adulthood and the chocolate business. Anya stumbles, she makes mistakes, but she always learns and she always tries again. She is a refreshingly strong, self-sufficient heroine and one that I am sad to leave behind as this wonderful series comes to an end.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Leverage (television series), White Collar (television series)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2014
After the high of the previous book, I was really looking forward to reading the third of this series wanting to see what steps Anya would take next. I like the idea of tackling social justice issues head on and Anya does just that. The romantic relationships with Anya were a bit too simplistic and lacked heat in this book. In the end, the book kind of wrapped up with a slow sizzle and left readers turning the next few end pages looking for a punch, cliff hanger, or profound resolution. Nope just a list of other books to purchase.
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on December 9, 2013
I genuinely enjoyed reading this series, and going through Anya's spectacular development - as well as all those around her. I love that Gabrielle Zevin was brutally realistic in writing the stories, knowing exactly who she was going to leave us with and who she was going to eliminate, as well as taking us through a somewhat heart wrenching experience with Anya and her family.

There were no rainbows and butterflies in this story, just a whole lot of struggle for survival and success. We go from meeting Anya as a 16 year old in highschool, to watching her become an adult, a successful 21 year old business woman.

We watch her relationship with several of the characters develop in many different ways, some of which would make you cringe with discomfort. Her relationship to Win is completely deteriorated since her partnership with his father, Charles - a man, which in this installment, I have come to love and respect.

This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. Anya comes off as such a strong woman, one who will do whatever it takes to look after her family, to survive, simultaneously attempting to do it the right (i.e. legal) way. She can come off as really obstinate at times, frustrating you as a reader, but she is also very loyal to those she loves. Even though Win was verbally abusive to her at times, she still made an effort to reconcile, to ask about him, to reach out to him when she had no one else to check on her sister Natty. Their interactions, although always separated by distance, were always heartfelt - at times awkwardly so.

I am really trying not to spoil the story here, but I will say that the last portion of the book, when Anya goes through her biggest struggle yet, I internally cheered for Zevin. I love that she went there, I love that she took the story there, and I love that she wasn't scared of imperfections. It was absolutely beautiful, and what followed was one of the most wonderfully, aching scenes between Win and Anya...I'll say this much: it involves strawberries. Oh my Lord.

Great ending to the series. One of the best endings to any series I've read. Bravo Zevin.
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on December 3, 2013
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this series, I did. But this one felt a little rushed and slow to me at the same time.

We are back with Anya and her family/friends. Her brother is still around and her best friend. Also, we get to see more characters in depth. We get to see more of Theo and his relationship with Anya, we also get to see more of another guy who I shall let you find out on your own. And of course, there is Win. Oh dear Win. I still loved him in this one.

Anya is faced with many choices in this one. She has some tough choices ahead of her. I liked seeing her run the club. I liked seeing her go to another country and I especially liked seeing her in the country house with her sister and Win. My favorite part of course.

I liked this one quite a bit but I just felt like it also kind of went slow. A lot happened but at times, I felt myself wanting to put the novel down.

I do think this story was amazing and I’m glad with the way things wrapped up. It was done nicely!

Overall: Still love Win! I loved Anya and Win together even though things aren’t always perfect and they have to go through alot together, and the whole time you're thinking are they going to end up together or what? It was so dramatic, yet good! I thought this series was pretty awesome! I didn’t like this one as much, its probably a 3.5 cupcake rating! But it was still a satisfying ending to the story!

Cover: Like it. I think it fits!

What I’d Give It: 3/5 Cupcakes
_____
Taken From Princess Bookie
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on August 28, 2015
dystopian-post-apocalyptic, romance, young-adult

A great finale novel to the Birthright Trilogy by Gabrielle Zevin. I found the series book 1 "All these things I've done" a little slow and difficult to begin with but I persevered and got into it and was motivated thereafter to read the entire series.
Crime - the chocolate mafia, mystery, romance and set futuristically this novel was interesting and its characters credible.
The chapter headings are in themselves real 'spoilers' but I somehow enjoyed knowing what was coming and really got into the Balanchine family especially the character Anya - she is so real, in your face and practical. I like that she has faith and morals and family values but is tempted and still 'sins' and can't control everything in her life despite her best efforts. I like hearing her commentary on her life it's like you are actually in her head or are a best friend and confidante...
As a finale it was satisfying but didn't resolve everything in a tidy way - really very real-life.
Zevin never breaks with the memoir style to push the narrative along and it just works so well.
Definitely a series worth reading.
Now that I am finished with this series ..."what's left for me [is] only loneliness".
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on December 31, 2014
If you like dystopia, the "Hunger Games", "Divergent", and "Starters", pick up this book. While it has tragic events, the world created by Zevin is memorizing and believable. Anya is a strong female role and a terrific narrator for this 2080 NYC novel (trilogy). It is a shame that more book stores do not have it on the shelf - which is why it's even more important to purchase the series together on Amazon. The style prevents dragging and keeps the readers at the edge of their seats. You will not be able to put them down once you start them. I am not once for romance, but the pieces of romance, the question on loyalty, birth-right and love in this book will strike it's audience and keep them thinking way after they finish.
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on December 23, 2013
While I agree with the other reviewer that this one had a quieter feel, I enjoyed the way Zevin wrapped up the story of her very likeable Anya. The back cover of the book made since as the story concludes with a theme about the value of love that has been tested and found true through the darker, less sexy times of life. This is a refreshingly true message for readers in contrast to the Romeo and Juliets of literature (no offense Shakespeare). And (skip this if you haven't read it yet...) I love that there is no kiss at the end. This is one of my favorite series of young adult lit.
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on June 27, 2015
Good finish to the series. I feel like the whole plot here progressed a little overly quickly, but I didnt hate it. I wasn't super crazy about the way the romance plot lines were wrapped up but I guess I didn't totally hate it. Definitely wasn't the best of the trilogy but it was still good. And felt like things were nicely wrapped up, good sense of closure.
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on October 17, 2014
This installment is really quite disappointing. It seemed a bit lazy and sloppy in character development and plot. It certainly did not inspire me to turn the page as rapidly as the first 2 installments. What an unfortunate way to close a trilogy. It would be unfair to claim the book is all bad. It is readable, but cannot hold a candle to the others.
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on May 22, 2014
Gabrielle Zevin is one of the most interesting and creative authors I've ever had the pleasure of discovering. The books I've read by her are amazing.
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