You have probably never heard of Annie Woods or First Came Forever before, have you? Until a couple months ago, me either. But it seemed that Annie Woods’ first novel was appearing everywhere on our blog’s Instagram feed, like it was giving me a sign. I was lucky: I won a signed copy of the book from Annie Woods herself and I couldn’t wait to dive into the story because I have heard so many good things about it.
Eighteen-year-old Erica Lindell is on a backpacking trip with her friends through South-East Asia. Unfortunately, the trip is anything but fun for Erica since the only thing her friends want to do is party. When she takes off to explore the surroundings on her own, she doesn’t expect to fall into the arms of Sasha Ailes. Sasha is charming and fascinating and so much different from any other guy she’s ever met. Erica and Sasha fall hopelessly in love with each other and spend a few amazing days together. But when Erica finds out Sasha’s big secret, she questions everything: her life, her choices and her love for Sasha.
Writing this review is going to be so difficult because I don’t want to give anything away. What I can tell you is that I liked the initial story of this novel. It’s not original or even unique but I’m pretty sure it’s something every girl has dreamed about at least once in her life and why not experience it through a book. 😉
Erica and Sasha’s relationship was unique and wild, but difficult. That difficulty was actually what made their relationship more real and believable in my eyes, which I really liked. Because what Erica and Sasha have only seems like a fairytale, the reality, however, is far from a fairytale, unfortunately.
I must say I was really impressed with Annie Woods’ way of describing places. First Came Forever takes the reader to a lot of different places and each one of those places was described so vividly and with so much detail as if I’ve been there myself. I’m wondering if Annie has been to all of those places herself? It can’t be just from seeing pictures online or in travel magazines.
The heroine, Erica, was a character after my own heart. She likes to travel, she’s a bookworm and she prefers a movie night over a hip party. What I absolutely loved about Erica was her sense of justice and staying true to herself. Even though Erica was madly in love with Sasha, she didn’t always agree with Sasha’s way of thinking and especially his family traditions. Instead of giving in and telling him what he wanted to hear just to avoid a fight, she addressed the issues and called him out on it. She didn’t back down once which made her a really strong character in my eyes.
Sasha is the guy every girl wants to be with – he’s a dream come true. That was true for the first third of the story, though. Then, not so much anymore: he turned out to be pushy, small-minded and extremely jealous. He didn’t outright tell Erica, but Sasha wanted her to adapt to his lifestyle and his way of thinking. He didn’t encourage Erica “to lie exactly, but maybe not [to tell] the truth all the time either”. Yeah right! What kind of guy is this to keep his girlfriend from telling her opinion, only because it reflects badly on him. He’s a real charmer for sure! *insert sarcasm here*
There is another character I really liked: Tyler. He’s Mr. Popular at Erica’s high school and the star of the school’s lacrosse team. He’s also cocky, arrogant and dates the hottest girl in school who is also a cheerleader. Yeah, I know! How can I like a walking cliché? On the surface, Tyler is just that: an annoying cliché and not very kind. But under the surface… ❤ Tyler was a secondary character only, at least in the beginning of the book. But the further the story went along, the more important did he become to the story and to Erica. But let me be clear: this book is not a love triangle!
As you may or may not know, I usually do not pay too much attention to secondary characters. There are just there to spice up the story and so many of them are just annoying and way over the top. Ricky and Danny, however, were amazing secondary characters. I loved the friendship between those two and that they welcomed Erica with open arms.
As I already mentioned, I really liked the initial storyline. However, the story dragged a little in the middle. It seemed to me as if I was getting a completely different story from what I gathered from reading the blurb and reading the first half of the book. Not that it was bad, it was just not what I had hoped for. Nevertheless, when I finished the book I finally understood why Annie chose to write what she had written.
One thing I didn’t like was the insta-love between Erica and Sasha. It was just way over the top.
I also wasn’t quite happy with the typos throughout the book. I don’t mind a small one here and there but this novel contained way too many for a published one.
If you decide to give Annie Woods and First Came Forever a chance, be prepared for a major cliffhanger! That ending is something I didn’t see coming at all. I still can’t believe that the story did such a 180-degree turn.
I’ve talked to a fellow blogger and bookstagrammer of ours and we both have come up with several scenarios of what is going to happen in book 2. We will soon see who of us did have the right intution concerning the sequel. Maybe both of us are wrong and Annie comes up with a completely different story after all. We can’t wait for book 2 in The Angelheart Saga!
The sweet story, the strong heroine, and especially the shocking ending with that major plot twist made me give Annie Woods’ debut novel a solid four star rating. You should definitely check it out yourself.