Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) By Jane Washington

    I'll start of by saying that I don't intend to offend the author or anyone who has read the book and liked it.

    This is my opinion.

    As this is my opinion, I'm going to speak the truth about what I think.

    Summed up in one image:

    Charcoal Tears felt like reading a damn copy of The Academy Series by C.L. Stone.

    That's the ugly truth.

    It's not the same word by word, but there are TOO MANY similarities existing between one and the other and you cannot expect me not to point them out when I've read The Academy books before.

    I'm not going to be a hypocrite denying that that was not one of the main reasons why I wanted to read Charcoal Tears. I'm a fan of The Academy and of course I'd like to read books alike. But I wasn't expecting this.

    As I don't see the book listed as a re-telling, or based on, or a fanfiction of; and as I spent, if not not all, but most of the reading time comparing them both, I dare to say that it was like reading a copy.

    I'll list my reasons:
    ►The Academy- Sang Sorenson is a 15 year old girl living with her father, mother and sister. Sang is physically and verbally abused by her mother, forced to be isolated and this behaviour is neglected by the other two members of her family.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Seraph is a 17 year old girl living with her father and brother. She's physically, verbally and, as she mentioned it, sexually abused by her father. Forced to work to be able to support her family. Luckyly, her brother is not indifferent to her situation. (This reminds me more of Kayli Winchester from the Scarab Beetle Series, which are also Academy books).

    ►The Academy- Sang meets 9 guys who belong to a secret organization named The Academy. They are grouped as a family/team:
    -Mr. Blackbourne (connection with The Academy)
    -Dr. Green (connection with The Academy)
    -Kota (team leader)

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Seraph meets only 4 guys, whom are Zhevghéri (?). From what I understood, they're people with some kind of powers.
    -Mr. Quillan (the...boss)
    -Silas smooth (Mr. Quillan's twin)

    To me, these 4 guys are a strange combination of the 9 Academy guys. If you haven't read The Academy, you won't understand what I mean. But if you have, tell me if I'm wrong:
    -Mr. Quillan= a bit of Mr. Blackbourne, Kota and Dr. Green together.
    -Silas= Mr. Blackbourne + North
    -Noah= a mix of Silas and Nathan
    -Cabe= Victor + Gabriel + Luke

    The same just in a smaller package.

    ►The Academy- Sang can identify each one of them by their smell or cologne.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Surprinsigly, Seraph also does this. Only with Cabe who smells like toffee (?) and Quillan.

    ►The Academy- Sang and the guys have a nickname for each other, except for Mr. Blackbourne and Dr. Green (kind of):
    Mr. Blackbourne/Miss Sorenson
    Dr. Green or Sean/Pookie
    Kota (not official yet)-10/52, but he calls her sweetie and sweetheart a lot
    North-North star/Sang baby
    Victor-Mr. Victor (not official yet)/Princess
    Silas (not official yet)- Superman/ Aggele or aggele mou (greek for angel or my angel)
    Luke (not official yet)-Always/Forever, meanwhile she's cupcake, sugar, sweetie, etc.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Guess what? Seraph also has nicknames for her guys. Although I don't remember if for all of them:
    Mr. Quillan-Mr. Bossman/not a name but he also calls her sweetheart, a lot.
    Cabe-Lucifer/ ?
    Noah-?/little ghost

    Now, the least subtle coincidence between these books, Silas’ nickname for Seraph: Angel.

    I don't care if Seraph means angel. #notcooldude

    ►The Academy- Sang has a thing with each one of the guys. A gesture or action just for the two of them. Like rubbing noses with Kota, love bites with North or finger bitting with Nathan. They also give her small tokens, like a bracelet from Victor or the wrist band from Silas.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- My interpretation of ↑ in this book, is what they call the girlfriend insurance. Seraph takes Quillans watch, Silas gets a tatoo that will be finished when he gets a girlfriend (because that's smart), Noah asks Seraph to get a piercieng and she's like yeah, sure. I'll do it (WTF?????), and I honestly don't remember what was Cabe's request but I bet something equally stupid.

    ►The Academy- On the third book of the series, Victor, Gabriel and Nathan take Sang on a shopping trip to the mall.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Cabe takes Seraph on a shopping trip to the mall. She feels like his ho (her words, not mine).

    ►The Academy- Sang has a stalker: Volto. He has followed her, taken pictures of her. Not sure if he's the one who plants fake bomb threats on her school.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Seraph also has a stalker: The Messenger. He obviously follows her and has taken pictures of her. He planted a bomb on her school.

    ►The Academy- Sang gets notes from random guys on her classes but she never reads them because The Academy guys always intercept them.

    ▷Charcoal Tears- Seraph gets notes from random guys on her classes, she reads one but now the Zhevghéri guys intercept them.

    Some other things that might seem dumb but I have to complain about:

    ●Sang has chameleon hair- Seraph has chameleon shoes.
    ●Victor has fire eyes- Cabe has toffee eyes (?)
    ●Mr. Blackbourne is Sang’s violin teacher- Mr. Quillan is Seraph’s art teacher
    ●Sang has a guy (Gabriel) who likes to dress her- Seraph has Clarin, a gay guy who obviously has to dress her.
    ●Academy guys keep secrets from Sang- Zhevghéri guys keep secrets from Seraph
    ●Academy guys go on secret jobs- Zhevghéri guys , yep, they go on secret jobs too
    ●Academy guys ground Sang- Zhevghéri guys ground Seraph
    ●Academy guys agree to keep things only in a platonic way with Sang- Zhevghéri guys “draw the line” about anything romantic with Seraph

    I’m sorry if I simply couldn’t overlook all of that. I'm an Academy nerd.

    *deep breath*

    Those are not the only reasons why I simply couldn't love the book. The fantasy element is too weak. They are Zhevghéri , but what in the world is that? Why do they have powers? Why Seraph has two abilities and two marks? Why do they have to be paired?

    It was a typical YA book: romance, flirting, high school, drama and almost no fantasy.

    Seraph is...strange. She has no friends, she suddenly meets these two guys and starts hanging out with them, she gets comfortable too soon walking in and out of their apartment as if she owned it, wearing their clothes, gets a sassy attitude and craves for their touch...who changes that fast?

    Then they say one day Hey, yo, Seph! We're moving to some magical city where our people lives

    Seph: okay!

    But your brother will stay here

    Seph: that's fine!

    One day you and all of us will be paired

    Seph: sure!

    The guys are real charmers:

    You're a miracle, Seraph. You're incredible. You just don't know it yet. Now get the hell out of my classroom

    Don't think like that about yourself, Seph. Even if you hadn't been one of us, we still have stalked you to the grave

    I’m done. I needed to say it.

    P.S. I'm so sorry I couldn't love this one, Siv :/ Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) I recently looked up the common methods of cult indoctrination - on HowStuffWorks, because I have no class - and came to a chilling conclusion; the Zevgheni are a cult, and Seph is in the process of joining.

    Every key step for indoctrinating a cult member (aka thought reform), listed in the linked article, is reflected in Charcoal Tears. See for yourself:

    - Step 1, Deception - cults trick new members into joining by misleading them or withholding information about the true nature of the group; they might even use a member's induced altered consciousness to increase vulnerability to suggestion. The Adairs and Quillans repeatedly dodge questions, keeping Seph in the dark about her own nature and the truth of their bond. They definitely benefit from her vulnerability due to her abusive father and stalker since it helps them gain her trust. When Seph asks for information on the bond, so she can decide for herself if it's something she wants, this is the response she gets:
    His expression hardened. Do you trust us?
    I nodded, but I wasn't entirely sure.
    I understand that it's a lot to ask, Seph... to blindly trust people in a situation like this. But it's for your own good. We can't answer that question just yet - soon, but not just yet.

    - Step 2, Isolation - Cults cut off members from the outside world. The members of the cult become the person's only social contact and feedback mechanism. Cults may not allow unsupervised contact with the outside world. From the moment Seph meets her pairs, she spends barely a moment outside of their company; if it were up to the boys she would probably never leave their side.
    Cabe looked a little incensed. We don't stalk her.
    If she didn't want to be friends, we probably would. Noah countered.
    Cabe tilted his head, considering this. Yeah, ok.
    Her old friend Matthew is cut from her life completely, even her brother Tariq barely sees her more than a few minutes at a time after she catches the Adair's attention. Case in point, after Seph receives a shock from her stalker and tries to tell Tariq:
    I should talk to Tariq too.
    No. Quillan brushed the hair from my face. Sorry, Seph. Seeing you like this will only upset him.
    The boys are extremely protective of Seph, essentially cutting her off from the world.

    - Step 3, Induced Dependency - Cults demand absolute, unquestioning devotion, loyalty and submission. A cult member's sense of self is systematically destroyed. The leader typically controls every minute of a member's waking time. There is no free time to think or analyze. Members are told what to eat, what to wear, when to sleep ... the member is removed from all decision-making. Within days of meeting the Adairs, Seph is living in their apartment, with her food, clothes, habits, and schedule all dictated by her new roommates. Because of the bond, she feels nauseous and unhappy whenever she isn't touching one of them. If that's not dependency, pray tell me what is. The pair seems to be designed to destroy independence.

    - Step 4, Dread - Once complete dependence is established, the member must retain the leader's good favor or else his life falls apart. Here's where it gets tricky, because it may not seem as though Seph is at the mercy of the Adairs and Quillans. But think about it. Seph has been abused all her life and is in dire need of affection, trust, and a leadership figure. When a group of guys enters her life and seems to want to take care of her, of course she jumps at the chance; this dependency is only intensified by the pair bonds. Seph is so desperate for someone to follow and trust that she accepts anything the boys throw at her. When told that she isn't allowed to know facts about her own nature, she doesn't question it. When told to stay in the Adairs' apartment for ten days straight, Seph doesn't even blink. Clearly she will do anything she's told.
    What would happen if she fell out of favor with the boys? Seph has shown that she is protective of them - . At the slightest hint that the bond may not be completed between her and her men, she has a full breakdown. Clearly her emotional stability depends on her relationship with them.

    This all looks very bad for our heroes. We should have trouble romanticizing a relationship with such creepy undertones. Noah and Cabe fully admit to stalking Seph in the middle of the book - how can that be construed as romantic when the main villain is also a stalker, albeit a much more sinister one? How come everybody still swoons at the thought of Silas, Miro, Noah, and Cabe?

    There's an explanation for that:
    The Dobler/Dahmer Theory. See: How I Met Your Mother, S08E15
    In the show, one of Ted's girlfriends illegally sets off a fire alarm (among other things) to meet him. Ted's friends call her crazy; Ted calls her romantic because he was into the gesture.
    If both people are into each other, then a big romantic gesture works: Dobler. But if one person isn't into the other, the same gesture comes off serial-killer crazy: Dahmer.
    While objectively the heroes might look like crazy cult members attempting to indoctrinate an abused, vulnerable girl into their Zevgheni group, one important factor changes the game: sexual attraction. The truth is, Seraph totally digs the whole experience. She loves the attention and the racy steamy moments. So is it really wrong to indoctrinate someone if they're enjoying the hell out of it?


    I'm coming down on the Dahmer side; I still think Seph's developing relationship is unhealthy and really sketchy.

    But I know I'm in the minority, so I plan on continuing the series to see if something will change my mind. Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) Welcome to Chesca's fantastical ONE STAR review of Charcoal Tears!

    Firstly, let's begin with the main character, Seraph. Ugh, who calls their main character Seraph? Doesn't that mean angel or something stupid? Like SOOOOO pretentious. She's also artistic and looks after her younger brother, taking on abuse herself from her father to keep her little bro safe. Ugh, she's clearly just added this in to trick us into feeling sorry for this whore.

    And then we have four guys. FOUR GUYS. Can you believe it? So the author wants us to believe Seraph is a sweet little angel, but she's got 4 BOYFRIENDS?
    - One of them, Silas, is a psychopath. ....And nobody finds psychopaths hot right?
    - The other is her art teacher, Miro (artistic, older and sexy? ugh who could go for that? He's also Silas' twin, and gosh, isn't that weird and totally not omg so hot. )
    - The other two are just manwhores with no depth. (Like there's totally nothing else to them, Cabe isn't funny at all, and Noah is soooo not caveman perfection.)

    Okay, so as well as having 4 new hot boyfriends, being a full time attention whore & being named like a pretentious angel. Seraph also has special powers - also so unoriginal... it's not like I can't name like millions of other books where the main character tells the future through paintings...... *Tries to think of any..... fails* well... ANYWAY..... my point totally fucking stands okay. Screw you Washington.

    Also, there's just no story here....
    - it's not like we've got a whole complex interesting world within the normal world, the Zevs or anything.
    - It's not like there's so much backstory and thought gone into the whole damn series.... at all.
    - It's not like the author writes beautifully and packed with enough action and intrigue to keep your interest throughout the whole 4 book series.
    - It's not like the side characters are well thought out and beautiful funny characters in their own rights. *Coughs* Poison & Clarin *coughs*

    Who would wanna read this shit?

    So if you haven't worked it out, by the fact my review is actually rated 5 stars and the fact this is all crazy bullshit, this is satire. Jane is fabulous, and I may or may not stalk her. Shhhhh! Don't tell her! And you should add this to your TBR List fucking right now. Got it guys? Good!

    Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) ✅ Reverse-Harem (very mild for now)
    ✅ Pace
    ✅ Plot / Intrigue
    ✅ Special abilities / Worldbuilding
    ✅🆗 Characters
    🆗 High school / Jealous girls drama
    🆗 Romance

    Seraph Black lives alone with her abusive father and her younger brother and tries her best to protect her brother Tariq, work so her family has some money to buy food, and be invisible at home and at school. That is until sexy and charismatic Cabe and Noah enroll at her school and decide to adopt her as their new BFF. Add to that Miro and Silas, two men that she already knew and who also feel very protective of her, and Seraph ends up with an entourage of sexy guys who would do anything for her. As she tries to accept the fact that she now has friends and people that care about her, Seraph also has to deal with a Stalker who entered her home many times and threatened her, and she also hopes to learn more about some special abilities that have been manifesting in her lately.

    I was a little skeptical of this book after reading the first few chapters because it started with the whole high school jealous girls and typical mean girl/bully drama, which I am not a fan of. At all. But I enjoyed the Curse of the Gods series so much, I gave this book another chance and continued reading and I was not disappointed. This book is quite entertaining!

    Seraph is a nice main character, as are Cabe, Noah, Silas, and Miro. While we don't know the guys that much because there are 4 of them, and the story is in Seraph's POV, we can still see their personalities and they are all different and lovable. Seraph is sweet and quite resilient/strong for holding it together, but I also found her kind of mellow... Or at least very compliant with the guys ordering her around and deciding that she had to move, to change school, and to trust them without having all the information... Don't worry, they're not doing it as part of an abusive pattern, their worry is keeping Seraph safe. Still, she asked questions, but when she was told that she needed to trust them, she just agreed to everything. She also accepted the fact that Noah and Cabe inserted themselves into her life (they are in every one of her classes, they want her to eat at their table, and they invite her to their place) pretty easily. She had a few moments of questioning herself, you know the how the fuck did I end up in this situation in the span of 3 days? but she still rolled with it. Despite that though, the characters are nice enough and they can also be very funny, I laughed out loud a few times while reading this book.

    This story is a mix of intrigue, because Seraph and her guys are trying to evade the stalker, and find out who he is and what he wants, and paranormal because Seraph has these mysterious abilities and she learns that there is a name for it, as well as a name for people with her type of abilities. There is in fact a whole community of people with abilities that live among ordinary humans.

    This is also a reverse-harem, but it is very mild so far, and I am expecting it to be a slow-burn so, besides a few kisses and a lot of hugging and cuddling, there is not much smut in this book. Still, Charcoal Tears is a quick, entertaining, and sexy read, and I will most definitely continue with this series.

    Follow me on Instagram 🙂 Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) Holy s***!
    Its freaking The academy with fantasy and horror elements!
    DAMN! One of my fav books of the year. And its a YA...

    I dont even know where to start with this. Although there are a lot of references from CL stones academy series, meaning
    - abusive parent
    - reverse harem
    - one sibling
    - stalker
    - bomb on school ground
    - family bonds
    - more mature the more you read, and more hot..mmm

    It still didn't feel like complete rip off. Strange. There are so many similarities but i still adore Charcoal tears, and our heroine, Seph. And my oh my.. Siles. sighs. HELLOOOO! hotness, violence and all that. drool

    If you want suspens, action, twist and turns, pain, groving (NOT insta) affection - but still magic bond and everything between you gotta try this gem.

    Did I mention reverse harem? squeek

    Thanks Jane, awsome book. And uh. btw - WANT BOOK 2 NOW! Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1)

    “You see, there is safety in simplicity… in a life of simple peace, where the electricity doesn’t dance across the backs of my eyelids, and the sparks don’t slither over my consciousness. Only asinine peace, where my paintings don’t seem to paint themselves, leaving me with terrible feelings of premonition and a chill beneath my fingernails.”

    Seraph Black used to think that she was prepared for anything. She could last days without eating and she always walked away from the violent altercations with her father relatively unharmed. She survived working at the club and the drive to school every day in her mother’s rust-bucket of a car… but it all changed when Noah and Cabe came bulldozing into her life, careless of the precious secrets they picked apart in their quest to take over her world. She was even less prepared for the mysterious Miro and Silas, and nothing could have prepared her for the bond. The connection. The reason for it all.

    Someone wanted her to stay away from her new friends, but she wasn’t willing to do that.

    Everyone had secrets.

    She wanted to know theirs. They wanted to own hers.

    And the stalker?

    He seemed to know everything already. Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1)

    Well the strangest thing happened when I finished the book and stopped to give my rating - a flock of flying pigs flew past my window (say that five times fast), I just realised I had just given a 4 star rating to a YA book AAAAAAAARGHHH!!!
    Yes it's true a real 4 star rating who would have believed this day would happen, certainly not me. A 5 star of course is when hell freezes over and I have to admit having a few chills when reading this book but I resisted the feeling and ploughed ahead.
    Damn this was a good start to a series, highly recommended for those who are looking for something seething with potential and even better it was free the last time I looked.
    Here is the gist of the story without giving anything away:
    Seraph Black is ...... and meets ...... and has...... but there is ......attraction.....angst.....explosions.......beatings.... a new town ......oh boy give me more.....who would have thought .... new friends....death... THE END - Nooooooooo it can't end like this!!!!
    Okay where's the next book - All I know is Jane is going to have work damn hard to keep this up.

    Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) No thanks.
    I'm so disappointed after reading all those raving reviews, and I'm obviously the odd man out, but I absolutely hated this book and the characters. I'm actually angry I finished it and didn't just DNF like I should have.
    I'm trying not to write an ugly review, but I have to say I need more world building and character development. The MC just annoyed me to death, but, to others this could be the best book they will ever read, so good luck if you try it. I'm defiantly skipping this series though.
    It's so sad because I really enjoy Jane Washingtons writing style and other series, so I'm chalking it up to being me, maybe I'm not built for characters like these and the it's me not you might work for this series.
    Anyways, don't let my bad experience deter you, flavors of books are different for everyone, this series just might be your chunky monkey :) Happy reading. Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) Cliffhanger ending.

    DNF disliked the protagonist. She's a 17 year old artist who is dense, gullible, weak, has low self esteem, is socially awkward, painfully shy, lacks self preservation & common sense I could go on but I'm sure my point was made. She has no redeemable personality traits. She's supposedly beautiful, magically gifted with 2 rare abilities, & every hot guy (that matters) wants her so of course every female hates her. She’s so special she doesn't just get paired with 2 guys but 4.
    The 4 H in this story felt one dimensional & I disliked the fact they're unbearably bossy.
    The story was an exercise in reader frustration & incredibly juvenile considering 2 of the 4 guys paired with her are 25. Hot mess, even for a YA it was particularly annoying. I wouldn't Recommend this to anyone I liked. 1 star so glad it was free. Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) Here's YOUR chance to WIN one of SEVEN eCopies from Jane Washington!

    International - Click on Banner to Enter! - Ends November 2, 2015

    Meet Seraph Black. She’s a survivor, she’s proven it, time and again. Just stay calm, stay under the radar and keep surviving, not always easy, but it works, or at least it had until her world changes with just the screech of some tires. Cue the music, backlighting and action…two of the most overpowering and handsome teens to ever grace her school have arrived, and they make it their mission to stick to Seraph like white on rice. Noah and Cabe are larger than life, hotter than Hades and they know more about Seraph’s secrets than she does, perhaps because they have secrets of their own? What of Miro and Silas? With their own air of power and mystery, they too are part of Seraph’s new world, a world where Seraph is being stalked, threatened and spied on, a world where her very privacy becomes fodder for the school gossip mills. Who is out to get Seraph? Why? Is it because of the mysterious power of her paintings? What do they know that she doesn’t and why do they want to kill her?

    Enter Seraph’s world, meet “the boys” and discover who and what Seraph is, right along with her. Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington is like falling through the rabbit hole into a deadly encounter in another world unknown to humans and it was hard to leave behind when the last page was finished. Visualize the world through Seraph’s eyes, see her struggle to believe in and accept that she needs these guys as much as they need her, but is her real Prince Charming among them? Are they all her champions in their own way? Will they keep her safe and destroy the stalker before it’s too late or will they find this veiled evil too powerful to destroy?

    When the story teller is this brilliant, this creative and knows how to “set the hook” this well, there is always room for another great YA fantasy! All hail the level-headed heroine, the lack of whiny angst and of course, the hot heroes! Jane Washington is setting the bar high for herself, with clever dialogue, a hint of humor, shrouded threats and an entirely new race to learn about. I have the feeling the ending will torture me until I get my hands on the next book in this series. Until then, all I can say is, “No, you did not just write that…and…”

    I received this copy from Jane Washington in exchange for my honest review.

    Series: Seraph Black - Book 1
    Publication Date: September 14, 2015
    Publisher: Jane Washington
    Genre: YA Fantasy | Coming of Age
    Print Length: 268 pages
    Available from: Amazon
    For Reviews & More:

    Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1) Meh. It happens everyday that you go from school ghost to having two hot brothers shadow you everywhere, right? Right. Reverse harem book, but strictly PG. Nothing hinky happens in this YA book. Seraph is a little too emo for me to like. Charcoal Tears (Seraph Black, #1)

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