Long time geek, fangirl, mother, and reader. I've got a lot to say, you might not like it all, but it will be honest and hopefully helpful.
I was loaned this book via a Kindle library loan from my uncle. The loan expired today before I could finish the book. To be honest, it felt like a stay of execution, because I was forcing myself to read it.
If a young reader enjoyed Twilight, and likes/identifies with LGBTQ character I would highly recommend this book for them. While I did not enjoy reading this book, it’s not a terrible book. In fact, I think it is a good book for a YA reader, especially if they are a fan of gay romance and vampires. The book does have graphic sexual content, but I don't see anything wrong with a teen reader enjoying it. While it features vampires it stays on the lighter, romantic fantasy side of the genre (far away from their horror genre roots). I could be a great read for fans of these kinds of stories, I'm just not that person.
I did not enjoy this book on many levels. A lot of it boils down to very clumsy world building, cliched dialogue and storytelling, and very a unpolished narrative writing style that made portions of the book feel more like an outline of a story (epic amounts of info dumping and telling verse showing). I could blame these issues on poor editing, but I think it’s less about that and more about the focus of the story which was the romance.
All these component of the story, the vampire mythology to the supporting characters and side story about the vampire hunters are tent polls meant to prop up the story of Robbie and Colt, but they’re poorly constructed. A hard shake and the entire thing comes down like a house of cards. Too many things are going on, and many of them are poorly constructed and clumsily executed. The story would have been better off with most of these details being cut down or removed entirely from the story.
Robbie and Colt’s story was a pretty standard young adult romance fantasy, which I’ve read too many times to invest in it yet again. Robbie is the typical shy, insecure ingenue we see in every romance be it gay or straight. Likewise Colt is the standard issue leather-clad bad boy with a vampire upgrade. Add a heaping dose of 'insta-love' and we have the romance at the center of Forever Young. Cue me falling asleep.
The only part of the story that did catch my interest was the storyline about the vampire hunters. Dylan and Issa friendship and tentative romance was surprisingly nuanced and compelling as hell. Their journey through training school was far more intriguing to me than the main story. Especially, when you look at how their journey thematically mimics the journey closeted kids in Conservative Christian communities and cults. They begin to question the way they are raised, while dealing with their own personal identity and struggle to reconcile it all. Which is a very real, relatable young adult journey, that I found fascinating to read. I would have loved to read a book just about them.
At the end of the day, I still think the book would appeal to readers interested in the gay version of the vampire romance fantasy. However, I would not recommend it for big fans of vampire lore or readers who want the strong world building. Or anyone who isn't interested in a tidy, unchallenging romantic stories.