Fantasy Book Review: The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill

The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer

Official Synopsis:
Joss McMillan’s perfect life crashes down the night he witnesses his sister’s murder — at the hands of a vampire. He then finds out his family’s secret heritage: They are part of the Slayer Society, a group whose mission is to rid the world of vampires. Joss is their new recruit. As Joss trains, bent on seeking revenge for his sister, he discovers powers that could make him the youngest, strongest Slayer in history. But there is a traitor in the Society, one whose identity would shake Joss to the core . . . if the traitor doesn’t kill him first.

Review:
This new series is a spin-off of Brewer’s Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. While they mirror some of the events in the previous series, the Slayer Chronicles can be read wholly on its own. This series focuses on Joss McMillan, a talented but friendless thirteen-year-old who is destined to be the next vampire slayer thanks to the training of the secret Slayer Society. Though Joss wants revenge for his sister, he doesn’t have the unfeeling, uncaring heart that is required to be a Slayer. His training is dark and torturous. And it’s soon evident that the lines of good and evil are blurred.

First Kill is first in a planned five-book series following Joss’s adventures. Joss is a likable character, strong but confused about his treatment by his uncle, a harsh, cruel man. His vengeance drives him, but his conscience often contradicts. A dark, suspenseful story – this first installment follows Joss’s training and entrance into the Slayer Society. There is no happy ending here, but follows more in the vein of a gothic horror geared towards young adults. I loved Brewer’s worldbuilding and strong characters steeped in mystery. I’ll definitely be following this series for the ride. And I haven’t read any of the earlier Vladimir Tod books, though I will be now.

SciFi Book Review: Glitch

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Seventeen-year-old Zoel (Zoe) is living in a Community where everyone is Linked by computer ports in their brains. Chips are implanted to repress all emotion, so everyone can focus on logic and community. All anomalies are supposed to be reported to the authorities. But when Zoe starts to glitch, the feelings and sensations are so new and exciting there’s no way she can go back to being an emotionless zombie. But even more surprising, her glitch has given her a telekinetic power. And she’s not alone.

Zoe and the other teens that are glitching have X-Men-like powers that make for some exciting reading. She gets in the middle of a tense love triangle involving her friend Max who can change his appearance and Adrien who has visions of possible futures – specifically one involving Zoe. It’s clear right away who Zoe will choose, as the other gets so jealous and selfish he becomes over-the-top villainous. People like him are the reason the V-chip was created. It’s an interesting premise that Anastasiu has developed – a dystopian world where humanity has become fueled by logic alone. Spock from Star Trek, anyone? But the V-chip isn’t a choice, and Zoe soon views it as slavery.

I was hooked from the start with the intense suspense and danger of being caught, and Zoe is a likeable heroine who puts other above her own wellbeing. This science fiction thriller is geared towards young adults, but older adults who enjoyed Hunger Games, Matched, or Insurgent should check this out as well. Glitch is a fast-paced, dystopian adventure that was entirely riveting, surprising, and unpredictable. This is has certainly made my list of favorites of the year. First in a new trilogy, this impressive debut is off to a promising start.


Glitch releases from St. Martin’s Griffin on August 7, 2012.

Book Giveaway: Kill Shot

Courtesy of Atria Books, I have a copy of Kill Shot by Vince Flynn for one (1) lucky winner!

1st chapter excerpt: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Kill-Shot/Vince-Flynn/9781416595205/excerpt
Video: http://youtu.be/oCANCaPV2W4

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 24. I’ll draw a name on August 25, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: Kill Shot

Fantasy Book Review: Blood of Innocence

Blood of Innocence by Tami Dane

Official Synopsis:
A cynic by nature, Sloan Skye wasn’t thrilled when she was assigned to the FBI’s Paranormal Behavioral Analysis Unit. But her doubts are slowly easing, especially when she sees that working on the fringe allows her to use some of her more unconventional tactics. Most of all, Sloan’s grateful her career is on track – because her love life, if you can even call it that, is in shambles. Sloan is searching for a suspect who slays his female victims at night, and bizarrely drains their bodies of blood. Bad enough, but when Sloan learns what the killer is really after, she can barely sleep at night. When the suspect guns for someone very close to Sloan, it’s time to throw out the rules and face her deepest fears…

Review:
Sloan is a guarded young woman, who has been through a lot of recent changes in her life and tries to keep the men in her life at arm’s length. She has a couple men who would love to date her, but she doesn’t want any personal relationships to interfere with her position and future at the FBI. Lesser women would break, but she remains strong and determined.

This is the second installment in this riveting police procedural meets urban fantasy series. I haven’t read the first, but had no trouble at all keeping up with the story or characters. Sloan’s current case is a bizarre serial killer that gets bolder and creepier as the story progresses. I was pleasantly surprised by the fun humor, dramatic suspense, and budding romance that flowed throughout. Fans of urban fantasy and police procedural /detective fiction will enjoy this latest exciting installment.

SciFi Book Review: Technomancer

Technomancer by BV Larson

Official Synopsis:
When Quentin Draith wakes up in a private sanatorium, he has no memory of who he is or how he received the injuries riddling his body. All he knows is that he has to get out, away from the drugs being pumped into him and back to the real world to search for answers. His first question: How did his friend Tony’s internal organs fill with sand, killing him in a Las Vegas car crash?

After a narrow escape, he tracks down the basic facts: he is an investigator and blogger specializing in the supernatural—which is a good thing, because Quentin’s life is getting stranger by the minute. It seems he is one of a special breed, a person with unusual powers. He’s also the prime suspect in a string of murders linked by a series of seemingly mundane objects. The deeper he digs and the harder he works to clear his name, the more Quentin realizes that some truths are better off staying buried…

Review:
This is a new twist on what feels like a familiar detective urban fantasy story. The main character, Quentin Draith, can’t recall anything about who he is or anything about his past. He only has vague (but accurate) intuitions that help keep him alive in harrowing situation. The fantasy in the story actually takes a turn into science fiction in a wild, complex plot that was fast-paced and full of adventure.

For anyone who has seen the Syfy miniseries The Lost Room (2006), the artifacts/objects in this story will be very familiar. But these objects aren’t as central to the plot as in The Lost Room. This is a promising new series that urban fantasy fans will enjoy. With plenty of humor, suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance – Technomancer was a surprisingly fresh and fun read.

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