The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer
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.
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.