For starters it felt like I was reading one of my PNR books given how often the succubus side flared and the feelings of lust that came with. I wondered exactly how this fit into the YA genre so I ended up looking it up. Goodreads lists this as a book which spans the gap between ya and adult. While the main character was 18, it was really just a short step away from the PNR adult stuff. There wasn’t really anything other then some kissing and the discussion of lust but the fact that we have a part succubus demon means that there is a lot of discussion of lust.
The story here is that we have Val Shapiro, a vampire slayer. She is part succubus and after an evening out hunting (which she does to help control the demons hunger and desires) where her younger sister tagged along by hiding out in the back of the car, she gets kicked out of her house. Her mother and step father don’t want her sister to be in danger so Val has to move out. Too young, broke, alone, and unskilled to have any real ideas of what to do, she calls the cop she met the night before and asks if they need her help. She gets a job for the SCU which is a special unit designed to deal with the supernatural. It seems that vampire drainings and killings are on the rise. There is a movement by at least some camps to mainstream and they have started blood banks and only drink from volunteers. The leader of this movement, Alejandro seems to be sincere but Val and her new partner Dan are skeptical. Then Val’s sister Jen goes missing. It appears that she has gotten herself mixed up in the movement and not everyone in the movement agrees with the message Alejandro is showing to the public. But is he really a good guy or is he the leader of the big bad group of vampires? Val sets out to save her sister and then another family member disappears. She has to get to the bottom of the crime by the vampires and save her family.
I liked that this book seemed to stand alone. While I know that there are more in this series the plot here stood on it’s own and there was no crazy big cliff hanger at the end. There is room to continue with the world and the characters (obviously since there are already 2 more and a third on the way) but it was a solid story all on it’s own too. We got a nice little world with the demons and police who are aware of the supernatural and the idea that some of the vamps want to mainstream. Not that that is anything unique. I could rattle off at least a dozen books, especially if I include the PNR stuff, where this is the case. But unique here is the setting (Sn Antonio, really? What vamp in their right mind would pick such a sunny warm dry place? But what do I know?) and the dog. While I have read other books with very protective hellhounds, Fang is in a league all his own. He is TOTALLY AWESOME and he speaks to Val in all caps. I loved him. It took a mere three lines from Fang before I fell head over heels for him. His snark and ‘tude is the perfect compliment to Val and her insecurities. Dan is pretty cool, Ramirez too. While I do think that Dan goes a little too bananas to come around as easily as he does after he discovers the truth about Val, I realize that a reader can’t have everything most of the time.
I think there was evidence of a struggle here though. For someone merely 18 our main character is awfully mature. Without the mention of her age in the beginning it would have been more believable if we thought she was slightly older and still living at home for some reason. And she took to police work without any training a little too easy. the story occurs over the course of less then a month but she’s already a pro at investigating and stuff (not to mention, I am writing this 6 chapters into the second book where it is confirmed that we are talking about a very short time frame (although there is an inconsistency in the next book with respect to the amount of time passed, but oh well…) where her whole world changes but Val’s totally one of the gang with the demons now, and comfortable? It is a little too fast, even for fiction). The comments about her taking martial arts but not having to stick with themvey long because she just understood and could emulate the masters just from watching… Well, I get that she was home schooled and taught some things that way. But even for fiction it was all a little too easy and she took to the new job a little too easy. Seeing a few more mistakes on her part and having a little time pass for her to train and be trained would have made it feel more “real”.
The chemistry that supposedly existed between her and Dan felt a little like the author was reaching. And since it felt like the author went to great lengths to let us know that there is supposed to be a real attraction there and it’s not just the succubus, I needed more interaction and dialogue between them. The overall scheme of relationships among all of the characters felt pretty solid though. I like the prephieral characters and hope we see more of them. I also really like Shade and the concept behind his demon nature. I can’t express enough how much I want more Fang! I think he needs his own book. And I hope we learn more about where that little mutt came from.
The writing wasn’t award winning as it was a little inconsistent (as already noted). And there were literary elements that were missing which could have definitely improved ont the overall experience (better foreshadowing, etc.). A little more in the way of setting the scene sometimes would have been nice. And the action was inconsistent too. It sometimes felt like two different people writing the action scenes. But they were still pretty fun. And the scene where Shade healed Dan was one of the best scenes from a writing perspective – I got more details and it was much easier to picture that in my head then other scenes were.
But, I am nitpicking. To me the most important question is “did I enjoy what I read?” regardless of anything else, if the answer to that is yes, then to me the book was a good one. Here, my answer to that question is a resounding yes! While far from unique, this was a fun little read and I am looking forward to the next one in the series!