zondag 8 mei 2011

Jaye Wells – Red-headed stepchild

The first book in the Sabina Kane series, published April 2009.

Red-Headed stepchild

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin – the only profession fit for an outcast – doesn’t help matters. But she’s never brought her work home. Until now.
Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she’s on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal …
This time, it’s personal.

Sabina is a half vampire – half mage. Her vampire grandmother has raised her since birth, and totally brainwashed her. As a result, Sabina is loyal to her grandmother and the Dominae, meaning the ruling council of the vampires of which her grandmother is the highest member. She is totally ignorant about all the other paranormal beings sharing their world, and sees humans as little more than food. Adamites she calls them. Vampires are born of Lilith, and immortal. Only things made from apples, the sacred tree, can kill them. So apple juice, or a apple wooden stake through their heart. When it hits their blood, they explode and burn into flames.
Sabina is raised as an assassin, due to her impure blood, she was not good enough for the temple, like her grandmother. So having no other choice, she became quite good at her job. And then one night she has to murder her friend David. According to her grandmother, he has betrayed them. And when she doesn’t hesitate to kill him, she gets a new assignment. There is a half vampire, half demon named Clovis who has started a new church, and is luring vampires away from the Dominae. So he has to be stopped. Sabina is to infiltrate his church, find out his secrets, and kill him. And to do that, the Dominae will suspend her from her duties, and Sabina will have to pretend to be out of their favour, and willing to seek other employment.

Doing her best to fulfil her duty, as she is a loyal vampire, she finds out her grandmother doesn’t care a thing about her, is only using her as a tool. Her father’s people never knew of her existence, but now that they do, they want to meet with her. And she seems to have a twin sister, who is one of the leaders of the mages, the Hekatae. Sabina is not willing to accept everything the mage Adam tells her. Why should he tell her this, why now? After all, she is 52 years, where were they all her life?
There are hints of her future, of prophecies, of being a chosen one. But Adam doesn’t tell her everything, and he does want to teach her magic. Her father was a powerful mage, and so will she be after some training.

In the end there is a huge battle between Clovis’ people, Sabina and Adam and some friends, and her grandmothers warriors. And Sabina will have to choose where her loyalty lies. Can she switch allegiance?

I’ve read a number of glowing reviews about this book, and this series, which made me want to read it. But unfortunately, the book didn’t do it for me. I didn’t like Sabina, didn’t think her strong enough. Yes, she was a trained assassin, but without help she couldn’t save herself. A demon is sicced on her to kill her, and when that doesn’t work, she is stuck with him. And that demon just sits on her couch, drinks beer, eats cheese-chips and watches tv all day long, using her credit card to tele shop? And she just accepts that? What kind of attitude is that? Of course there were some fun things with their relationship as well, when he turned into a cat and she brought him with her on her next mission. But for a demon, he wasn’t really evil or angry of so with being stuck, just sulking.
It also irritated me when I finally found out that mancies is another word for mages. What kind of word is that? And Sabina kept using it throughout the story, but also the word mage or warlock. If you use a word for something, be consistent.
There was mention of a secret cult, the amulet of Lilith which she was not supposed to be able to see, and the strange birthmark on her shoulder.
Okay, it was a debut book, and the story itself was nice, but it just didn’t grab me. I got no connection with Sabina, or with Adam, at all. Events happen in the book, and Sabina goes where she is told to go. But she had no influence on what happened, and no idea what to do. In the end, she betrayed every party. Okay, they were all bad, but still. I just prefer my heroines stronger, more kick ass, more independent and though.

I probably will read the next book, just to see what will happen. But for now, this book just didn’t do it for me.

5 stars.

2 opmerkingen:

  1. Not for you, too bad :( I do think I might feel the same cos I read this short story and could not connect at all

  2. This cookie cutter urban fantasy lost me on the first page. When she killed David, her best lifelong friend, without letting him say a word in his defense she became too cold for me. I have to have alittle compassion and empathy in my assassins. Although she finally realizes her mistake, she never redeems herself in my eyes. I could be sorry for killing my best friend. But then she goes on to do stuff that will bite her in the butt. I am sorry I bought it. I read the reviews before I buy, but these reviews let me down. I read so much that I have become much more critical of the copycat writers out there.