But let's try tonight :) I've really been into urban fantasy and fantasy books lately and have picked up some recommendations over at SciFiGuy - a really awesome source for everything urban fantasy and fantasy.
So here is one of them...
Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
published by Orbit in April 2009
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.Genre: Urban Fantasy
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.
Series: Sabine Kane, book #1
The Story: Sabina is half-vampire, half-mage in a world where union between mage and vampire is forbidden. To say that her parentage has made her life difficult is putting it mildly... especially when you're the granddaughter of the vampire leader. As a result, Sabina has spent most of her life trying to win her grandmother's approval, even if it means becoming an assassin.
However, Sabina starts to wonder if her family approval is really worth everything... especially after killing one of her friends, a so-called traitor... and finding out that the Dominae, her vampire house, is hiding a lot from her. Then, of course, there's the hunky mage making noises about her mage family and her gifts...
My Opinion: I was attracted to this book for one reason - the heroine is an assassin. For some reasons, I like my main characters to be assassins, although it bodes badly for the romance most of the time ^_^;
What did I think of Red-Headed Stepchild? It was an enjoyable and fast read. I like the author's writing style. Easy to read and very fluid. Ms Wells doesn't go on and on. She's actually very straightforward in her style, which suits me well.
The world building is quite interesting so far. Ms Wells doesn't go much in details yet, so readers are spared the world building information dumping. I'm thinking that we'll get more information as we go along. So far, I enjoy the idea of mages and vampires feuding, although I'd like to know the extent of every race's powers. One thing that makes Ms Wells' vampires stand out and an idea that I really like is the hair. All vampires have red hair and their age is reflected by the shade of red. Quite original.
Where it gets a bit shaky is the heroine, Sabina Kane. She's a bit of a stereotype - tough assassin heroine, but with a vulnerable heart. She's blind to her family's action, because she seeks their approval, until the truth is revealed. A bit cliché right? and of course, she doesn't trust easily, but yeah, what did I expect? The thing is, her character seemed a bit inconsistent to me... a bit too vulnerable. She switched side too fast - actually, all the internal conflict about her character and her feelings for the Dominae evolved too fast. As a result, it was not very believable - readers are not convinced. Why would everything happen now, all at the same time, to open her eyes... a bit too convenient, right? Was she that loyal to her house to begin with? Also, I thought she could have been tougher. She came close to death quite a number of times in this book... While readers don't want an invincible heroine, we don't want a weakling who acts tough either.
I liked Adam's character, the mage sent to find Sabina. He's very likable and I hope something deeper will develop between Sabina and him. I'm looking forward to getting to know him better. I also liked Giguhl, the demon/cat side-kick, he was fun :)
The plot is also interesting. There were some nice twists and turns and it sets up the series quite well. I'm quite curious about the prophecy and I do wonder, who's more of a danger for Sabina - her grandmother or Lilith, the vampire goddess. I could have done without the "vampire" sect. In my opinion, it was a bit superfluous. The author could have found another more interesting way to link everything.
My Grade: B. Quite an enjoyable book, but not perfect. Sabina is interesting, but not totally likable. Still, I'm intrigued and hooked enough to get the second book, The Mage in Black, when it'll come out next April :)