Sunday, February 28, 2010

Review: Red-Headed Stepchild- by Jaye Wells

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...
(Blurb from the back of the book)

Red-Headed Stepchild
is the debut novel in the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells. Sabina is half-vampire and half-mage, which is a forbidden mixture of bloodlines. Due to this, and her job as an assassin, she is an outcast among the vampires. Raised by her grandmother, one of the leaders of the vampires known as the Dominae, after being orphaned at birth, Sabina was raised to hate all other beings but vampires.

The book starts out with Sabina burying her latest meal, right before she assassinates her latest target for the Dominae, who also happens to be a friend of hers. Orders are orders though, and the Dominae know what's best, right? So she does what she must, then does a few things she doesn't quite have to do. This helps lead to a great cover story for the Dominae's next plan for her. They want her to go undercover and infiltrate a rival group that is trying to unite supernaturals together. She is to find out who their spies are and assassinate their leader Clovis. Easier said than done, especially since she's never been any kind of spy. In the process she wants to find out who this strange mage is who keeps following her.

I was quickly caught up in this world and was done with the book before I wished I was. While a lot of the supernatural creatures are ones that have been seen a lot, this take is a fresh one. Vampires are the descendants of Liliath and Cain, and a lot of the other mythology spins off from there. It was wonderful!

Sabina is an interesting character. She was raised by vampires, but was hurt by them her whole life, and seems confused at times when her conscience seems to speak up a little. Her journey through this book is a big one, but there is a lot more to find out, so I can't wait to continue on in The Mage in Black.

Secondary characters were also great. Sabina gets a surprise roommate, Giguhl, who is hilarious! Vinca is full of surprises. Adam, is... well, he's just Adam, and I want to know more! Clovis is scary, but still draws you in, which makes him that much worse.

So, overall... loved it! This was an urban fantasy book that gave me everything I wanted: action, humor, sexual undertones, and a very promising beginning to a series I can't wait to continue!

Sabina Kane series:
1. Red-Headed Stepchild
2. The Mage in Black (release date: April 1, 2010)
Also, the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, vol. 2 contains a story ”Vampsploitation”, that is a prequel short story to Red-Headed Stepchild. It also sets up backstory for The Mage in Black.


Elie said...

Great review. This one is on my list, next actually. Glad to hear it is worth the wait, but maybe I should wait until closer to the next release...hmmmm.

Alyce said...

You're really making a lot of progress with the author challenge! Reading your reviews makes me wish I was into urban fantasy. :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Sounds like an interesting read!