I pretty much gave up reading vampire stories figuring I'd seen every plot that could be found in them. Not so. Stevens has changed everything I thought I knew about this aspect of paranormal books. I stumbled across this book two days ago through one of the websites I use to find books to read. Much of my reading lately has fallen into the YA category, and so did this one.
The story opens with two of our three main characters (Cassie and Chris) being spirited away right before their families are massacred in a plot by the elder vampires to eliminate all Hunters and their families. In the ensuing rampage, Cassie loses both parents and Chris loses his father. The kids spend the next several years living with her grandmother and moving around to prevent the elders from learning they are still alive.
The next pivotal event in their lives happens when Luther and his daughter, Melissa, move to town. The three teens begin their training as vampire hunters under their Guardian, Luther. Stevens excels at portraying three teens living a secret life.
Cassie is obviously just going through the motions with no apparent interest in life itself. She takes care of her schoolwork the same way she goes about killing vampires. It's just a job. She's stuck with it. There is no out-clause for her aside from the anticipated early death that is typical for Hunters. Things pick up when Devon is introduced to the story. All of a sudden, Cassie has an interest in something. They are both keeping secrets that if revealed, could bring danger to the other.
Stevens storytelling sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of her books and I wasn't disappointed. Her prose is heartfelt and punches deep to your very core. In part, I was reminded of what it felt like the first time I was attracted to a boy. Devon filled Cassie's dreams much like that boy did mine. She conveyed the angst and tentativeness of a new relationship so well, it was like reliving my first one.
This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go even when I reached the end. So much so that as soon as I got off work and could get to a wi-fi connection, I scooped up the rest of the books in the series. Yeah, I had it that bad. As soon as I got home, I dug into the second book, grateful I wasn't at work where I would have the distractions of customers.
The editing, character development, tension, angst, absolutely everything was spot on. To date, I've only ever considered one author's writing to be of bardic quality. I am beyond ecstatic to add Erica Stevens name to that very brief list. If you enjoy vampire stories, you HAVE to pick up this book, and indeed, the entire series. If I ever get around to picking up the print books for home reading, they will have a place in the box of favorite authors for those rare occasions when I move.
This book was not gifted for review. 4 stars
(review of free book)