I got this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, it sounded exactly like my kind of thing - dark and gritty, filled with all sorts of monsters, a desperate situation, and a strong female protagonist. And it delivered on all accounts.
The story follows Alyssa, a young woman who wakes up in a field surrounded by dead bodies, with no idea how she got there, or who she is. But she does have some memories, basic memories, and she knows that the world she is currently in is not her own. She soon learns of the dark and demonic creatures that roam this earth, of the fighting skills she posses, and the magic that is in every human being - except her, that is. Alyssa soon discovers that killing certain creatures, who had been branded with the pentagram, helps her to regain memories of her old life, and so with her little band of friends she sets off to find the creatures and unravel the mystery.
The biggest pros of this book were the way Dave weaved common myths and stories into the story, and the ones he created were just as interesting. They were well written, chilling and enthralling at the same time.
The cons included a few typos, same badly written sentences, and one occasion of the wrong character name being used (which resulted in a very confusing moment for me - good thing a pdf makes it easy to search for things!) I also felt some of the character relations and conversations were a bit forced, and there were times when the plot oscillated between moving too slow and moving too fast. There was a fantastic twist right at the end - and I mean right at the end, with about 5 pages to go, and that could have been explored more.
But overall a great book, would be 4.5 stars if that were possible.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Okay, so in general I really liked this story - a group of vampires, werewolves, and other creatures living together in their centuries old traditional hierarchy, until a group of humans is moved in by their demeaning leader, and all hell breaks loose. I also like the idea of the series in general, weaving vampire myth into centuries of world history is genius, and I think Banks handled those aspects really well.
However, the story itself left me we lots of questions, and in many places was let down by poor planning. There were a lot of points where I was simply confused, or had questions, and even thought most things were explained/discovered by the end of the story, I felt they would have been better explained earlier on. Like why did everyone hate Lachlan? (aside from the obvious fact he was an ass) And what was so wrong with him in particular turning humans, when Vlad appeared to be running around doing it all the time? (because he was a Cambion, as it turns out) How were Vlad and Lachlan so powerful - just because they were old, or were there other reasons (that remained mostly unanswered).
The second difficulty I had was with connecting with the characters - any of them. Whilst I felt for Alex, Anna & Rose at the beginning, that quickly ran out, and I was soon frustrated with them. Even the humans I gather I was supposed to feel for seemed to contribute too much to their own issues - especial Scarlett (I get that vampires have a certain effect on people, but even on her own she couldn't think anything through, and she was way too emotional/hot-headed for me to sympathise with what was happening to her). Even Ruby, whilst cute and innocent, just didn't connect with me.
And finally, the ending irked me. I can see the point in ending the first book in a series with a cliff-hanger, but I felt it was poorly done - it just ended mid-scene, making me wonder if I was missing the last few pages. Sure, it's suspenseful, and despite all the issues I want to read the next one to learn what happens, but I think it could have been executed a lot better, so that it felt like an ending as well as leaving us wondering what will happen next, rather then just seeming like half a scene.
Would have been 2.5 stars if that were possible.