Today I'm very happy to welcome (my mentor) Julie from Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks to my blog. She finally read Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells and was kind enough to review it for my blog.
Title: Red-Headed Stepchild
Author: Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
“In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.
This time, it's personal.”
This is a book that I got in trouble for not reading before now. When people heard that I had yet to pick it up, I was hit with many “Oh my goodness just read it already! It’s just awesome!” Of course, I also got lots of “What do you mean you haven’t read it yet? Are you crazy?!” (Marcela may have been one of the latter sort of people. Maybe.) Well ladies and gentlemen I have read it and yes, I was crazy for not reading it before now because this book was wonderful.
Red-Headed Stepchild is the first book in Jaye Wells Sabina Kane series. Sabina is the only half-vampire, half-mage in existence. She is the result of a forbidden love affair between a vampire and a mage. Oh, and not any vampire and mage – aristocrats! Sabina’s parents both died around the time she is born so she was raised by her vampire grand-mother. I should probably mention that grandma is a vampire leader so you can just imagine what kind of upbringing Sabina received. If you are thinking it went along the line of “vampires are awesome and everyone else is a loser and you suck because you are of mixed blood” then you are about right. Since there really wasn’t any other position open to our Sabina thanks to her mixed blood, she is trained as an assassin. And on a job is where she is when we first meet her in Red-Headed Stepchild.
Right away, I loved Sabina. She is my favorite sort of urban fantasy heroine. You know the type: strong, snarky, vulnerable, likable and so human even though she’s not. I really felt for her and her circumstance yet I didn’t feel too much pity for her. That shows that Jaye knows how to balance that line when she writes and that is a very good thing. You want her to succeed – and you want her to smack her grand-mother. Hard. Over and over and over. Seriously, how can anyone be so cold?!
Speaking of characters you want to smack, let’s chat about Clovis. He was a well done ‘villain’ because you’re not 100% sure he is a villain at all. One second you know he is and the next you think he’s the good guy and that Sabina is being played. Next you’re not sure what you think at all because all the pieces point to one thing and another at the same time. Only at the very end do you truly know what is going on. I liked how there is a definite continuing story arc that goes on into book two yet there is still a sense of closure at the end of this book. I love that in an urban fantasy book. I also wanted to smack Frank, Clovis’ assistant of sorts. He’s just slimy.
Characters that I didn’t want to smack include Vinca (she was adorable), Giguhl (demon stuck in cat-form = funny) and Adam. Oh Adam…
Adam is a mage who is following Sabina. We’re not sure why, but we eventually find out…and I won’t tell you why. But I will say that he is yummy and funny and compassionate and just…yum! I can’t wait to see more of him in future installments.
I found the world Jaye created was very interesting. It leans more on the political side of the paranormal world. The web that is woven by the mages and the vampires to avoid yet encourage war and how power plays its role is very cool.
Red-Headed Stepchild is a fantastic first in an urban fantasy series. There was no crazy info dump but there was a fascinating world, wonderful and well-crafted characters and an interesting story. I can’t wait to read the next book.
Giggle worthy quote
“Distracted, I nodded and gathered my things. I walked to the door where Clovis waited. When I looked up, he was staring at Adam. A quick glance backward confirmed Adam was returning his stare. Freaking males.”
Julie’s Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
The Mage in Black
Other reviews Goodreads