Author: Jaye Wells
Format: galley (available for purchase as mass-market paperback and audio book)
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: 2/22/2011
Length: 299 Pages
Acquired: via the publisher
The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes.
Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks–a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon–head to New Orleans to begin the hunt for her sister. Once there, they must contend with belligerent werewolves, magic-wielding vampires and–perhaps most frightening of all–humans.
But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won’t be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about most, she must save herself from the ghosts of her past.
I enjoyed this book much better than The Mage In Black! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed that book, too… but this one had more going for it. The team is on unfamiliar ground in N’Awlins and it’s always fun to put characters in a new situation. We inevitably meet some new characters, some of whom ingratiate themselves with the reader rather quickly and who I didn’t have a problem trusting, which is saying something. Lastly, we have a mission, which is two-fold: rescue Maisie and then find and kill the evil grandmother. I’ve rather been looking forward to that since reading book #1, so I’m happy that it’s now become a priority!
So, the book opens with Team Awesome back in Los Angeles, preparing to kidnap one of the Dominae, which are essentially the three head vamps. Not Lavinia, Sabina’s grandmother and the Alpha Domina, but the weaker of the three. The kidnapping doesn’t quite go as planned but they grab their captive and flash on over to deliver her to the Faery Queen in hopes that an alliance can be made as well as to take instruction from Orpheus, the mage leader.
Finally, Sabina, Adam and Giguhl end up in New Orleans to hunt for Maisie in order to rescue her, as well as Lavinia in order to kill her. Enter Zenobia, voodoo shop owner and friend of Rhea, and Zen’s assistant Brooks. I liked both of these characters immediately and found them both to be strong additions to the story. They were also infinitely helpful to the Team as well as colorful and fun to read. We also meet a few other new faces when Zen sends Sabina to a butcher shop to find a blood source and to a local drag club to find an information source.
Things are rather frustrating for Sabina as she feels that she’s constantly on the defensive once in New Orleans. Lavinia finds her right away and with dismay, Sabina realizes that her grandmother has fed on a particular kidnapped mage’s blood and therefore can do magic. Not only does this seem unfair to me, it seems a bit far-fetched. Lavinia can flash herself about after having fed on a mage blood but Sabina, who trained for weeks with Rhea can only do her Cyclops-esque pew-pew trick to incinerate people? No lessons on healing or flashing herself about all bad-ass like the other mages can do? Yet her grandmother can do such things after having a Maisie snack? Hmmm…
So yeah, Sabina’s at a disadvantage from the get-go. Still, she carries on and blunders about a bit, anxious to both find her sister and avoid the affections of Adam. At every turn, it seems that their enemy is one step ahead of them and that reacting is all the Team is capable of doing.
Enter another new face, recreant mage and lead singer of rock band Necrospank 5000, Erron Zorn. His introduction is hilarious and really, I can’t do it justice here so I won’t even try. Suffice to say that he lends the team a hand and then later on, gives them some much-needed intel, info-dump style. I like this character a lot, though we don’t see much of him, sadly.
I had a hard time putting this book down… or putting my laptop down, rather… and was anxious to get back to it and find out what was going to happen, already! I was happy with the way Wells handled Sabina’s growing up thing, it didn’t feel forced and it didn’t feel fake. It felt just right and though she still had a few temper issues and thinking she could handle things on her own issues, she’s matured as a character and it’s good to see.
Had Sabina still been going on with her knee-jerk reactions from the first two books, there would have been much eye-rolling as I read. But she didn’t and there wasn’t. I feel that the pace of the story was good and there was enough humor to give me the occasional chuckle but not so much as to lessen the seriousness of the mission and the emotion of the story as the characters, namely Sabina, realized what was important to them and what they were willing to do to preserve it.
‘I’ll give the faeries this: They know how to rock some landscaping.’
“Bael’s balls, can we get outta here already? This alley smells like Satan’s asshole.” ~Giguhl
“…did your cat just talk smack to me?” ~Brooks
‘Hollywood had been getting vampires wrong for decades-don’t get me started on the soulless undead thing… or the godsdamned sparkling.’
“We must never speak of this again.” ~Adam
‘I imagined the list in my head: 1. Perform voodoo ritual on evil owl. 2. Find out who sold us out to the anachronistic Caste vampires. 3. Make amends with lesbian werewolf. 4. Rescue twin. 5. Murder grandmother.’
‘Couldn’t blame him for his fear – no one ever expects zombies.’