Friday, August 20, 2010

The Scent of Shadows by: Vicki Pettersson

When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.

By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.
But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .
[from barnes and noble website]

This is the debut novel in the Zodiac series by Vicki Pettersson. I actually picked the novel up a while ago, just finally getting around to reading it. And I'm so glad I did.

I loved, loved, loved this novel. It's quirky, dark, violent, and just a wonderful tale. I was a little hesistant at first about the whole "superhero" things, because it just sounded silly, but after a while I got used to it and loved it. I especially loved the whole comic book store scene, that was just priceless. I think that whole quirky take on the supernatural was really interesting and something I haven't seen before. I mean, these people are actually being written about in these superhereo comic books. Though it wasn't explained how the people writing them knew what was happening, so I hope that gets touched on in the later novels.

I love the main character, she's a witty badass who has had a hell of a life. She definitely changes throughout the novel, which I thought was awesome. The bond between her and her sister was touching, and I loved how she interacted with everyone. All around, she was a pretty well rounded character. Pettersson also wrote some interesting secondary characters, like Warren, Hunter, Ben, and the other superheros. I do think the romantic story side to Ben and Joanna was kind of unneccessary, especially with what happens about a third of the way into the novel. Their reunion was short and Ben wasn't really in the novel a lot, so it was a side plot that kind of detracted from the overall story. I do hope he doesn't just disappear, though. He was a pretty cool character. I liked him.

Ajax was an awesome villian. I loved him. He was creepy, disgusting, killed people for the fun of it, and was just a horrible person.  But he was awesome, because he had motive for what he was doing, and he was a genuinely bad person. He wasn't a villian who suddenly sees the light at the end of the tunnel at the end of the book. He was evil through and through, and I loved it.

The setting of the novel is great, I think having it take place in Las Vegas is really cool. I liked how the author portrayed the two sides to Las Vegas: the glitzy strip and the more torn down, shady alleyways.
I absolutely devoured this book. Once I got to the middle of the novel, I just did not want to put it down. The action scenes were well written, the touching scenes weren't cliché and trite--they were truly touching, the dialogue was good, the interactions between the characters were good, and the storyline was good. It was refreshing because it's an urban fantasy that is less about the romance and more about the supernatural and the whole good vs. evil. Definitely a great debut by Pettersson, and I'll be checking out the next novel as soon as I can.
Overall rating: 9/10

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