Review: Red-Headed Stepchild
Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The very first scene starts out with killing a trusted friend. Seriously? This does not bode well. Blind loyalty to the Vampire Council, Dominae, is something Sabina follows to the T. It is quickly revealed Sabina's grandmother runs the council with three other elder vampire. This makes sense as to why Sabina follows so blindly without question. Sabina is a mixed blood - 1/2 vampire and 1/2 mage.
From the very beginning, Sabina's grandmother comes across as loathsome. She's filled with hatred. The more information uncovered between Sabina and her relationship with her grandmother, the more vile her grandmother comes across. Frankly, someone should have staked the grandmother decades ago.
This racism between vampires and mages reminds me of the Cassandra Palmer series by Karen Chance. Where the Cassandra series is more romantic and erotic, Sabina Kane series is all urban fantasy. The struggles of power between the two opposing paranormal species in addition to a prophecy unfolding is quite similar. However, the books are very different in their heroine.
Sabina is an assassin treated horribly by the vampires no matter how hard she tries to earn respect. They only fear her, not respect her. She's been brainwashed about Mages. When the truth is revealed, it's not exactly shocking, but it is heart breaking. Her world and views are turned completely upside down. The reader only feels pity for her.
There are many things about Sabina I found annoying. She's not perfect which is a good thing. She's a bit hot headed and doesn't think through everything which can be very frustrating. Still, she does try her best. She does have loyalty and a consciences.
The storyline moved at a decent pace. It was a relatively fast read with only minor bits of irritation. The world building is not robust, but it definitely isn't simplistic. Since this is the first book in the series, the expectation is future books will provide more information about this world of mages, vampires and demons. The mythology of Cain and Lilith is an interesting take which isn't seen too often in vampire stories. The tie in with the red hair is a hoot.
The one thing which caused great amusement and nearly stole the show is the demon, Giguhl, who turns into a cat. His insulting nickname, Mr. Giggles is hilarious. Giguhl and Sabina's relationship is funny as well as ridiculous at times. It shows the author's sense of humour. Hopefully Mr. Giggles will appear in the subsequent books and more prevalently.
This book is recommended for vampire lovers who enjoy the urban fantasy and angst. Those who prefer sparkly vampires, this book is probably not going to do it for you.
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