Friday, December 21, 2012

Sleight of Hand (Taking "Army of One" to a New Level)

Like all good urban fantasy, the story starts rolling from the beginning and the problems only compound. That being said, Amber Farrell was a fantastic heroine. As someone who is always on the lookout for a strong female lead, I was not let down. With a background in military and police, she makes a tough ass private investigator who collects more bruises than anyone human should. Luckily, she's not human. She got infected by a vamp bite back in her army days. So quicker healing, for the win. But she's extremely resistant on the idea of bloodsucking and all that vampire goodness, even though one of her friends is undergoing the turning process. While Amber had a heaping pile of shenanigans to deal with, the real theme of this book is her struggling to deal with the fact that she's becoming more vamp by the day.


Embrace your inner Athanate #1: The first time the vamps reach out to Amber by crowding her, she fights back and thrashes them. So next time, they play by different rules and send a more skilled team. They drive her blindfolded to their super secret Vampquarters. Turns out they're not "vampires", they're the Athanate and pretty much the good guys in an ancient clan war against the creatures of the night that like to kill humans and pillage those walking chicken dinners. This is a major step for Amber since until then the only information about vampires was coming from her friend David who's going through the turning process.

Embrace your inner Athanate #2: The military's been involved somewhat since they keep tabs on Amber. Plus that jerkoff, Krantz keeps investigating why she's getting backpay even though in the records she never existed in the military. Back when she first got turned, they kept her in solitary because the scientists were looking at her as a murderous threat, not still her. The colonel she talks to ends up being a good guy, keeping the scientists from taking her back and telling her when her hero, Top, is passing away. Her moments with Top reveal a lot about her character and what shaped her into the strong, moral person she is. He sets her down the right path, reassuring her that even if she turns, no one can take away who she is.

Embrace your inner Athanate #3: In David's turning process, things have been getting dangerous throughout the book. She stops by several earlier times to check in on him but he's sickly and pale. His vamp mentor/master through the turn has been draining him, but this final time when she goes to check, he's not moving. Things went too far. This became her final turning point where she threw her restraint about vamps out the backdoor window and let him drink her blood even though she knew it would take her further along the process to becoming a vampire. For her, saving a friend is worth it which says volumes about her character.

 Amber Farrell ends the book tying up her loose ends herself, like any good investigator should. But there's a lot still brewing, the idea of war between the vampires looms overhead as a great impetus for the series. And her slight love triangle between Jen Kingslund and Alex the werewolf doctor adds some interesting spice to the novel. The part were/vamp twist? Love it. This novel left me wanting more immediately after and I'll be anxiously awaiting the next book.

Rating: 4

*I received this book for review purposes

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