Review: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells ★★★★★

Red headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Book one in the Sabina Kane series
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
ISBN: 0316037761
Page Count: 352
My Rating ★★★★★

Summary

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.

REVIEW


I really enjoyed this book. It had everything I love in an Urban Fantasy: a likeable, kickass heroine; a reluctant, teasing, burgeoning romance; suspenseful, vivid action scenes; shocking plot twists, and surprises. It was a really fun read. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy Kim Harrison, Karen Chance, Jennifer Estep and the like.

Let me tell you a little bit about the world Jaye Wells has created here. There are several different supernatural species. You've got vamps, mages, werewolves, faeries and demons. The latter two come in many different variations, shapes and sizes. You can also have mixed-blood hybrids, although this is extremely rare.

Our leading lady is Sabina Kane. A mixed-blood vamp/mage hybrid. She has been raised solely in the vampire society and has been brought up to believe that the mage half of her heritage wants nothing to do with her. She was raised by her Grandmother, Lavinia, who just happens to be a member of the Dominae - the three female vamps that rule the entire vampire race. Although this trio of leaders is supposed to be on equal footing, it quickly becomes evident that Lavinia is the one who really rules. She is extremely cold and ruthless (that would be putting it mildly) and she holds no great love for the mage race as she believes them ultimately responsible for her daughter's (Sabina's mother) death .

So what kind of person has Sabina become having been raised by a woman like this? Well, she's the Dominae's top assassin, that should tell you quite a bit. She is definitely someone with whom one does not mess. She also has an almost child-like yearning for love and acceptance from her grandmother; doing anything and everything that is asked of her in the vague hope she might receive even a small scrap of praise. She's been made to think that she should be grateful that her grandmother raised her at all given that she is such an abomination. And yet, despite all this, she is unerringly loyal to the Dominae, forsaking all others. This is put to the test in the opening scene when we learn that her latest assignment is to kill her only friend, David, who is accused of treason. A mission that despite her hesitation, she carries out. As is her duty.

There is a very well-written and executed mystery plot to the rest of the novel. Sabina shows great character growth throughout and leans some life-altering things about herself. She has to go undercover in enemy territory, and the suspense was nail-biting; wondering just when her subterfuge would be discovered.

Her loyalties are tested when she meets a mage named Adam, who seems to know more about her than she does herself. He is a delightful character and I really enjoyed the teasing banter in their scenes together.

Let me just sum up with a few things that immediately come to mind when thinking of this book: interesting word-building and mythology, great fight/action scenes, great characterisation and development, unpredictable plot twists, and a little grin-worthy sprinkle of romance.

I highly recommend this series to all Urban Fantasy fans.

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