E-Arc courtesy of Netgalley and 47North.
Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She's a werewolf and a daughter of the Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power...
I’ve read a couple of short stories set in the Fangborn world before in anthologies so I was really looking forward to exploring the world of Vampires and Werewolves as humanities protectors in more detail. I loved the twist on the traditional ‘monsters’ as the good guys who’s very nature means that they have to defend and protect people and on occasion kill the bad guys. However, our main character, Zoe is ignorant of her inheritance and spends a large proportion of the book either denying it or confused over what it meant. As a result I didn’t feel very connected to the Fangborn world and some of the upsets to the balance of power in their world lost impact.
I also found myself a little frustrated with Zoe for some of her actions. She never really stood up for herself and was pushed or prodded along at every step – she ran away a lot which annoyed me. I just wanted her to stand up for herself rather than having her choices explained to her. A lot of time was spent on explanations rather than showing the world and some of her relationships especially with Danny and Will you just had to accept as important to Zoe rather than feeling it. However, the new people Zoe ran into – both helpful and hindrance were stronger characters. Overall I did like Zoe and her ‘gang’, despite my frustration with her at times. The writing was very easy to follow and some of the secondary characters were intriguing. I liked Claudia and Will and seeing a brother-sister partnership is rare in UF so it was good to see them working together and bring some of that family element that a lot of UF misses in favour of more isolated characters. Some of the bad guys motivations were a little ‘cloudy’ and others changed their allegiance frequently so Zoe struggled to know who to trust.
I loved archaeological thrillers so the racing over the world for keys was great fun with visits to London, Berlin, Venice, Greece and Turkey. As mentioned I loved the Fangborn world and wanted to explore more the differences in opinions there especially if all Fangborn are supposed to be ‘good’. There are some great action scenes that I could vividly picture (it would make a great movie!) and climax is pretty tense. The plot was just a little chaotic.
To me this felt like a good action adventure within an intriguing world but there was a little struggle to get all the ideas across cleanly. However, there is a lot of potential. Some books will just play on your mind for a while and many other UF series, like the Dresden Files and Kate Daniels don’t have tidy first books. There is something there that will keep you coming back and I think I will want a return visit to the Fangborn world soon.
Recommended for fans of Kayalna Price and Nancy Holzner. 7 out of 10