Admittedly, I was hesitant to read this because I didn’t really like Kagawa’s Iron Fey series (mostly because the main character was incredibly annoying and obsessive with her love interest) and I’d sworn off vampires/werewolves a long time ago, but this book was jaw dropping and had me hooked a few chapters in.
- Kick-ass female protagonist? Check.
- Kick-ass female character who is also Asian and wields a wicked Katana? HELL YEAH.
- An intriguing and fascinating world built around vampires who really do act like blood-thirsty savages instead of sparkly womanizers with bedroom eyes? CHECK.
- Romance that doesn’t take up the entire plot and isn’t gag-inducing? Bruh, that’s a check!
What’s not to like, right? I love Kagawa’s writing style; it flows very easily and doesn’t bore me to tears. In most cases, when I read books like these, either the prose is too flowery and makes me feel as if I’m drowning in purple, or the descriptions and the world-building is just too confusing and a more likely candidate for putting people into comas. Instead of putting the government as the evil ones with all the power and control like most dystopian series, Kagawa replaces them with vampires, which I thought was a bloody brilliant idea.
Hehe. See what I did?
The thing I liked the most was Allison, the main character. Her characterization was on point, because she didn’t take shit from anyone, didn’t depend on anyone but herself, and knew when and how to use her brain correctly. Gasp. Right? Characters like this still exist! (unlike Megan from the Iron Fey series. Man, that chick made me want to gouge my eyeballs out). Anyway. We first get to see Allison as a human, trying to scrape through life by scavenging for food day after day. Eventually, when she’s on the verge of dying, a vampire offers her to Turn her or let her die. Obviously, she doesn’t pick the latter.
This is where it gets real good. I loved how Allison constantly tried to hone down her monster-ish instincts and keep some of her humanity, and although there were many times she ended up succumbing, she didn’t give up, which gave her a whole new definition and outlook on her character.
I suppose Zeke, the love interest, was cute enough, though he didn’t really do much for me and I can’t help but think it would’ve been much better if there wasn’t even any romance at all? Maybe his character is further developed in the other books? Who knows.
A few minor negatives:
- Was the unfathomable and childish hate between Allie and Ruth really necessary?
- The talk of God in some parts was getting painfully excessive. Skipped those parts.
- Took me a while to get into, and it didn’t help that, oh hell, Sticks triggered some very unhealthy and violent thoughts from me.
But, don’t let that stop you, because I can assure you that this is probably the only vampire book that I’ve actually liked, the world-building is fantastic, and all 400+ pages were definitely worth it.