Saturday, December 4, 2010

Review - Deadtown by Nancy Holzner (3/5 stars)

Deadtown (A Deadtown Novel)Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 326 pages
Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 29, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0441018130
Stand Alone or Series: 1st in Deadtown series
Source: Bought from Half Price Books
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is the first book in Holzner's Deadtown series.  Last I heard Holzner had two books on contract for this series, the second one Hellforged is due out the end of this month.  I was super excited to read this book; it sounded right up my alley.  Zombies, demons, and a kick-butt heroine!  Well I was a little disappointed; this was an okay book but not great.  Some of the story line is really interesting, but the majority of characters are annoying and hard to love.

Vicki is a shapeshifter and makes a living fighting and slaying people's demons.  She lives in Deadtown, which is where all of the paranormals were forced to live after a big plague hit the downtown area and left a big portion of the city population zombified.  Vicki is dating a werewolf politician named Kane who is fighting for paranormal rights.  When a Hellion from Vicki's childhood makes an appearance in her life, she will have to figure out how to defeat it.  In addition to dealing with that there is a lab that is studying genetics of paranormals that keeps trying to kidnap Vicky for research.

There were some good things about this book: I enjoy the way demons are dealt with and how Vicki can journey into people's dreams to face them.  I love how Vicki has a detailed history and good explanation for how she was trained to fight demons...I hate it when characters suddenly know how to kick butt without any training.  The idea of Deadtown and the politics behind paranormal rights was interesting, but has been dealt with by other authors. 

There were also a lot of things I didn't like about the book.  I did not enjoy Vicki much as a character or enjoy any of the side characters all that much.  They are all kind of jerks.  Vicki just doesn't generate the kick-buttness of some of her female counterparts in urban fantasy;for example Kate from the Kate Daniels series, Gin from the Elemental Assassin series or Jane from the Jane Yellowrock series are much tougher, easier to love, and just all around more interesting.  I even think that Lucy Snyder's Spellbent has a more interesting heroine...although she's not an easy character to love at least she is proud of that.  Vicki is kind of neither here nor there. 

Kane as a love interest fizzles, the human guy Vicki is hot for isn't much better.  Both of them are kind of annoying.  If you are going to throw a little romance into the mix the characters should at least have some chemistry and I just don't get that here...  For those who are wondering this is definitely more of an urban fantasy than a paranormal romance; which I like.  In addition to this Vicki's girly zombie sidekick, Tina, makes you want to slap her all of the time.  Tina is seriously unlikable....I think she is supposed to provide comic relief but with all the stealing and disappearing she does she mostly just annoys.

The pace of the book is good and the writing is very easy to read.  The story is interesting enough and wraps up well.

So overall this is an okay book, but urban fantasy has a ton of great books out there right now that are a lot more engaging and creative than this book was.  This is something to pick up if you have read through all of the really awesome stuff and need something to hold you for a bit.  I recommend the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, the Dorina Basarab series by Karen Chance, the Spellbent series Lucy Snyder, and the Jane Yellowrock series by Faith Hunter over this one.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge Book List
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
Deadtown (A Deadtown Novel) 

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