FROM THE BOOK COVER:Red-headed Stepchild is the debut urban fantasy novel in a planned trilogy about half-vampire half-mage assassin Sabina Kane. As the title suggests, Sabina is a half-breed, born into a socially conscious vampire society (the Dominae) where she has been marginalized into the role of an assassin. Working for her stern and authoritative grandmother, who heads the Dominae, Sabina carries out her missions without question, driven by her need for acceptance and approval. The Sabina the reader is introduced to is a friendless, solitary individual.
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.
Set in our contemporary times, Red-Headed Stepchild’s world-building encompasses a supernatural community consisting of vampires, mages, fae and demons, and a human society that for the most part is unaware of the supernaturals. Politically, the vampires and mages are in opposition to one another with a threat of war constantly looming. Against this backdrop, Sabina is commanded to infiltrate a rival vampire faction lead by another charismatic half breed, a demon/vampire whose cult-like following is a potential threat to the Dominae’s authority.
Red-headed Stepchild delivers a well plotted action thriller with plenty of twists and turns, but is driven by solid character development and many emotionally gripping scenes. The author also has a deft hand at lightening the mood at appropriate moments through Sabina’s inner dialogue -
Ten minutes later, Vinca's gecko-green Volkswagen beetle pulled up in front of a dance club. I slumped down in my seat as vampires near the entrance eyed the car. No self-respecting vampire would choose to ride around in that hippiemobile. Especially one with a license plate reading "FLWRPWR."and through amusing character dialogue –
She shrugged and played with the little umbrella in her drink. "It's a long story, but the short version is the city is no place for a naive young nymph fresh from the forest. I fell on some hard times and ended up getting involved in a faery porn ring."Nor is she afraid to describe romantic interludes in a fresh way without the usual soft-focus rose-tinted descriptions –
Our lips met in an ungraceful mash of teeth and lips.Through the course of the story Sabina acquires a demon sidekick, a potential mage romantic interest and unlikely friends. Her character is forced into recognizing unwelcome truths, subjected to betrayal, experiences life-changing personal revelations and develops unexpected emotional attachments. The Sabina that ends the book is a far cry from the Sabina we meet in the beginning. This is an engaging strong central character, someone I want to know more about, spend time with, and discover what lies in store for her future.
Some story arcs are started in this first book that will carry over into the next volume, but Red-headed Stepchild ends on a satisfying note without any huge cliff-hangers. A smattering of hints scattered throughout the narrative also foreshadow some interesting events and developments to come. I predict that Red-headed Stepchild will be one of the most auspicious urban fantasy debuts this year and I for one will be adding this series to my necessary reading list.
The back of the book provides an extras section with an interview of Jaye and an excerpt from the next book in the series.
Read an excerpt of Chapter 1.
Sabina Kane Trilogy: