Review: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye WellsRed-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #1
Published by Orbit
Pages: 304
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased myself
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Also in this series: The Mage in Black, Green-Eyed Demon, Silver-Tongued Devil

In a world where being of mixed blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin - the only profession fit for an outcast - doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now.
Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family, and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be fatal...

Sabina Kane: She's down, but she's not out.

Thoughts: I LOVED this book! This is my first five star read this year, and to come from an author I knew nothing about, well, it is a pleasant surprise!

Where to start? Well, RHSC is really pure, action-packed, no-frills urban fantasy. But it is just plain funny! Even though this was a tough book, it was also really hysterical. Jaye Wells has a great sense of humour and here is one scene that I just have to share:

“Why haven’t you exploded yet?” The demon was closer now, only a few feet away. I opened one eye to look at the arrow. Blood bloomed from the site of impact, just over my left breast.

“I—I don’t know.” Holding myself up became difficult as the seconds passed.

“Hmm. I wonder if I should stake you just to be sure.”

“I’d really prefer it if you didn’t,” I said. “I’m sure I’ll ignite any second.”

The book only gets funnier from there. Jaye Wells manages to fit in humour in the most unlikely of places – a lot of it coming from her astounding secondary characters. I was head-over-heels with the demon!cat Giguhl and the mysterious!hot!mage Adam.

The universe is a super complicated one and even though we are tossed straight into the action, it is still an easy verse to get a handle on. She somehow manages to incorporate humour, world-building, appropriate sexual tension, and politics into her faeries, mages, vampires and demons.  Wells says she is inspired by Kim Harrison, and while I can see that in her work, I have to say that I much prefer her work over what I have read from Harrison so far.

As for Sabina, well… it took a while for me to warm up to her. She is cold as ice at the beginning of the book, and I wondered if I could like a character who seemed – at least to start with – to be utterly devoid of a concience! But it meant that watching her open up – even a little bit – to new people with different ideas became very satisfying. Although I am still not in love with Sabina,  I understand her. I see masses of potential in her and can’t wait for the next book!

Kay

Your ghost host at Dead Book Darling
Kay's been blogging about urban fantasy, young adult and werewolves since 2009. She's a firm believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes. To support her book-buying habit, Kay keeps up a day-job as a science journalist (so feel free to ask her about Physics).

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