Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.
Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.
But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.
As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?
As I sit here I realize that it took me longer than normal to write this review. I could blame it on multiple things in my life, but the simple fact is I didn’t know where to start.
****Dark Hunter slight spoiler alert****
I was very ready NOT to like this book. I have to say Nick in the Dark Hunter series became the least favorite of my characters after his conversion. Not only did I find him whiny and self serving, he seemed to blame the world instead of taking some responsibility himself or seeing the truth without the taint of hate. His never ending hate of Ash was tiring as it was irritating. So what do you do when you want a character loved and not hated, maybe realizing you could have made a wrong turn with him? You make an entire new series based on him. Basically that’s what this is.
Nick knows that decisions make up life and he has gone back to try and correct them. The beginning doesn’t really explain this and it was very confusing. But a couple of chapters in and you sort of figure it out.(I would say reading the original Dark Hunter series may not be unwelcome as some of the references can get confusing.) While I am an avid reader of the Dark Hunter series I would have to say that I caught on quicker than someone who hadn't knowing what happened to bring about this event.
Nick is young and it's very apparent by the time you get into the story. Yes he's still in high school dealing with being the 'scholarship kid' in a ritzy private school. His mother is a stripper which only adds to his issues at school as they all know it. While dealing with normal teenage angst an event happens in his life that changes everything and takes him into the Dark Hunter world, but with one new 'friend' this time. There is also another character that isn’t a part of the original timeline I don't want to say to much as some of you may not have read the Dark Hunter series and this will either give away too much or just confuse you. (This actually one of the reasons it was more difficult for me review as I debated back and forth on how to word this review.)
Let me start with my likes about this book.
1. First when I read the word 'zombie' I thought "Ok seriously?' Because zombies are not in my top ten scary list and who wants to read about monsters with rotting flesh that want to eat us? Well let me assure you that this take on zombies is actually rather ingeniously done. The take is somewhat fresh and unique enough to make sense. The zombies added to the story without being obnoxiously overwritten as they could have been. They aren’t your typical zombies but rather a version that doesn’t consist of corpses. You’ll have to read it to find out how the living become the “undead”.
2. Second I like the interactions with the incarcerated father of Nick with someone Nick knows. It added to the paranormal portion of the story and does give you some more to think about as Nick falls deeper in the paranormal side of New Orleans. His father was always a sort of unanswered question as you read about him in the other series. But there are questions there still as well. Why does he seem so attached to Cherise if he’s a being of pure evil and hate?
3. As well as his 'new' friend that I can't say who it is, but it was well done. He seems to play a vital part, but you are unsure if he was there originally or not. He seems to be fulfilling some sort of mission/promise. But again he’s an unanswered question that I’m sure will become more important as the storyline comes together in later books.
4. Seeing the younger versions of many of the characters in the Dark Hunter series. Kyrian, Simi, Tabitha and more are there as a part of the story and it was sweet knowing certain things if you are a fan of the Dark Hunter series. I like how Tabitha is given a bit of a background that you glimpse at in her book, but become a bit clearer in this book. (It also amazed me that her and her future intended seemed so close but never really met till later.)
The book was all in all very well done, I actually only have one HUGE complaint. Nick's sarcasm. While it may 'define' who he is, over power my brain with constant smartassed-ness was not something I enjoyed. Sometimes a simple 'yes', 'no' or whatever would have been welcome. If he constantly talked to me or anyone I knew that way, someone would have slapped him a long time ago. Sarcasm may be a defense but it can also become trite and over emphasized as it was in this book. Instead of being funny or witty eventually it came off as irritating and over done. Not only is Nick sarcastic to a fault in speech, he is also sarcastic when thinking. I found myself closing the book several times thinking please just stop already, I get it, you're a smartass, enough already. Nick has the potential of being a great character if he would just show some of the intelligence that is lurking there instead of nonstop sarcasm. I can't even express how much this irritated me and had to step back and force myself not to taint the rest of the review simply from this one dislike.
One minor problem, that may just me, is that fact that the timeline can get a bit confusing. This happens when I over think what has happened in the Dark Hunter series. It’s hard for me being a fan of both to sort out the timeline as many things happen that shouldn’t have happened and some things are changed. But again that could be just me. Readers may not experience this so it’s not a big issue to be honest.
With Nick's sarcasm aside, this book is definitely worth the read. The plot is interesting and you can see where it’s leading. You know that there is more at stake and time is of the essence. It doesn’t drag in to many places, but it’s so rushed that you are left with a ‘HUH?’ feeling. (Especially for Dark Hunter fans) I would recommend it. It was a very enjoyable read. I would read it again. Try it, I think that you would enjoy it whether you are a DH fan or not.