Hunter of the Dead by Stephen Kozeniewski #HorrorOctober2016 #BookReview

horroroctofficial2016

Just as you thought Horror October was done and dusted…no it really is. But here’s a review I didn’t get to publish in time. Some may say I saved the best til last…

a5Title: Hunter of the Dead
Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Series: N/A
Format: ePub, 314 pages
Publication Details:  August 15th 2016 by Sinister Grin Press
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads // Amazon

 

Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too – and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

Review

Hunter of the Dead is one epic vampire novel. If you’re looking for sparkly, over-possessive pretty boy vampires then you should probably just move along. But if you’re looking for a vamped-up Game of Thrones with The Red Wedding-level of bloodshed then you’ve come to the right place.

Hunter of the Dead has a large cast of characters and an intricately woven plot built upon a well thought-out mythos. There are warring vampire houses, each with their own version of vampire royalty, and human vampire hunters called Inquisitors. But the hunter himself is a whole other entity. A boogeyman. A thing of legends that no one quite believes. Until seemingly indestructible immortals start being…well, destroyed.

Caught up in the middle of this are two unlikely heroes, Carter and Nico. Gas station attendees turned vampire hunter and apprentice, the dynamic duo banter their way through the brewing war and attempt to find out the truth behind the one thing that both vampires and Inquisitors are equally as afraid of – The Hunter of the Dead.

This book had everything I could want in a vampire story. Blood, guts, bants and even a splash of romance in there too. The vampires themselves were diabolical yet alluring, and the plot was paced well despite its scope of epic proportions.

I did have some issues getting into the story to begin with though. The mixture of a vast array of characters and a jumping timeline would usually have me tearing my hair out, but after a chapter or two it really seemed to work. It certainly gave the book more mystery and depth.

But the one thing I did find frustrating was that a few of the characters were called by two or three different names – first name, surname and even a nickname –  so until I got to know the characters better it was really hard to understand who was who sometimes.

And while we’re talking about names, I spotted a few familiar ones in there. Whatever you do, don’t befriend Kozeniewski or he’ll steal your name for a character only to rip out their (YOUR) heart or make you live out the rest of your days with only half a face. Fellow horror writers beware!

Overall, this is not your average vampire novel. It’s not really your average anything. But whatever it is, it’s all wrapped up in Kozeniewski’s trademark tongue-in-cheek horror bow that I’ve come to know and love.

horroctrating-4

Hunter of the Dead is available now in both paperback & digital versions.

Not Your Average School Ski Trip…

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

spr4It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

Well, getting hooked on this series was probably inevitable. Some hot vampires and a kick-ass female lead, in a high school setting…now, where have I seen that before!? I was really impressed with the first book in this series though, as I wasn’t expecting it to be so rooted in Vampire Lore. (You can check out my review of book 1 here.)

Frostbite, continues where we left off. Rose is getting closer to becoming an official guardian and trying to keep her distance from hot russian Dimitri, whilst Lissa is sickeningly in love with Christian and trying to control her weird Vamp powers.

It’s Christmas (yay) and they are all forced (not that you wouldn’t go willing by the sounds of it) to spend it at an exclusive ski resort to keep hidden from the deadly Strigoi who are still picking off the Moroi royalty one by one. Of course! Where else would one go?

I was pleased that this book has a prologue that went over what we’d learned thus far; the gospel according to Dhampirs, Moroi and Strigoi if you will (I still can’t pronounce them), to remind us of all the intricacies involved in their society and the stigma that comes from certain choices, should they make them. However what I wasn’t OK with was all of the other catch-up sessions in the book. The prologue was perfect, I really didn’t think we needed the rest.

There were a few other things I was disappointed with in this book as well, maybe disappointed is a bit harsh considering I couldn’t put it down, but I felt like all the dark shiz that made me love the first book was gone.

Now they know what Lissa’s deal is, there’s no self-harm (which is obviously a good thing but it made for good reading!), no dead animal corpses in her dorm, and now that Lissa and Rose are permanently back at St Vlads (yes, we’re on nick-name terms already, I move fast) no hot ‘dirty’ feeding sessions. Bore off.

But, I digress. Overall, Frostbite wasn’t boring at all. With the focus taken off Lissa and Rose a little, we get to explore some of the minor (and new!) characters a bit. There’s definitely more of Christian, Lissa’s boyfriend, who I’m really hoping is going to turn out to be evil, right? Because if not what is he good for?-Creating tension between Lissa and Rose I guess, but it was a bit meh.

We also get more of Mason, who grew on me throughout the book, he’s pretty adorable. And then there’s the introduction of tall, dark, mysterious and probably deadly Adrian who seems to be stalking Rose a bit. Well, who wouldn’t!?

AND OF COURSE, there’s Dimitri. Oh delicious Dimitri… Richelle Mead you really are spoiling us!

I liked that they didn’t get together too quickly (because you know, it’s wrong), but I really hope it’s not going to end up being a whole on/off, on/off thing for the next 4 books too.

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS right now. Sigh.

One thing I wasn’t expecting however, was that Rose started to annoy me a bit in this book. I like a protagonist that is confident, but in Frostbite, her self-assuredness (that’s not even a word is it? Bitca!) got a bit too much. She’s constantly pointing out how hot her body is, like anyone actually ever says that to themselves all the time! Pfft, anyway…

No matter what, I couldn’t put Frostbite down. It definitely has some flaws but I’m too far gone to care. I’m invested in Rose, Dimitri and Lissa, and GIVE ME THE NEXT ONE NOW.

Ahem. Please.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 327 pages
Published: April 10th 2008 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5

3 Vamps, 1 Stone: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

345627 St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

What surprised me most about this book was that it surprised me.

I’d been meaning to start this series ever since it came out in 2007 (woah, has it really been that long?), so I figured I knew what it was going to be about. I expected another fluffy teen vamp read. Which it kind of was. I expected a cross between Twilight and Gossip Girl. Which it also kinda was. But what I didn’t expect was that it would be heavy on mythology and be a unique take on Vampire Lore. That, was a pleasant surprise.

Let me try to explain, more for myself than anything. There are three different kinds of vampires in Mead’s series. Rose is Dhampir, non-royal but strong and whose mission in life is to train as a guardian to protect the Moroi, the weaker of the vampires who have their own royal family. Dhampir’s and Moroi exist together in relative peace although the Dhampir’s that do not train as guardians are often seen as scum. These two breeds of vamps are living, mortal vampires. The Strogoi however, are not. And they’re the bad guys who prey on the moroi (especially the royalty) hence the need for guardians.

It’s pretty ridiculous but it works. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rose and Lissa, who by the way have a psychic bond, and the sexual tension between them was pretty transparent. Hot though, obviously. I liked the whole getting bitten by a vampire is addictive, but dirty thing. In fact we are pretty much bombarded with both actual rules and social suicide rules that these vamps must abide by in order to stay respected. That rang pretty true in a school setting.

Overall, I was impressed by the complexity of Vampire Academy as I was expecting more of a throw-away story, but it was also that complexity that dragged it down sometimes. I felt like this book was just an introduction to a much bigger story (which it obviously is considering how many books there have been) that throws too many ideas around too soon. But I still really enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing what happens with Dimitri (Rose’s hot Russian Mentor) and Rose’s doomed love story.

I’m obviously going to get hooked.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, Oh Chrys sent it to me as part of her Bookish Christmas Bookswap 🙂
Title: Vampire Academy (#1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Details: Paperback, 332 pages
Publication Date: August 16th 2007 by Razorbill
My Rating: 4/5