Monday, August 27, 2012

Deadtown by Nancy Holzner

Publisher: Ace
Release Date: December 29th, 2009
Source: Um. More on that later*
They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its borders — but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…
Vicky’s demanding job keeping the city safe from all manner of monsters is one reason her relationship with workaholic lawyer (and werewolf) Alexander Kane is in constant limbo. Throw in a foolhardy zombie apprentice, a mysterious demon-plagued client, and a suspicious research facility that’s taken an unwelcome interest in her family, and Vicky’s love life has as much of a pulse as Deadtown’s citizens.
But now Vicky’s got bigger things to worry about. The Hellion who murdered her father ten years ago has somehow broken through Boston’s magical protections. The Hellion is a ruthless force of destruction with a personal grudge against Vicky, and she’s the only one who can stop the demon before it destroys the city and everyone in it.
Review: My goodness, urban fantasy has me in its clutches lately! But with good reason: Nancy Holzner's debut was stellar and if this is just the beginning, then this series promises to be a fantastic one.
Vicky Vaughn, much like Charley from Darynda Jones' series, has a sarcastic streak to her but unlike Charley, Vicky's not as overt. She delivers some great one-liners, but more baldly. Still. She's pretty kickass. Her family history is a fascinating one, being a demi-human with shape-shifting abilities. She also possesses the skills to hunt and slay demons (which she uses to earn her living--girl's gotta pay bills!). Holzner does a great job in presenting Vicky's past and how her mistakes shaped her to be who she is now. The secondary characters are also really fleshed out in the story so you get more than a decent grasp on how they act and think. Vicky's sister Gwen and her family prove to be especially important: Gwen's character greatly contrasts with that of her sister's; they're both shape-shifters and yet Gwen renounces her status to demi-human in order to live safely and comfortably.

The idea of Massachusetts (or "Monsterchusetts") being co-inhabited by humans and other paranormal creatures makes an intriguing set-up that presents many challenges for the living and undead. The humans have to deal with the "monsters" and the Paranormal Americans have to deal with the fear and scorn of their living counterparts: Vicky's niece gets dragged into this at one point and it gives the reader pause to think about the almost non-existant rights that PAs have--I liked that added twist of social injustice and how it explores the possibilities of PAs having similar, if not the same, rights as humans do. This heightened the suspense of the story (and my interest of course--it doesn't hurt that there's a pinch of romance too!).

Final Verdict: This was a solid debut and I'm glad that I only just read it because there are at least  three more books that I need to get through. I have plenty of time and more than enough interest to read this series. It has all the ingredients to a great series and I wouldn't hesitate recommending Deadtown for any UF fans out there. And honestly, it's just a fabulous read so everyone should read it. Vicky's a fun character and the scrapes she gets into? Some are heart-pounding and some are gut-clenchingly funny. You can't beat that combination!

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*To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I got this book. I'm assuming I won it...because I have no contacts at this book's publisher. But I'm still glad that I got this copy because I really enjoyed it! So thanks to whoever sent it.... 

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