Monday, July 30, 2012

Early Review - Blade Song by J.C. Daniels

Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.  So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money. Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead. If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…

Publication Date: August 1, 2012

ARC provided by Shiloh Walker, Inc. via NetGalley

My sword is mighty
I will not falter
I will not fail
My aim is true
My heart is strong
I'm the descendant of some legendary badasses and I'll damn well make myself wake up

Review:  Wow!  Just, wow!  When I requestd this book via NetGalley, I thought it would be just another new UF book.  Shifters, vamps, strong heroine attracted to someone she shouldn't be attracted to, etc..  I was intrigued when I discovered that J.C. Daniels is the pen name for Shiloh Walker.  After I started reading this book, I was hooked.  This isn't the average UF.  This is my favorite UF of the year to date, and I am serious when I say I could not put this down.

First, let me get out of the way the comparison's between this book and the wonderful Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series.  There are definitely similarities between the two stories.  Kate and Kit are alike in that they are kick-ass heroines, they both handle weapons very well, they both come from troubled pasts, they both have smart alec mouths, they both have unwanted supernaturals in their lives, and they both share a close relationship with a feline shifter.  However, there are more rules to Kate Daniels' complicated world, and I must say that Kit has lived through a much more tortuous past than Kate.  There is no comparison between heroes in this series aside from the fact that they are both strong cat shifters.  

Enough about similarities.  Let's talk about the awesomeness that is Blade Song.  Kit owns an investigative agency.  She doesn't bring in a lot of money, so she takes whatever jobs she can find.  One day, the sexy and enigmatic shifter, Damon, walks into her office, offering her a job that will pay her $50,000.  Supernatural kids have been showing up missing, and his "Lady," the alpha of the cat clan, wants Kit to find her nephew, Doyle.  In the world of Blade Song, shifters only first shift, or spike as they call it, during a point during puberty.  The cat alpha, Annette, is a bit off.  She is, to put it mildly, crazy.  She wants her nephew back, although she's never spent much time with him, and he happens to be in the midst of spiking.  Kit is told by Annette that if she doesn't deliver the nephew alive and well, then her life will be forfeit.  To ensure that she works on this job, Damon will be her shadow until the job is complete.

Damon and Kit get of to a very rocky beginning.  Damon is very strong and he tends to be rough with Kit.  In the beginning, he nearly crushes her throat, and at this point, I didn't like Damon very much.  When he first appears, he is very cold and all business.  Kit doesn't have a choice, though, so she continues this contentious relationship with Damon, telling him what an "asshole" he is at every turn.  The shifters who might know something about Doyle's disappearance refuse to speak to Kit without Damon, and some of the shifters have taken liberties with Kit thinking that she is weak.  At one point, after Damon has an epiphany, he tries to call a truce with Kit, but Kit is very stubborn and makes him work a good long while before she will play nice with him.  

So far on this job, I'd had the Bitch Queen tell me I was as good as dead if I failed the job.  She'd stuck a crazy bastard on my ass to keep me safe and just a few minutes ago, he'd almost killed me.  Thirty seconds ago, somebody had groped my tits.  Fifty thousand dollars wasn't worth it.

We also meet a vampire named Jude early on in this book.  Jude seems intriguing and sexy, and he has a habit of invading Kit's dreams.  Jude helped Kit out with a job years before, and seems to have an almost-but-not-quite friendship with Kit.  Jude also appears to want to seduce Kit, but she's not having any of it.  Jude is a bit manipulative, and has his own agenda in this book.  

Throughout the story, we learn bits and pieces of Kit's life when she was younger.  She turns out to be one of the more tortured female characters I have read about.  See, Kit is half human, half aneira.  Aneira being the descendants of the mythological Amazons.  Kit's mother died when she was young and she was raised my a seriously deranged family, lead by her grandmother.  Her family looked down upon her because she was only half-aneira.  The things we learn about Kit's background are cringe-worthy and disturbing.

As the story progresses and Damon and Kit work together, the attraction between the two becomes obvious.  Kit fights her feelings for Damon, while Damon is up front about his intentions towards Kit.  It takes a while for these two to work it out, but once they do, they are combustible together.

My breath hitched in my chest as he lifted his head, staring down at me with eyes that burned.  Storm clouds shouldn't burn so hot.  But eyes did.  Couldn't breath, couldn't breath - He dipped his head.  Oh, shit.  But he didn't kiss me.  Instead, I felt the hot brush of his lips moving along the skin at my throat.  Starting just under my ear, moving along the flesh, slowly, thoroughly, until he kissed, stroked, marked.

Kit finds out a bit more from her allies, a coven of witches, about Damon and his intentions towards her, and Kit must figure out what she's going to do about the sexy, hot shifter. The witches are involved in assisting Kit and Damon search for the missing kids. The reality of what happened to the missing shifter kids is gruesome.  Damon and Kit work together seamlessly as a team.  When she needs someone to hold her up and keep her going, Kit can rely on Damon.  When Damon needs a reminder of who he is as a man, Kit is there to give him a pep talk.

Towards the end, there is a big scene between Kit and Damon, and all I will say is that one of my favorite parts of this book is that Kit makes Damon want to be a better person. And in so many books, where story lines like this can span several books, Damon does his best to be the man that Kit knows him to be. It was a great way to end this story.

J. C. Daniels excels at character building and world building. I loved how effortlessly she wrote UF and the dialogue she gave her characters. I enjoyed how she gave us glimpses of Kit's past, and how the story unfurled. I was immersed in this book, and didn't want it to end. I've never read any of Shiloh Walker's other books, but I will after reading this one. My only complaint is that we have to wait until the next book, Night Blade, is released.


tiensblurb said...

Sounds great! I love the quotes! :)

Braine Talk Supe said...

I didn't pick this up cos I feel it's not for me but now I think I will, I am always up for books like this.

Miss Vain's Paranormal Fantasy said...

I didn't request this because I have too many books LOL! Great review Jamie! XOXO

Jamie said...

It's definitely UF with a romantic side story. If you're in the mood for UF, this is a book you should pick up!

laura thomas said...

Have to read this. Hope my review does it justice. Yours is amazing. Thanks for the new author to follow and the quotes were a nice bonus:)

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