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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Darklands by Nancy Holzner

Title: Darklands
Author: Nancy Holzner
Series: Deadtown #4
Publisher: Ace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/31/12
Reviewed by: Sara
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They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border -- but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human...

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear -- in the realm of the dead itself.

Plot: 4.5 Stars
This series holds a special place in my heart because Nancy was the first author to ever contact me for a review. I have loved each and every installment in this series, and this title was no different. I've learned to expect the unexpected. The author always keeps my on my toes with the twists and turns. I also really enjoy the wide array of paranormal creatures within the world the author has created. All too often, novels feel the author threw in everything but the kitchen sink, but it really works in this series. I also really enjoy the idea of Deadtown and the fight for paranormal rights.

Pace: 4 Stars
The first half of this novel flew by. It felt like I was catching up with old friends. The novel had just enough recap to bring me up to date without dragging the story down. Although at first, I wished the story had begun with a demon extermination like the three previous installments, I quickly changed my mind. This novel started out with an even bigger bang at Tina's career day. Once we were introduced to the Darklands, the realm of the dead, there were points in which the pacing slowed down a bit. But then the book ended with a bang, leaving me excited for the next novel.

Characters: 5 Stars
All of the characters in this series made great appearances in this novel, no matter how big or small. Tina was her usual self in the beginning, when she brought Vicki in for career day. I forget how much I love Tina's snarkiness in between novels, but she's definitely one of my favorite characters. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Maria, Vicki's niece. You get to learn more about the Cerddorion and how they develop their powers as she experiences the changes. It was also amusing to see how Juliet spent her house-arrest. I really liked the new characters introduced in this installment, especially one that was a big surprise. Although I really enjoy Vicki as a strong urban fantasy heroine, I think the cast of characters around her really make this series fantastic.

Cover: 4 Stars
This cover breaks from the pattern of the first three a bit in the angle and stance of the cover model. It's the first cover that zooms in and doesn't include a full body shot. The flaming sword also isn't quite as front and center as the previous covers. But all in all, the cover definitely fits in with the rest. It gives off the same kick-ass vibe as the rest of the series, and the greens in the lower corner stand out. I really love that the title and author are in the same font and the same placement on each cover. It helps give the series continuity.

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for review.

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