Sunday, July 8, 2012

Review: The Scarlet Dagger by Krystle Jones

The strength of Sloane’s heart is about to be put to the ultimate test.

After the Eclipse – the night vampires began openly slaughtering human victims – everything changed. Out of fear, the government salvaged what remained of the human population and enclosed them in massive, security-laden cities called White Sectors, while marking the vampire infested territory as Red Sectors.

When seventeen-year-old Sloane McAllister’s twin brother disappears, she seems to be the only one who thinks he isn’t dead, and vows to stop at nothing to find him. Gathering her courage, she braves the Red Sector to search for clues to his whereabouts. By chance, she encounters Aden, a handsome, charismatic vampire with a hidden agenda. He turns Sloane against her will, and whisks her away to his underground city. Enemies quickly become friends as Sloane struggles against her attraction to Aden, and resists her growing loyalties to the creatures that ruined her life. But the vampires themselves are the least of her problems. The city is harboring a devastating secret, one that could change the tide of the war and threaten to destroy everything Sloane has come to believe in.

Heart-stopping action and scorching romance collide in this dystopian, urban fantasy thriller.

Genre:  YA Dystopian Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
My Rating:  *  *  *  *  * (Oh yeah, five stars, baby!!!)

My Review:
There are books that leave a girl almost speechless, muttering "wow" over and over.  Yup, this one did that to me.  It is just so so very well done!!! I want to do cartwheels it was that good!

So what do I love?  First, within mere paragraphs, we are immediately moved into the action, we know general setting details and our main character's motivation.  I dare say that takes some serious talent to impart so much, so quickly while still being engrossing.  As a former Pittsburgher, I did especially appreciate the setting.  The world Ms. Jones creates for us is bleak and frightening; perfect dystopia.  Then throw in some vampires, both the zombie-like monsters and the sophisticated, beautiful ones.  Complete awesome-sauce!  

There are definite similarities to Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules.  Published within 6 months of each other, there's definitely no plagiarism here but rather a sign of things to come in speculative fiction.  More and more blending of various fiction sub-genres to create new and amazingly creative works of fiction for this reader in which to sink her teeth.  Yay for that!  I definitely want more of this sort of speculative hybrid!!!

Another thing I love about this book are the great characters!  I've got to really care about the protagonists to love a book; I can really like a book based wholly on story line, but to truly love it, I've got to connect with the characters.  It was crazy easy for me to connect with Sloane.  The writing inhales you right into her emotions.  I cried for her; I laughed at her; I felt fearful alongside of her.

Sloane had no idea who she could really trust.  I love that in a story!  It thickens the suspense.  This plot has crazy twists and turns.  Then the ending ... wow, the ending.  I literally gasped and said aloud "I so did not see that coming" (I should note that luckily I was not in public talking to my kindle).

Sure, there's a few things I didn't love.  I wanted to understand Aden a bit better, I was confused at moments by him, especially when he suddenly asks Sloane out.  Since we don't know if Aden is trustworthy or not and the story is told in first person, I'm not sure the author has any options in clarifying Aden for me, but it doesn't stop me from wanting it. **giggles**

And then the conclusion is a suspenseful cliff hanger and I'm not sure how I feel about that.  On one hand, it makes me want to immediately grab book 2 (which sadly isn't out yet), but on the other hand, the character (and subsequently the reader) must continue in strife.  The initial conflict is mostly resolved and that's really the most important thing.

So will I continue with this series?  Heck yeah!!!  I'm likely to stalk the author, begging for book 2.  In the meantime, you really should start reading this book.  I read all of it's 300 pages in two days, but I'm not sure my kids got all their meals or bathed or anything.  At the time of this post, you can get it for 99 cents on Amazon.  How freaking cool is that?!?

Cover Art:
This cover screams "YOU WANT TO READ ME!"  It's sexy and exciting and I would never walk by it in a store without picking it up to check out the blurb.  Gotta give major props to Robin Ludwig Design for this one!


  1. Whenever I come visit your blog, I find a new read. You're really interested in books that aren't really in the spotlight (at least in my eyes). Great review, thanks!

    1. Thank you!!! Getting a Kindle has opened my world up to so many amazing indie authors! I deeply enjoy getting to dialog with others about these great, less known authors. I'm glad you liked my review and am so happy you stopped by! :)