Daring You To Read is a weekly feature here on Tynga’s Reviews where we dare you to read some of our favorite older releases (at least 6 months old). All the books/series we choose to feature are titles we adored and think you should give them a shot! We think it’s a super awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!
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Today I'm daring you to read THE SCENT OF SHADOWS by Vicki Pettersson, an amazing dark urban fantasy author and the brilliant mind behind the Signs of the Zodiac series. THE SCENT OF SHADOWS is the first book in the now complete series; with last year's release of THE NEON GRAVEYARD, this is the perfect time to get started. No waiting between books, which is good because you'll be hooked from the start of THE SCENT OF SHADOWS. I know I was when the book came out in 2007!
The book and series revolve around Joanna Archer. When we meet her in THE SCENT OF SHADOWS, she's mad at the world for a whole bunch of reasons -- she was assaulted when she was a teenager, her mom's gone, she has a terrible relationship with her father. Joanna's whole life gets tossed upside down, though, when she learns that she's so much more than she realized. In short order, her sister Olivia is murdered, Joanna's forced to assume Olivia's life and let everyone believe she's the one who died, and she has to learn how to use her superpowers.
Over the course of THE SCENT OF SHADOWS, Joanna learns all about a side of Las Vegas that she never knew existed, one in which there are two troops -- one Light, one Shadow -- made up of 12 agents each, one for each sign of the zodiac. They fight for control of the city and the valley, and their powers are linked to the zodiac and also to comic books. That's right, comic books. There's a comic for each troop and they gain power based on people reading their stories. This is just one of the great mythology elements in the Signs of the Zodiac series but it's probably my favourite. This series is pretty mythology-heavy so you definitely want to read the books in order; you might get lost otherwise.
As the Kairos, Joanna has unique abilities that make her a prime target for both troops. Throughout the book and the series, she wrestles with her gifts and tries to do the right thing after being thrown into a completely foreign world. She also has to deal with the responsibility of being named the Kairos, which is basically a Very Important Person who can change the course of the world. (The word apocalypse may be used at certain points over the series.) It puts Joanna in a lot of conflict, both internal and external, which makes for some delicious reading.
There are so many great characters in the series, it's hard to pick just a favourite. The leader of the Shadows is a pretty epic villain: he's the Tulpa and he's incredibly powerful. You find out why over the course of the series so I won't spoil it for you here but suffice to say, he's a villain like no other. There are also some wonderful characters in the Light troop, like Vanessa, Felix, and Micah. And I can't write about this series without talking about Hunter. He's a member of the Light as well and he and Joanna have quite the relationship over the course of the series!
If you haven't tried Vicki Pettersson yet, I urge you to run to the nearest book store and get yourself a copy of THE SCENT OF SHADOWS. If you like your urban fantasy dark, your plots tight, and your characters tormented, this is the book (and series) for you!
Want more? I bet you do! Here's the scoop on THE SCENT OF SHADOWS:
By rights, she should be dead.
Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset – a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow – seeking answers to whom or what she really is … and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.
But the nightmare is just beginning – for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful Shadows want her for their own…
Here's the rest of the series. I started blogging midway through the series so you can only read what I thought of CITY OF SOULS and CHEAT THE GRAVE (by clicking on the cover). I've been saving THE NEON GRAVEYARD because I'm not quite ready to say goodbye but it's close to the top of my TBR pile now so you'll hear my thoughts in the near future.
You can also find Signs of the Zodiac novellas/short stories in these anthologies. Click on the cover of DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS for my thoughts on this collection:
Here's the suggested reading order if you mix the short stories in with the full length novels:
- THE SCENT OF SHADOWS
- HOLIDAYS ARE HELL — The Harvest
- THE TASTE OF NIGHT
- THE TOUCH OF TWILIGHT
- CITY OF SOULS
- UNBOUND — Dark Matters
- DARK AND STORMY KNIGHTS — Shifting Star
- CHEAT THE GRAVE
- THE NEON GRAVEYARD