Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Published by Razorbiil
Format: trade pbk., 293 pages
Genres: YA, fiction, urban fantasy
Ok, for those that can't quite put it together, Lili St. Crow is the YA pen name of author Lilith Saintcrow. This marks her first foray into the young adult market. Under the name of Lilith she has written The Watcher series, the Dante Valentine series, the Jill Kismet series (which takes place in the same world as the Dante books), and The Society series. She's also written Steelflower which will have a sequel when ever she finds the time to write it, and the stand-alone novel, The Demon's Librarian. For Dante Valentine lovers unaware, there is a free serial novel up about Selene (Dante's best friend) which is a sort of prequel to the series.
Dru Anderson and her father are not like most people. They know monsters are real, and even hunt those that have become a threat to humans. They move across the U.S. like vagabonds, but this stop may just be their last. Dru knows this hunt is different because her father wouldn't tell her anything, and when he isn't back by the next day she gets a real bad feeling that the nightmare she had may have been a vision. The next night he finally comes home, as a hungry zombie. Now she's stuck in a town she barely knows, all alone, with her father's killer possibly coming after her next. Graves (the goth kid from school) finds her in shock at the mall and barely survives his late night introduction to the Real World when a werwulfen goes on the attack. Despite Dru trying to push him away for his own good he takes the whole experience better than expected, and even becomes a sort of sidekick. Graves brings a little balance back to Dru's life, but it isn't too long before a stranger that bleeds like a human and moves like a sucker threatens everything Dru's ever believed about monsters and her family.
I am pretty disappointed. The book blurb sounded good, even the first few chapters were very promising. I went from, "Oh my god, it's like Supernatural with a teenage chick hunter!", to, "How can one person possibly cry that much without dying from dehydration?" in the space of just a few chapters. I kept reading because I was hoping we'd get back to the mindset Dru had in the beginning. It seems to me that the author backpedaled after Dru's dad dies and it makes Dru look like one of those kids that pretend to know it all and embellish their stories until they're caught and have to come clean. She starts out very strong. She knows about the Real World and its monsters, she knows how to shoot, and she takes care of the house while her dad's on his midnight raids. After her dad dies she becomes a different person for the rest of the book, she cries all the time, she waves guns around like a crazy person, and she can't seem to defend herself without pulling a muscle or cracking her head on something. Her dad's training is always going through her head, but apparently most of it didn't stick since the messages never make it to the rest of her body. I know she has to mourn, but by the end of this book she has gone from being a strong heroine to a hysterical, damsel in distress waiting for her friends to save her.
Besides all of that there's Dru's description of what a pack of howling werwulfen sound like which I did not get at all. "It's like a spiral of glass on the coldest night you've ever known, naked outside in the deep woods." If someone knows where she was going with this could you explain it to me please? Lili also dated herself by having Dru compare a moment to an ABC Afterschool Special which she would surely be too young to remember. So, while I love Graves and the new take on werwulfen, suckers, animal spirits of all sorts, and what could only be a hellhound by the description I think Dru needs to be rewritten. If you're looking for YA vampire series to love skip this and try the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine, House of Night series by P.C. & Kristin Cast, or the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead instead.