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Hellbent by Cheri Priest

01/04/2012. Contributed by Sarah Bruch

Buy Hellbent in the USA - or Buy Hellbent in the UK

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pub: Spectra/Random House. 336 page small enlarged paperback. Price: $15.00 (US), $17.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-52062-3.

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Raylene Pendle aka Cheshire Red is back to her vampire thief self in the second book in this series. Following on from ‘Bloodshot’ where Raylene met her current companions, Adrian deJesus - an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen and Ian Stott - a blind vampire, we add a few more people to the group. This includes Elizabeth Creed, a witch with definite mental health issues, along with a kitten. Yes, a kitten called Pita, who is a real pain in the... Raylene’s apartment is starting to look more and more like a family home with every book!

In this instalment, Raylene has agreed to take on another ‘recovery’ job from her contact Horace and this time we actually get to meet Horace rather than just hear him on the phone. Let’s just say that this job involved a lot more biology than I had ever even guessed at residing within any creature’s body. This all starts as a simple retrieval mission, but as with all things to do with Raylene, everything snowballs until she’s taking part in full-blown magical warfare and vampire power struggles. This obviously leads to her having to interact with other vampires, something that Raylene hates. Although this is very interesting for the reader, as we learn loads about some more vampire houses, it can get a little boring as everything now has to happen at night. Plus we miss out on loads of action the human characters must be getting up to during the day, maybe this is something author Cherie Priest might add into later book. To be honest, I can understand why Raylene hates others of her kind, they do tend to be highly untrustworthy. They’re all motivated by power, blood and sex.

I love Priest’s writing style. There is no filler in this novel, it all just runs and runs leaving the reader running along with it. There are no pages in this book where I found myself going on a little brain nap unlike in other urban fantasy novels. I also enjoyed how Priest managed to get new readers up to speed without making it too boring for those readers who had already read ‘Bloodshot’. She literally just gave us cliff-notes right up front, none of the usual nonsense about one character getting another character up to speed. It’s almost like Priest includes the reader as one of her characters. In fact the readers might just be another of Raylene’s mental health issues as she seems to talk to us a lot during these novels.

I have to say that I love Raylene’s company, I think this is because she is not all powerful as many vampire characters are. She has many weaknesses and she’s not afraid of people knowing about them. Raylene seems to actually talk to the reader, helping us to form a bond to her as mentioned previously. I was really interested when she was thinking about the weaknesses of vampires in general as this isn’t something most urban fantasies do. As Raylene says, one quick dose of sun and they’re dead!

I would highly recommend this as a great series that is showing no signs of slowing down or getting dull any time soon.

Sarah Bruch

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This book has 58 votes in the sci-fi charts

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