[Horror/Urban Fantasy] Review: ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY

15 10 2007

While I get caught up on some other matters in my offline and my online life, please welcome Crystal L. Woods as a guest reviewer here at Bookseller By Night. She’s graciously consented to take some of my NEIBA swag off my hands, while I work through my backlist of reviews owed [and you Gentle Readers know who you are… quit it with the voodoo dolls! (grin)].

Without further ado.



Title/Author: Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

Publisher/Publication Date: Orbit US/ Hachette Book Group, October 2007

ISBN: 0-316-02046-X / 978-0-316-02046-6

Price: $12.99, Paperback

Strengths: A strong, believable heroine and cast of characters that instantly draws you directly into the world of the main character. It is humorous, sometimes tragic, fast-paced and a book that anyone looking for a good vampire novel will not easily put down.

Review: Vampire fiction/fantasy is very common, which also means at this point I have come to expect a great deal from anyone writing in the genre. This book I found to be exceptional among them as the protagonist, Jasmine Parks, is a heroine who is both sassy and tough, but also vulnerable and quite human; which makes her not only accessible, but someone who is fun to read. When I began, I placed it somewhere between Anita Blake meets James Bond, and the story is well executed without any overly risque scenes – which is one of my main objections to anyone writing vampires with that as their main hook to the audience. My only real worry is that it may date in ten or so years due to pop culture and historical references. Beyond that, however, I place this as a wonderful debut novel and am eagerly anticipating the two further novels yet to follow.

Jasmine – Jaz, as she refers to herself – Parks, works for the CIA doing Special Ops work dealing with vampires and other preternatural phenomena. She is an ‘assistant assassin’, and after being transfered from a Helsinger unit, she is now working with an enigmatic, over 300 year old Romanian vampire named Vayl. What starts as a simple assassination of a terrorist sympathizer brings them not only closer as a team, but into a situation that will not only bring them both face-to-face with their own individual pasts, but into a deadly maelstrom with more far-reaching repercussions and higher stakes than they ever could have imagined.

My rating for this book would be an 8.5 out of 10.

Despite it not necessarily being of the most enduring quality, it is one of the best vampire books I have read in a long time. Though targeting adults, I would handsell this to older teens as well, as I believe they may appreciate not only a great story that immerses you from page one, but may well be able to identify with the fallible and jaded Jaz Parks.




2 responses

10 02 2009
So many books, so few muscles. « Bookseller By Night

[…] such as the NEIBA trade show. I owe her a debt of gratitude for helping me turn my customers on to the Jaz Parks series. We had too short a time to catch up at NYCC, since by that point in the day I was in extremely […]

22 04 2010
[Horror/Urban Fantasy] Review: UNCLEAN SPIRITS « Bookseller By Night

[…] Readers, while I try to thrash some of my to-do list into submission. This one is again written by Crystal L. Woods, my intern at Mike’s Comics, who has done her own time in the bookselling […]

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