October 18, 2012

Review: Second Chance

Second Chance Book Two of The Slayer Chronicles
By Heather Brewer
Available now from Dial (Penguin)
Review copy
Read my reviews of SOULBOUND and ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS and read an event report

Heather Brewer decided to expanded on her popular series The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod with a series of novels about Joss the Slayer that occur between events in the main continuity.  In other words, it's summer in the city.

In this case the city is New York City and it happens to be infested by a group of four serial-killing vampire brothers.  Joss is on the outs with his slayer brethren since he took a private job.  (See NINTH GRADE SLAYS.)  This is his chance to prove himself.  But his budding friendship with Vlad and the non-serial-killing vampires he meets on his hunt are causing him to question his indoctrination by the Slayers.  To top things off, he's getting creepy pasta texts from Kat, who wants revenge for the death of her father.

Brewer pulls off a neat trick in The Slayer Chronicles.  Her fans have spent five books getting to know and love several vampires.  Now, she gives them reason to empathize with a group on the other side of the battle for the night.  She could just focus on Joss, but she gives him a group that treat him like a little brother and a respected ally.  It's hard to believe that most of these people are capable of killing an entire town just to dust a few vamps.

Luckily, she doesn't try to redeem Joss's Uncle Abraham, who pushes his young nephew to his limits because of his own issues.  TWELFTH GRADE KILLS revealed that he was acquainted with Em, Vlad's grandmother.  SECOND CHANCES hints that their past will be revealed in The Slayer Chronicles.  I'm certainly looking forward to that.

SECOND CHANCES is a good choice for those who want a quick read with lots of action.  The blurb promises that The Slayer Chronicles can be read alone as well as with The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, but I think you'd be best served reading both series.  Brewer isn't interested in rehashing events, so you'll miss chunks of Joss's life (that contain vital character developments) between books.  Penguin does appear to be putting out bind-ups that contain the relevant entries of both series, so you might want to wait for that edition if you aren't familiar with the Vlad Tod books.

Heather Brewer will be at Stonebriar Center Mall in Plano tonight; I may or may not attend.  (Probably not, because it's a long, tolled drive and I think I have a family thing anyway.)  But that Barnes and Noble is fab so you should go if you can.  Her presentation will tie into October's new role as Anti-Bullying Month.

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