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Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,535 Ratings  ·  973 Reviews
A USA Today Bestseller!

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she's on. She's never brought her work home with her---until now.

This time, it's persona
Paperback, 325 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Orbit
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City of Bones by Cassandra ClareMoon Called by Patricia BriggsVampire Academy by Richelle MeadHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingMagic Bites by Ilona Andrews
The Best Urban Fantasy
91st out of 2,798 books — 9,937 voters
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Books With Heroes/Heroines Who Are Assassins
27th out of 752 books — 3,215 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

Red-Headed Stepchild is the first book in the Sabina Kane series. We’re introduced to, of course, Sabina Kane, who is half mage, half vampire. We’re also introduced to a hilarious demon named Giguhl, a nymph named Vinca and a hot mage named Adam.

This is my first read by author Jaye Wells, and I enjoyed it. There were some very funny moments, and I have to be honest here and say that I think Giguhl, who spent a good part of this story as a bald cat, is probably my favorite character of the book
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
Red Headed Stepchild is about a half mage, half vampire assassin called Sabina Kane. She's been sent into the enemy's base to infiltrate their secrets and perform an assasination that gets complicated, as she finds out more about the people and her own birth.

At the very start of the book, there was a part that revealed that every vampire is a red head. The ones with darker mahogany hair are older and more powerful, while the ones with lighter auburn hair are newborns. I found this reference to b
Julie (jjmachshev)
Mar 31, 2009 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
"Red-Headed Stepchild" is a debut fantasy novel from Jaye Wells with a good dose of sexual tension. As a debut novel there was quite a bit of world-building and scene setting, but the story still moved along at a rapid pace with not too much lag time. The heroine is a kick-butt assassin who becomes torn between her two worlds as the novel progresses.

Sabrina is the product of a forbidden union between a vamp and a mage. Her mother died not long after her birth and she was brought up by her Grand
Erin (Paperbackstash) *Proud Book Hoarder*

“By now, I should have learned that luck, if she was a lady, was a mean-spirited bitch with a grudge against me.”

Red-Headed Stepchild’s blurb drew me in with its intriguing sounding storyline, and of course the fact that I completely heart Urban Fantasy series and always hunt for more to add to my growing obsession collection. The story line promises a mix and blend of mages and vampires, so think of uber magic and an intricate world with a set-up system. Unfortunately the beginning book was
Jan 24, 2011 Carina rated it it was ok
First off just let me say that I truly wanted to like this book. I really did! I was in love with the cover, the description of the summary, and even though I had seen many mixed reviews about the book, it sounded like a story that I could really enjoy.

Before I start ranting about all the aspects of the book that I didn't like, let me begin with what I did like.

I really enjoyed the author's take on vampires. Having already done some research of my own, I was already aware of the legend of Lilith
Feb 12, 2009 Mark rated it it was amazing
Sabina's a half-breed vamp with a little bit of the magixes in her! An assassin with a near impossible task and a secret history worthy of the best of Jerry Springer, Vamp edition! While it's not a comedy per se, there are tons of laugh out loud moments and Sabina's as engaging an urban fantasy heroine as I've read in years.

Ps. Loved me some Giguhl, Sabina's demon sidekick. I could read a whole spin-off of Mr. Giggles!

Carolyn (Book Chick City)
'Red-Headed Stepchild' was such a fab read! It's the first in the 'Sabina Kane' series and what a fantastic start. I was pulled into Sabina's life from the get-go and I liked her immediately.

Sabina Kane is an assassin, which means she's one tough cookie. She fights hard and enjoys it, but to do this she has to sacrifice her personal life and do the bidding of her grandmother, the head of the Dominae, to the point that she will kill even her friends. She's also a 'half-blood' - half vampire and h
Missy Ann
Jun 22, 2009 Missy Ann rated it did not like it
A 4 star average? Really?

First of all unforgivable errors in the time line.

Sabina was a worthless character. She's supposedly 53 years old. Yet she has the emotional maturity of a 15 year old. Are vampires emotionally retarded? Her relationships were shallow and fraught with logical errors. And don't get me started on the demon/cat. Unoriginal, uninteresting, unfunny, unnecessary. And I really liked how all of a sudden she understood the basics of spell casting.

It was written like a bad actio
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)
I read this book so fast even when I tried to pace myself. I absolutely love Sabina. I think she may very well be my second favourite heroine. I feel like I understand her so well. Her personality is quite cold in the beginning because that's how she was raised by her grandmother. But soon, she realizes that those who she thought were on her side are not. In RHSC picking a side is a lot more difficult than you think.

I also have to mention Giguhl and Adam and Vinca. Giguhl is a hilarious demon w
Mistress   ~ ♠ Mistral's Kiss ♠ ~ (Mist)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I’m always fascinated by the many variations of vampires out there in the literature. In Red-Headed Stepchild, vampires are descendants of an illicit union between Cain and Lilith. Most people are familiar with Cain, but let’s take a few minutes to talk about Lilith, who is one scary lady in the folklore. Lilith was known as a night demon. When infants died in their sleep, Lilith was to blame. She appears in a lot of the literature written at the time of the Bible. When Jaye Wells used Lilith as ...more
Lanie (Lanies Book Thoughts)
Jan 26, 2015 Lanie (Lanies Book Thoughts) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Sabina is an outcast in her world. She doesn't belong to either side of her blood line, she's an unwanted woman with a special set of gifts that tends to get her into trouble. This girls a hardass with a heart, even though she likes to deny it. Her latest assignment might just be her undoing though.
Red-Headed Stepchild is my go to Urban Fantasy read. This book is gritty with a female lead that really lives on the edge of her society. When people see Sabina Kane they either run, laugh or attack.
Anzu The Great Destroyer
Review from ZombieHazard

Digging graves is hell on a manicure

How can’t you love a book that starts like this?

Red-Headed Stepchild is one hell of a book. It’s fast-paced (I’m a sucked for fast-paced books), the heroine is wicked cool and the story freakin’ awesome! Since this was a group read and I was the only one who loved it this much I guess my review will be totally subjective. My mood was perfect for it so I got lucky, I guess.

First of all I shall pick on the cover! Cool lady, love the h
Jun 25, 2015 Sassapphras rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, i-quit
I'm only a few chapters into this book, and I can already say I don't like it. There is a lot to be desired as far as dialogue goes. It feels childish--seriously like jr. high kids are conversing instead of adults. And as for the characters--I sincerely dislike them all. That, in itself, wouldn't be a "broke the camel's back" issue if I at least liked the main character. But being unable to respect her makes that an unlikelihood. For a century-old assassin, she is about the dumbest person I've e ...more
Really a 3.5, but definately not a 4. It has all of the right urban fantasy elements, almost a checklist. Tough chick, tough decisions, wacky friends, hot guy she starts out hating but starts to fall for, betrayal, etc. But I jus didn't have the zip or energy it needs to be a 4. I like Sabina and the story, I am looking forward to the next book, but... I do like her different take on vamps, mages, elves and demons. She uses the tried and true Lilith myth, but in a new way. The supporting charact ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Nafiza rated it did not like it
I read a lot of the genre so I am fairly cognizant of what I like and what works from the perspective of a reader. Now it might be that I started this immediately after finishing a Karen Chance novel but I found myself unable to continue this story till the end. I don't want to be totally mean because this is her first book and the writing itself isn't horrible. What totally annoyed me were her characters.

Sabina is supposed to be some hot shot vampire assassin; she has powers which set her apart
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I can't seem to find a decent UF book these days. Either I've read all the good ones, or I'm simply tired of the genre altogether. If it's the former, I'm in deep trouble and I have to wait for next installments of all the series I'm already attached to. If it's the latter, I'm in even deeper trouble since I don't seem to enjoy much else.
But let's get back to the reason I'm this depressed. I’ve long ago promised myself that I’ll never start paying attention to the language of these books (or an
Bell Curran
Full disclosure: I couldn't finish it. I forced myself to read to page 100 and then decided I would rather do just about anything than read this book. I took it to the playground to read while the kids were on the flying fox, and at one point I decided it was more interesting to stare at the sky than read this book.

Half of the problem was the writing: It was clunky in a way that seemed designed to appeal to a tween audience (e.g. when the eponymous narrator informs the reader that all vampires h
DarkHeart "Vehngeance"
A wonderful debut novel to a promising new series. I really enjoyed the characters of Sabina, Adam, and Vinca. Throw a hairless demon cat into the mix and you're set for an exciting adventure. I look forward to reading more about Sabina as she uncovers the secrets of her identity.
Dec 14, 2015 Alexandra rated it did not like it

Ok, so... I didn't like this book. I didn't hate it, I just didn't like it. I felt Red-Headed Stepchild was all over the place and everything was confusing. From the hair color of the different races to Sabina's constant shift with her emotions.

Sabina's hair color is red and black, but no hair dye can alter it (because of the whole mark of Cain thing). Ok, then why didn't she dye her black strands red so she won't feel so self-aware all the time because of her mixed heritage? That means that mag
Nov 26, 2009 Natasha rated it it was amazing
Red-Headed Stepchild is the first installment in the Sabrina Kane series by Jane Wells.
Let me start off by saying I loved this book. I heard so many good things, and was hoping it lived up to the expectations I had, and I'm happy to say it did. I'm a new fan of Jane Wells and I will be following her writing from now on! Red-Headed Stepchild was an awesome debut to the beginning of a new trilogy.(Wells says there might be more surprises or stories with the character Sabrina beside the trilogy,
Mar 21, 2009 Monie rated it it was amazing
Half vampire, half mage Sabina Kane is an assassin working for the Dominae vampire council. Her latest job is to infiltrate the renegade group of vampires led by Clovis Trakiya who is recruiting vampires and other paranormal beings to ultimately overthrow the Dominae.

Raised by her grandmother, a powerful leader in the Dominae council, Sabina has always been required to suppress the mage side of her abilities. In the midst of infiltrating Clovis' group she's approached by a mage who has some int
Jan 29, 2012 Naoms rated it really liked it
I'm surprised by all the so-so reviews I've read about this book, because I LOVED it. I'm not a huge fan of assassin heroes or heroines, because the assassin tends to be overly confident and just brag too much that it annoys me. Sabina was pretty badass, with enough vulnerability and a desire to belong, that made her realistic and not eye-roll worthy. It also had enough family drama, hot men and evil intentions to keep the book going.

Sabina Kane is an assassin, because in her world she didn't qu
Francesca the Fierce (Under the Covers Book Blog)
Sabina is half vampire, half mage. She's been brought up by her vampire grandmother, after her mother died, thinking that her mage family didn't want her. She is an assassin for the Dominae, which is the vampire ruling body, headed by her grandmother. But on her latest assignment, all her beliefs about the people she loves and calls her own, and what she knows about her past, is all going to be put to the test and challenged.

And since I usually try not to give too much away with my review, all I
The Flooze
It's true that this debut novel has certain elements in common with other popular series. But really, don't they all?

Jaye Wells' first novel of her Sabina Kane trilogy hits the ground running. When we meet Sabina, she's digging a grave, lamenting the damage to her manicure, and praising black cashmere's ability to camouflage ickyness like blood and gravedirt. Reading this, you know you're in for a macabre yet humorous ride.

And it's funny. There are a lot of one-liners to prompt a gasp. There's a
Ranting Dragon
Feb 04, 2011 Ranting Dragon rated it liked it
Shelves: james

Sabina Kane is a half-blood in a world where half-bloods are not allowed to exist. Raised by her cold grandmother, the head of the Dominae—the governing sect of vampires—who has filled her with a constant longing for approval, she does the only job that she’s qualified for: killing people who oppose the Dominae, whether they be friend or lifelong enemy of the vampire race.

When Sabina is asked to infiltrate a growing threat opposing the vampire race, she ac
Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)
Sabina Kane is an assassin for the Dominae, the governing body for the vampires, ruled over by her Grandmother. As a half vampire and half mage she is somewhat of an outcast amongst the vampires, as all mage and vampire relations are strictly forbidden on pain of death, however, she has been raised under their dogma and is fiercely loyal to her Grandmother and the Dominae. But things start to unravel as Sabina is sent to do an undercover mission to infiltrate a cult and to assassinate their lead ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steph by: SANDRA
Shelves: kindle-read
This book was chosen for me by a friend in our Pick it for Me' Challenge.
I will admit that I wasn't really expecting much because UF isn't usually my thing. I tend to need a good strong romance to accompany a storyline.

But I am more than happy to admit that I was wrong. Within a few chapters I knew I was going to really enjoy this book, and I did.
The storyline was action pact and fast paced. For me there was never that lull in the middle where I start to get bored, it flowed nicely througho
Nichole (Dirrty H)
Slow start. The first half had me wondering if I would be able to finish, and fairly certain I would not be reading any further installments. My general impression was that it was not in the least bit original (characters or plot), and any parts that were were both A. completely minor and inconsequential and B. either boring or flat out eye-roll-worthy. (i.e. all vampires have red hair? ugh.)
I also found Sabina to be a flat, urban fantasy stereotype of a stubborn, borderline TSTL "chick-in-leath
Kenya Wright
Mar 27, 2010 Kenya Wright rated it liked it
I would have liked to give this book 3.5 stars. I will definetly read the next!

*Great world reminded me a little of Kim Harrison books, but not the writing skill.
*loved her vampires, faeries, and demons.. less scarier and disgusting than other renditions of these species like Laurell K Hamilton's books.
*I was happy that there wasn't alot of sex. I hate how Urban Fantasy books have become SMUTTY! not this one.
*Mr. Giggles loved!

*She seemed a little slow
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Jaye Wells is a USA Today-bestselling author of urban fantasy and speculative crime fiction. Raised by booksellers, she loved reading books from a very young age. That gateway drug eventually led to a full-blown writing addiction. When she’s not chasing the word dragon, she loves to travel, drink good bourbon and do things that scare her so she can put them in her books. Jaye lives in Texas with h ...more
More about Jaye Wells...

Other Books in the Series

Sabina Kane (5 books)
  • The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane, #2)
  • Green-Eyed Demon (Sabina Kane, #3)
  • Silver-Tongued Devil (Sabina Kane, #4)
  • Blue-Blooded Vamp (Sabina Kane, #5)

Share This Book

“I walked to the door where Clovis waited. When I looked up, he was staring at Adam. A quick glance backward confirmed Adam was returning his stare. Freaking males, I thought, they couldn’t be more obvious about their territorial dispute if they’d both peed on me.” 82 likes
“Sure. What's the worst that could happen."
Twenty minutes later, we had our answer. "I can't frecking believe this."
I cringed. "I'm so sorry."
"I'm bald!" Giguhl continued. "I look like a freak."
"It's not that bad," I said. But it was. Oh, my lord was it bad. I'd never seen an uglier cat in my entire life.”
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