The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac #1)
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The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac #1)

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  7,131 ratings  ·  464 reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Vegas showgirl-turned-novelist Vicki Pettersson's debut novel is sure to be an instant hit with readers who enjoy authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison,and Charlaine Harris. Blending dark fantasy and hard-boiled mystery with elements of romance and apocalyptic thriller, The Scent of Shadows -- the first installment of the Signs of the...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers
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Seth
Jan 22, 2008 Seth rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Desperate readers and people willing to handle major problems in the faint hope of a better tomorrow
It looks good. New author, first novel, recommendations on the cover by Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and Diana Gabaldon(2). Woman becomes a Super-Powered Heroine fighting forces of darkness and it's supposed to have non-stop action, some hot sex scenes, and it's set in Las Vegas, always a great setting for supernatural action.

But look more closely. The back cover has a big, glossy picture of the author: an atractive brunette with a decidedly Linda Carter look. Large pictures of the attractiv...more
Lorena
This was an odd book for me...on the one hand, there are more plot holes than you can shake a stick at, and they're all big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through. It was one of those that kept me up at night after I finished it, thinking "WTF was [plot point X] all about? That makes no freakin' sense! And then there was [Y]! What was THAT?" On the other hand, the main character was very compelling, and the writing generally very good, so I'm giving the second book a try.
AH
Scent of Shadows has some intriguing ideas. The book pits comic book hero type characters in a battle between Light and Shadow using the symbols of the Zodiac. Each Zodiac sign has a corresponding fighter in both Light and Shadow. There is a prophecy that the Kairos will come, and the Shadow forces are hunting him or her down.

The Light and Shadow heroes track each other by scents. They each have their own specialty weapon exclusive to themselves. If they are killed by their own weapon, the kille...more
Jamie
I've started this, but so far I don't like it very much. There's something about the writing that bugs me - too much exposition, maybe.

Followup:
I gave it up 100 pages in. The story didn't capture my interest and the writing was too melodramatic for my taste. I mean, the heroine seriously says things like: "The knowledge of violence is my playmate."

I also don't like the details of a character's psyche to be spelled out so explicitly. I prefer to get to know a character in a more subtle way as the...more
Nikki  Peterson
Holy crap, where to begin without just mindlessly babbling about all the good parts and giving up all the goodies? Hmmm...Let me think... Have you ever read a book about super heroes that wasn't a comic? This is pretty much it. It has it's own little twists and turns. There are comics involved... But not how you would think. It is so sweet how it all ties in together, but I can't really tell you without letting the "cat" out of the bag. I'm just having a hard time trying to put into words what I...more
Pat Patterson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elspeth
Meh.
The writing wasn't bad, the story was kind of interesting, but most of the characters pissed me off.
Felicia
Err....potential here in setup. Not the best execution, but I want to read the second.
Haralambi Markov
“The Scent of Shadows” by Vicki Pettersson for me is probably one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read in a while. It can be described as gritty, dark, violent and one of the more captivating Urban Fantasy titles on the market. A lot can be said about the book, the ideas it conveys and the quality of the writing. By my rating standards this novel exceeds the maximum ten points and skyrockets far in the distance.

“The Scent of Shadows”, which actually is only the first installment of...more
Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim)
Finished this today. Well, first of all, for a 450+ page book, it went really fast. There are some definite cool parts. There are some definite not so cool parts. The scent thing? cool. The comic book shop kids? Not cool. The characters are pretty good. The plot is decent. The world makes no sense whatsoever. I just don't understand parts of this world/mythology.

A decent character face-off with decent dialog is followed up with a scene where a characters bones are melted and eyes bleed when they...more
Kay
Pettersson throws us straight into the action - leaving us to work out the universe as Joanna does. It is a complicated one too, as we have zero frame of reference to go on. Put simply, this series is about a war between two superhero factions: the forces of Light and Shadow. Their battles are depicted in comic form after the fact, then sold to humans as fiction.

Had I understood this before starting, I likely wouldn't have continued. While I appreciate the whole superhero thing, it just wouldn't...more
Paula
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika  Badass
This book was intriguing enough that I want to read the next, but there were plot holes and some dragging pages.
Joanna Archer has been through hell, and is about to be dragged into the burning pit. I felt really bad for Jo during this whole book. The parts with her and Ben were Sad and hopeful and then...I want to learn more about Ben and what is happening to him.
I thought parts were confusing, but I'm glad I stuck with it. This is more Urban Fantasy and less romance, which as fine with me.
I'm...more
Kathryn
I picked this book up at a Vicki Pettersson book signing. I was quite impressed, and that doesn't include the fact that she lives here in my home town. It was very interesting reading her take on the town and as the main character traveled through the casinos and the city.

The series is a bit of a "lengthy" read. Sometimes the author gets stuck and has a hard time moving forward but it is a well done series.

This book, tells the story of Joanna Archer and her life now and previously before she k...more
Schnaucl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura the Highland Hussy
I am officially done with this book. BUT I am not rating it or adding it to my d-n-f shelf because I couldn't make it past page 30. I tried, I really tried.

Maybe when I'm in the mood for a dark and gritty UF I'll come back to it-that's the advantage of books-they're always there waiting for me.

The premise sounds super interesting, and the fact that it takes place in my hometown is awesome! But I'm shelving it for a while, and I will come back to it, just for now, I'm moving on.

(can you tell I f...more
Janon
Aug 05, 2007 Janon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like supernatural, stong female protagonists without massive quantities of porn
I read this book on the recommendation of some invisible friends online. I liked that the heroine was fairly strong, but with flaws, and flaws that I could understand and empathize with. One challenge I have with the later Anita Blake novels is that I really, really don't like her.

The only thing I really didn't like about this novel is the physical transformation that happens midway, because again - what a surprise, the heroine is a mega-babe. Jeez, aren't there any just ordinarily pretty women...more
Ami
Mar 27, 2013 Ami marked it as dnf
I know that I should've given it a chance, at least until I get into 100 pages or so. But really ... a girl who is raped and beaten to death when she is 16 and now her motto is "to never say no"?!? I mean, WTF? And I took a peek at the ending ... I guess I would just be more confused and pissed off with it. I have encountered feeling confused with other UF books before but this one will just not do for me.

So yeah. ABANDONING SHIP! (and move on to different book, my life is to short to get frustr...more
Carolyn Crane
Smart, multi-layered, and thrilling with good meaty psychological drama. The Zodiac books have everything I love in an urban fantasy! The main character, Joanna Archer, is into photography and has a thing with darks and lights, and this theme echoes through the series in a hugely cool way. These days, Zodiac is one of my favorite UF series along with Armstrong's Otherworld.
Kelly ~Series Hunter~
3.5 stars - but since I cant give it that Ill go with 4 since it was a pretty cool idea.

So, This book was a really interesting idea!
"Light Zodiac Troops" keep watch over the big cities all over the world. 12 people, one chosen for each star sign, that attempt to counteract and stop the evil-doings of their Shadow counterparts.

The book was a very fun read, though I had a few eye roll moments.
I love the idea of "superheros" keeping an eye on the world but I wish that in the book they called th...more
Keysha
Para mi esta novela fue como un coctel ya que tomo un poco de las historias de los súper héroes, más un poco de la historia detrás de los signos del zodiaco, más una pinta de la eterna lucha entre la luz en la sombra y por ultimo una joven capaz de patear traseros sin remordimiento alguno pero con un gran corazón y ¿cuál es el resultado? E l comienzo de la historia de Joanna Archer.

Al empezar a leer esta novela al principio no estaba muy segura de que me iba a gustar pero mientras leía me di cue...more
 ♥ ♥Lynn ♥ ♥
We first meet Joanna Archer on a blind date. Needless to say, this date is a date from hell, or at least from the Dark. Ajax tells Joanna he is there to kill her. When he tries, a man from her past steps in and lends a helping hand.

Ben and Jo have loved one another since they were in the 5th grade. At the age of 16, Jo was raped, beaten, and left for dead. Ben is shocked to see Joanna on a date with a man he and the police have been tracking.

Joanna soon learns she is the first sign of the zodi...more
Lesley
Wow. This was different than anything I've ever read - the magic system, the types of supernatural people - ok, those were really the big differences. No vampire or werewolves, thank god. That has been beaten to DEATH. In this case, it was agents of Light and Shadow. But they aren't demons. Or anything else. The can smell each other and chase their enemies down by scent. They fight with weapons, not magic. They are sort of superheroes with secret identities. They aren't human, but sort of anothe...more
Cindy
I had the whole set of Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series sitting on my to be read shelf. For some reason I kept passing over them. I don't know why...I just did. Now I'm mentally kicking myself for doing that...these books, at least book one, are wonderful!

Joanna Archer has had a troubled time all her life, when she was a young teen she left her boyfriends house, and as she cut through the desert, returning home, she was raped, beaten and left for dead. As she lay in the hospital the boy she love...more
Baby T-Rex
The plot of this book is basically The Matrix with a female hero. The writing is just ok, although some of the scenes got a big "huh?" Like when Joanna "shows her shadow side" to someone- what exactly does that mean? A lot of it seems so contrived and cheesy and the characters say/act in ridiculous ways. Plus, things just come too easily for Joanna once she comes into her powers. She can magically use a bow and arrow and a whip without ever practicing those weapons before. How convenient. Oh, an...more
Jennifer
One of the best series I have read in a while. Imagine finding out that you are a superhero and your entire life changes in one night? Yeah most of us would not handle that well and frankly neither does Joanna. She does a lot of crying and raging about what this "new life" has cost her and frankly I feel her pain. And whoa is she pissed with good reason!! All she wants is revenge and instead she has to sign on to save the world. I think the action and the pace catch you so fast and draw you in s...more
Steph
Overall: 3.5★

The Scent of Shadows introduces us to multi-billionaire heiress Joanna Archer. We meet her sister Olivia, who is the epitome of the Paris Hilton-type wealthy heiress to the outside world, but she has a big heart and is Joanna's best, and only, friend. While Olivia is loved and pampered by their father, Joanna and he are like oil and water. They tolerate each other, but only just.

When Joanna was sixteen, she was assaulted (OF NOTE: the assault and rape are not described in detail), r...more
Ambre
I find it kind of unfortunate that this book is so unpleasant- I actually like the authors prose. But this is the opposite of the strong capable woman who isn't either- this is the woman who is supposed to be perceived as strong and capable but actually is just stubborn and mean.

Yeah, I get it, she is battling her demons. But the author doesn't seem to know the difference between sharp tongued banter and malevolence. The heroine is supposed to be clever- most clever people can figure that out, o...more
Dan
This book was full of plot holes.

Here is my favorite plot hole. All of the main characters' actions are automatically recorded in comic books. But they're magic comic books, so if a Light character touches a comic book about the Shadow team, or vice versa, they get horribly burned. So these comic books function as evil-detectors. The Light team also has cats which function as evil-detectors. Curiously, they've also known for several months that one of their team is a traitor, but they've never b...more
lynne naranek
There are plenty of good ideas in this book. Most of them work pretty well. The idea of a brigade of the Light (and their Shadow counterpart) in the form of Signs of the Zodiac mixes a new angle with a tried-and-true idea. Having a child that is of both the Light and Shadow is also not unique, but is explored quite well here.

Thankfully, the passages that would put this into the "romance" category were few, and not over the top. Yay!

I'm also thankful that despite having a prophecy at the basis...more
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Vicki Pettersson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Signs of the Zodiac novels, a completed six-book urban fantasy series set in her hometown of Las Vegas. She's now writing Celestial Blues, a supernatural noir trilogy that began with THE TAKEN (2012) and has been followed by THE LOST (2013). She divides her time between Las Vegas and Dallas.
More about Vicki Pettersson...
The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, #2) The Touch of Twilight (Signs of the Zodiac, #3) City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac, #4) Cheat the Grave (Signs of the Zodiac, #5) The Neon Graveyard (Signs of the Zodiac, #6)

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“Just because someone tried to make you into a victim didn’t mean that’s what you had to be.” 16 likes
“Looks can’t hide your true identity. It’s the eyes that give you away…the soul behind them. The intent. The Shadows.” 16 likes
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