Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Scent of Shadows

(Signs of the Zodiac #1)

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  9,871 ratings  ·  550 reviews
When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare i
Paperback, 455 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Harper Voyager
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Scent of Shadows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Scent of Shadows

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,871 ratings  ·  550 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac, #1)
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
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 attracti
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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. ...more
✨Bean's Books✨
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh 😩
Okay let me start by saying I like the main character. She is a rape victim who came out of it being stronger and better than she was before. I'm a firm believer in that which does not kill you makes you stronger. Okay cool... moving on... it's just cliche after cliche, plot hole after plot hole.... there is so much going on that it makes your head spin. Not to mention the writing is so over-the-top it is ridiculous. I know that this is supposed to be a supernatural fantasy thriller action
Jamie Collins
Oct 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy-urban
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.

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
Nicole Peterson
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Haralambi Markov
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uf-pnr
“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
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
Err....potential here in setup. Not the best execution, but I want to read the second.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Rating: 2.5 to 3

The biggest annoyance were the characters, but the plot had so much Potential™.

It was distracting me from some things going on in my life, so that's a + in its favor.
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I had some issues with getting into this book. It might have gone smoother if any of the zodiac signs were personally interesting to me.
The story and the idea is interesting and intriguing. For most part I thought the book was just OK but there were some really good moments and lines and it bumped up a star in my rating. I like stories with survivors and fighters and this one was really good in that department!
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
Blodeuedd Finland
What's up with rape and UF. I know UF is PNRs darker sister but all the rape, must we?

So yes Jo was raped at 16 and is all messed up cos of that. Also suddenly after almost 10 years she sees her former BF and wants to do something about it. Why wait that long? Ok so that was not my point. What is my point?

One messed up heroine who knows krav maga. She has a bimbo smart sister. She has a dad who hates her. She has painful memories she can let go of.

But she is also special, but the road there was
The writing wasn't bad, the story was kind of interesting, but most of the characters pissed me off.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Carolyn Crane
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Kelly ~Bibliophile~
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
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it
What's in a name?

I read Pettersson's first Zodiac novel, expecting a somewhat standard urban fantasy--especially since it was being hyped by Kim Harrison, a heavyweight in the field.

The novel has many of the now standard bits found in the urban fantasy genre:

--gritty, wisecracking female protagonist

--a heady mix of humor, fast-paced action, and a sprinkling of romance (perhaps due to the high percentage of female readers of this genre?)

--secret societies at war in an unsuspecting world

--a protag
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Storyline: When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead. Now, a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset, a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow; seeking answers to whom or what she really is and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

On the eve of her 25th birthday, she finds it in the form of a peculiar date who looks like a gaunt banker one moment and like hell sp
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mrs. Badass
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 31, 2010 marked it as to-read
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
Oct 19, 2010 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
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
One of the most intriguing stories I have read in a long time. When Joanna Archer was sixteen she was assualted and left for dead, years later she is a photographer by day but at night she is hunting the creatures who hurt her and prevent them from harming others.

This book I kept thinking "Oh what a tangled web we weave...." It is highly creative and a pure adrenaline rush.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this. Her writing is simple, not provocative, but creative. It's just what I need to de-stress and leave behind the real world. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville #1)
  • Working for the Devil (Dante Valentine, #1)
  • Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, #1)
  • For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5)
  • Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1)
  • The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13)
  • Dead Man Rising (Dante Valentine, #2)
  • Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1)
  • Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)
  • Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Parks, #1)
  • White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows, #7)
  • A Fistful of Charms (The Hollows, #4)
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
  • The Undead Pool (The Hollows, #12)
  • Tempest Rising (Jane True, #1)
  • Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts, #1)
  • Stormwalker (Stormwalker, #1)
  • Dark and Stormy Knights
See similar books…
Vicki Pettersson is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, most set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll ever consider that glittering dustbowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas,Texas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).

Her most recent release is SWERVE, aptly titled as it's both a chase boo

Other books in the series

Signs of the Zodiac (6 books)
  • 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)

Related Articles

Sarah J. Maas is an author who almost needs no introduction, at least in the world of young and new adult fiction. She's a multiple New York...
221 likes · 27 comments
“Just because someone tried to make you into a victim didn’t mean that’s what you had to be.” 21 likes
“Looks can’t hide your true identity. It’s the eyes that give you away…the soul behind them. The intent. The Shadows.” 18 likes
More quotes…