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Sabina Kane #1

Red-Headed Stepchild

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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 personal.

325 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 1, 2009

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About the author

Jaye Wells

30 books2,136 followers
Jaye Wells is a former magazine editor whose award-winning speculative fiction novels have hit several bestseller lists. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and is a sought-after speaker on the craft of writing. When she’s not writing or teaching, she loves to travel to exotic locales, experiment in her kitchen like a mad scientist, and try things that scare her so she can write about them in her books. She lives in Texas.

Want free fiction from Jaye? Check out www.jayewells.com for details!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,160 reviews
June 11, 2020
😼 And The Cat Steals The Show Buddy Read with my MacHalo Freaks 😼


If found, please call the Murderous Crustaceans Hotline (1-800-We-Swim-To-Slaughter) urgently, and ask for Fleet Admiral DaShrimp, my go-to-decapod for highly sensitive issues such as this one.

💰 Reward for returning said reviewing mojo 💰
VIP access to my Harem for one night. I kid you not. But hey, don't get overexcited, it's for one night only. And NO, entrance to the high-security area where my most prized possessions are safely stashed away will NOT be granted. I may have lost all inspiration for writing reviews but I haven't entirely lost my mind. Yet.

If in a review emergency, drink copious amounts of vodka dial 1-800-All-Sarahs-Are-Awesome, 1-800-Sometimes-Shelly-Doesn't-Read-Smut, or 1-800-Choko-Is-My-Favorite-Wife. This should satisfy your curiosity about this book. Maybe. I mean, these lovely girls here ↑↑ write pretty crappy reviews, but the situation is desperate, so this will have to do for now .

· Book 2: The Mage in Black ★★★★
· Book 3: Green-Eyed Demon ★★★
· Book 4: Silver-Tongued Devil ★★★ ← aka the last straw. I am done done done with this series.

[Pre-review nonsense]

Back when I was young and stupid naive, ie before Glen Cook ruined me forever, I probably would have given this book a 4-star rating. But I am not anymore, he has, and I didn't. So I went for 3 stars instead. Go, grown-up little me!

This one is a bit on the light side (mostly because it lacks severed heads on spikes), and isn't nearly as good as Jaye Well's Prospero's War series (mostly because it lacks Kate Prospero. And maturity.), but it does show some promise. Because interesting world, because half-vamp half-mage female assassin. And because the bald cat demon stole the show. Giguhl (aka Mr Giggles), you are MINE.

►► Full review to come. In 2078 or something. When days have 3265 hours.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,169 reviews2,568 followers
March 15, 2016
*** 3.44 ***

A buddy read with the Urban Fantasy maniacs at the MacHalo group!

I was almost afraid to start this series because the reviews I read were very discouraging. I am not exactly sure why... I understand it is neither too original, nor extraordinary, but the book has a charm that is undeniable. I had a hard time connecting with Sabina, the main character, in the beginning. However, as the story developed, I got used to the flippened way this Half mage-half vampire girl spoke to everyone and once I accepted this is just how she is, everything else came to its place.

I would be dishonest if I say i was blown away by either the writing or the plot. There were some inconsistencies with Sabina's credentials as an assassin as at times she did not act very assassin like... There were also actions I found unreasonable or illogical, but as I always say, the story-lines are where the author wants to lead us and I have to trust the one who created the story to take us where he/she wants us to go. But I still think that logistical missteps is a bit of a cheating plot device... This was my biggest pet-peeve with the book as a whole.

What I realy liked were the 2 side characters, who when on page, totally stole the show!!! The Demon was my absolute and complete favorite!!! Every time he said something, he cracked me up and was a great comic relief! The Nymph was the softness to Sabina's hard-ass persona and gave balance to the story and heart to the group of creatures surrounding our heroine. The plot was well balanced between dialogues and action, but at the peak of the conflict point, I wish the author would have given us some more definite and complete resolutions... Again, I am not an author, this is just me being a humble Fantasy fanatic:):):)

As a whole, after expecting a total disaster, I was very pleased to read a solid, even fun at times, entry in a beginning of a series. Am I going to read the rest 4 books - absolutely!!! I want to know what happens in this mage and vampire laden world to a very lost and confused halfling who uses the tough and indifferent act as a shield from the rest of the world:):):)

Thanks to my buddies from the MacHalo group - it was a pleasure to share a read with you guys, as always!!! To all, I wish happy reading!:)!!:)!!!
September 11, 2021

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I write this review at nearly 2 in the morning on a work night. Even though I told myself the book was only okay, I needed to find out what happened. Which just goes to show that even if a book isn't written in the best way, a good story can be the saving grace for mediocre writing. I'm not trying to be mean, either. I mean that sincerely from the bottom of my heart. The Sookie Stackhouse series and the Stephanie Plum series won't be winning Pulitzers, but I read more of those books than I'm proud to admit, even though they were basically the same story regurgitated over and over, because they were fun. The Beatles were wrong-- all you need is fun. At least if you're picking up a book.

Here's the thing-- I almost didn't make it through RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. It's so cheesy and utterly drenched in its 2000s-ness. I mean, the heroine, Sabina, is a red- and-black-haired, leather-wearing Hot Topic Warrior who's half-vampire, half-mage. She's like a walking, talking self-insertion fic from someone who read too much L.J. Smith as a kid and never got over their Night World obsession (by far, the superior of L.J. Smith's many series; don't @ me).

Let me tell you just a few of the stand-outs of this book.

🦇 Vampires all have red hair. Darker red hair = older vampire. They can't dye it or anything, either. It's just red forever. Them's the rules. Does this make sense? No. Did I buy into it? No. Did I roll with it? *starts playing some Coolio*

🦇 Sabina is sent by her cold and proper vampire grandma to infiltrate a cult run by a half-demon, half-vampire guy named Clovis who gets his initiates in the mood by putting heroin in the incense burners. He's supposed to be a scary dude, but Clovis makes me picture some overalls-wearing dude with a meth lab in his trailer. I spent a lot of time giggling over his name, I'm sorry. But where did that name come from?

🦇 She's also being stalked by a mage named Adam who says hello by summoning a demon to curse her with. The demon is named Gighul and he is absolutely the best. He sits at home all day watching soap operas and drunk shopping. Gighul is me. Also, he turns into a cat. YES.

🦇 Now that I think about it, Sabina is a lot like Sabrina. She's a half-breed at the center of a big war where everyone wants to use everyone else, including her. She has a demon cat familiar. She's witchy.

🦇 There are vampire wineries where they mix blood with wine. Vampire. WINERIES. And you thought vampire baseball was bougie. Step aside, TWILIGHT, and try some Sanguinarian Shiraz.

🦇 World-building is a little confusing. There's demons, faeries, vampires, mages (which are also called "mancies"), and humans (obviously). They don't like each other very much but there's a truce that's veeeeeery tenuous. Seelie court is mentioned. Mages/mancies get their powers from Hekate. Vampires are descendants of Lilith and Cain. I think humans are called Adamites, which makes it even more confusing that the mage/mancie character is named Adam.

Is this starting to feel like fanfiction to you yet? Yes. Will you roll with it? *starts playing more Coolio*

The writing feels a little chattier than I like but the story was fun and Sabina wasn't a bad narrator. She sort of reminds me of older Anita Blake novels, in that she's clearly a fantastical self-insertion character, but there's still a little soul there, too. I own the whole series and will probably end up bingeing the rest of the books really soon-- and you know what? I'm actually really looking forward to it.

3 to 3.5 stars
Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,571 followers
November 6, 2013

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. There were times I really liked Sabina, and times I didn’t. She’s not a heroine I connected to in a big way, and found myself more concerned about the outcome of the secondary characters than I did her. In fact, it took me well over ½ the book before I became interested in her at all, and to really love a story, I need more than that from my heroines.

One of my favorite scenes takes place with Giguhl and Sabina, when she tries to use magic to send him back home:

"Are you sure you can handle it? I mean, you've never done magic before, right?"

“It seems pretty straight forward. You game?”

He jumped off the couch and looked back at me. “Sure. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Twenty minutes later, we had our answer.

“I can’t freaking 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. “Look at the bright side, you won’t have to worry about shedding anymore.”

Urban Fantasy isn’t my favorite genre, but that said, Red-Headed Stepchild is a pretty decent beginning to a promising series. And as I mentioned before, I did end up liking this book more than I thought I would, but the world in general didn’t grab me and suck me in as I had hoped it would, and even though I did enjoy Giguhl, Vinca and Adam, I’m not sure I’ll continue on with the series.

However, I have been known to change my mind :)

Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,001 reviews3,086 followers
May 23, 2012
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 be interesting and a little comical, but it was unfortunate that it wasn't really followed through well for the rest of the book.

There's this hilarious demon called Gighul in the book. Later on, he gets stuck in the form of a hairless cat. He steals every scene that he's in, and he does provide a bit of comical relief for the entire book.

Unfortunately, Red Headed Stepchild failed to grab me with it's run-of-the-mill story. As I've mentioned in the Serious Overload of Series Buddy Read thread, the story failed to convey a depth of emotion even though the circumstances affecting Sabina were personal. I just found like I was reading a straight action story all the way through, and in the end I failed to care about the main character. For an assassin, I expected her to be more on her guard and less trusting of others, but that didn't seem to be the case.

The mythology covering Lilith and Cain in Adam and Eve's place was quite interesting, and the book does spend quite a lot on it's world building. It seems character development was sacrificed in its place however. A 3 stars read for me, but if I did pick up the sequels it would be to read about what becomes of Gighul.

Check out Happy Indulgence for more reviews!
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,379 reviews1,051 followers
January 27, 2016

“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 a letdown for several reasons, which aren’t the usual ones.

Generally I have a loose form of order I cover in reviews, with characters rarely being discussed first, but Red-Headed Stepchild forces me to change my rule because my dislike for the main character overshadowed everything else. Seriously. If you truly despise the character it’s hard to follow them around as they encounter situations, care about their issues, get into the plot without gritting your teeth, or even care much about the sideline characters.

The ‘heroine’ starts off the book by doing something unforgivable to a friend all in the name of misplaced orders. She does feel regret, but to me it’s certainly not enough. Even if she is living in a world and mindset where the rules always come first (something else I have a hard time understanding as I’m not like that,) more remorse would have been appreciated as she carried it out.

Her abrasive attitude is hard to take. The annoying smugness and overbearing harshness were turn offs. She thankfully does thaw out a bit as pages drag, but frankly she’s so unlikeable it ruined most of the book for me, yech. She’ so incredibly hot headed she acts and speaks without thinking like an enraged, assassin monkey.

It’s not just her personality that rubbed me the wrong way either, but that she’s so clueless. By the end of this book I was fed up with how amazingly blind and dull-witted Sabina was. I mean, seriously? She never would face up to the obvious that sat in front of her face, that was constantly shoved down her throat, painted for her in pictures, and told to her by almost everyone she ran into.

At least Clover and the Grandmother were twisted villains you also like hating, but hating because you should, but liking as villains (Especially Clover….le sigh.) Sidekicks and friends were also engaging, especially with the injected humor coming from the unusual companion who starts tagging along with her, Giguhl.

Now, to the plot. It was certainly a unique one and I hold no faults with it. I’m not really into the whole Lilith vampire storylines, though, I see them sometimes and it doesn’t do much for me, but will wait to reserve judgment on that. The author does an admirable job of blending vampires, mages, fairies, and even unusually crafted demons into a bizarre, legendary mix. The world building isn’t as well structured as some but it’s worthy for a start.

My other complaint of the book is an unusual one I don’t see often. A lot of Urban Fantasies (and other genres) can be dark, gritty, and deep and have humor that works incredibly well too. This book attempted that. The humor worked with flying colors, too. Dialogue is especially funny. But what’s odd is how uneven the humor and the dark stuff was applied. It stood out like a sore thumb. It was like one chapter would be filled with humor and lightness, then the next chapter would be grim and depressing, and then it would keep repeating the cycle. It was almost a merging of two different books or writing styles. Bizarre.

Bottom line is I’ll give the second a chance, the first book may have been a weaker start to the series. And, since Sabina was shown the error of her ways, maybe she’ll start improving as a character. I can only hope so. Overall Sabina’s negative outlook, childish temper, and blind devotion was a turnoff, and the humor and grittiness needs to be applied more convincingly. It’s not a book I can recommend.
Profile Image for Denisa.
1,155 reviews280 followers
March 14, 2016
3.5 I really enjoyed this book!

I absolutely love a badass female assassin who isn't actually a bleeding heart. I mean, I've read so many books where the assassin/sucubus/badass/mage/whatever is actually a good guy but he/she has no choice and boo hoo! Finally someone who not only accepts her job but actually likes it! I mean, c'mon, you kill people for a living! Don't tell me you cry at night after you killed 15 people that day!
So I was damn glad to see that Sabina is one of the good ones!

I loved the lore, the story behind the vamps and how they came to be. Although it kinda made me curious about how the other species came to be (and unfortunately, I didn't get my answers).

For some reason, the female friend character looked something like this to me

The fact that she was a felt like a bit of a stretch...

And well, while I liked Adam (the male character), I can't say that I absolutely loved him. He didn't really do it for me (sorry Adam). But I really hope I change my opinion of him in the next book!
Profile Image for Julie (jjmachshev).
1,069 reviews281 followers
March 31, 2009
"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 Grandmother (note the captial G) who is the Head of the Dominae (vampires) and as cold as they come. Her Grandmother raised Sabrina in an almost-vacuum, while teaching her exactly what she wanted Sabrina to know--all other races are inferior, the Dominae is everything and as a halfbreed Sabrina owes her life and loyalty to those who raised her. And finally, she also raised Sabrina to be a stone-cold assassin who kills the 'targets' selected by the Dominae without question. Although Sabrina is frustrated by her inability to receive any kind of warm approval from her Grandmother, she still tries...until the day her target is her best friend and she's sent to become a spy in an enemy camp.

I admit to having some issues with Sabrina and her adamant refusal to open her eyes to the reality of what was going on around her. I understand WHY the author began the book the way she did...but that doesn't mean I have to like it. However, as the story unfolded I began to warm to Sabrina (in spite of her mulishness) and actually feel a bit sorry for her situation.

As first novels go, this one was pretty good. The action was fast-paced, the world is fairly complex without being confusing, and the heroine is certainly memorable. There were some weak spots where I felt the author was trying too hard to spell things out for me ad infinitum...but I'll still put the next book on my to buy list. If nothing else, I want to see where all that sexual tension goes!!
Profile Image for Carina.
43 reviews18 followers
January 25, 2011
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 and Cain and how they spawned the vampire race. I was pleasantly surprised when I read that and was happy to see a new take on vampire lore. Yay for no sparkling vamps!!! :D

Okay, so the story started out great and I thought that it would stay amazing throughout. Well to my sad, sad disappointment, I found that fairly quickly, my interest in the book was dwindling. I kept reading, hoping that the book could somehow win back its appeal, and it did later on, but only briefly. I think that the author's voice was too overly sarcastic for my taste and was one of the main reasons I think the book was so quickly ruined for me.

Now here's the bit where I'm indecisive on how I stand. Sabina. Oh where to begin? Well, I guess I should say that I loved how much of a bad-ass she was. But there was just something that I disliked about her that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Perhaps she was too perfect? Too whiny? Or maybe she was to vain about how bad-ass she was? Who knows? It could have been all three! Either way that was a bit of a disappointment.

And then the final battle scene. Erm, cliché much? Well ok only the dialogue was cliché but that kinda ruined the whole scene for me. So this is kinda how it went down...(all paraphrased of course but it went something along these lines)

Evil Villian: Silly girl! Oh you're so silly to think that you could kill me. Oh how you make me chuckle with giddy amusement *evil cackle*.
Sabina: Hmm...well even though I should probably kill you because so far through this book I've shown how heartless and unsympathetic I am, I'm just going to send you to hell so you can be tortured by demons even though you'll probably escape after awhile and ya know somehow I just don't have the heart to kill you right now.
*POOF* <--just sent him to hell
Evil Villainess: My only regret is that I should have killed you when you were born, Sabina. Now you will die!!!
Sabina: My only regret was how long it took to see how evil you were. You're going down beetch!!
Evil Villainess: *evil cackle* <--really now?! What's with the villains and their evil cackle?

And in the end the Evil Villainess get's sent to Siberia of all places so that she will 'suffer' but seriously?? She's a freakin powerful vamp!! What were you thinking Sabina? Oh but I have to share this bit as well...(btw this part is not paraphrased. These are the actual lines from the book)

Evil Villain: "I'd be a fool to let you live."
Sabina: "You're already a fool."
Me: >.> *ahem* LAME!!! *ahem* *cough cough*
'It was lame and I knew it but I was too busy trying to figure out how to overpower [him].'
Me: Really? I mean come on, acknowledging that it was lame dialogue doesn't make it any better!!! At that point it just looks like an excuse because the author couldn't think of any better for the characters to say. Sabina's a freaking assassin!!! She shouldn't have to stall him with lame-o dialogue before making her move. Now I'm not sure if corny 'good vs evil showdown' dialogue annoys any of you guys or if I'm just being too harsh here, but I really think that the author could have done a much better job with this scene in all respects to dialogue.

Yeah so that was a bit annoying but now with all that said, I kinda stopped caring towards the end of the book. I just sort of skimmed through the dialogue and whatnot just trying to finish the darn thing! I'm sure that some people might like this book but it just didn't do it for me. I definitely won't be buying the sequels but perhaps if a friend loans them to me I'll give the author a chance to redeem herself.
Profile Image for Missy Ann.
195 reviews
June 22, 2009
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 action movie. Things just happened and characters acted in illogical ways just so the plot could get from point A to point J.

Sorry I wasted my money and my time on this book.
Profile Image for Carolyn  Storer.
440 reviews1,145 followers
June 14, 2015
'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 half mage. This is a difficult place to be as both are on the verge of war...with each other. Sabina's sassy, snarky attitude is just perfectly written and exactly how I like my urban fantasy heroines.

He grabbed my arm and spun me around into a choke hold.
"If you wanted foreplay, you just had to ask," he whispered in my ear.
By adjusting my weight, I managed to flip him over my shoulder easily. His body hit the ground like a sack of potatoes drenched in too much cologne. He lay still for a moment, shocked by the impact. I placed the heel of my boot against his neck.
"You need to learn some manners," I said. "And while you're at it, try a breath mint."

However, although Sabina is a loner her character development is evident as the story progresses. In her fight to eliminate the enemy, in the form of vampire villan Clovis, Sabina meets a few people on the way who change her life. She begins to realise that having friends isn't such a bad thing and it was great to see her grow and become fond of them all.

'Red-Headed Stepchild' is definitely an urban fantasy but it also has a lot of humour. I usually prefer my UF to be on the darker, grittier side but with this book there are so many really well written light-hearted moments that I couldn't help but love it.

Most of these moments come in the form of a demon-cat, 'Mr Giggles', who is in fact a huge Mischief Demon called Giguhl, who was sent to kill Sabina. Unfortunately he doesn't succeed and instead becomes Sabina's familiar. To disguise himself to the outside world he transforms himself into a cat, and then for some unknown reason cannot transform back. It gets even funnier when Sabina tries to use magic she's never used before to turn him back into his very large, powerful imposing demon self, only to remove all the fur from Giguhl's cat body, to his utter embarrassment, revealing shiny wrinkled skin!

These moments were great and had me smiling and chuckling to myself. Having said that, if they weren't included it wouldn't have influenced the plot as the demon's role doesn't impact Sabina's mission. Also, I wasn't sure about this amount of humour in my urban fantasy at first, but only a short way into the book I was so enjoying Ms Wells' writing and the witty dialogue she used between the demon and Sabina that I couldn't imagine this sub-story not being there.

The other characters were also very well-rounded. Vinca is a sweet faery, more correctly a nymph. She's sweet and bubbly, but not as innocent as she looks as Sabina finds out when they go for a drink together...She's Sabina's first real 'friend' and it takes some getting used to, but Sabina soon warms to Vinca's peppy nature.

Clovis, on the other hand, is vile. He's the vampire villan who wants to rule over all the dark-races and he immerses himself in this role. I didn't like him one bit and I felt all of Sabina's disgust when he drinks from her. She's been sent by her Grandmother - who is an evil piece of work, I might add - to assassinate him, but while on the mission she discovers many unknown truths about her vampire family that leave her reeling and unable to fulfill her mission.

Now we get to the hero hottie, Adam - one word...Yum! Adam is a powerful Mage who has been sent to deliver Sabina to the mage family she never knew. Adam is a great character, just yummy, and delicious, and have I mentioned yummy? There is lots of sexual chemistry between Sabina and Adam and it begins with the love/hate kind - my favourite. They argue and fight and pretend they dislike each other immensely but it's obvious these two are hot for each other. Despite the fact there is this romantic aspect to 'Red-Headed Stepchild' it doesn't dip too far into the paranormal romance genre and feel it's still firmly within the urban fantasy camp.


I really loved this book! With such great characters, an exciting story with a fast-paced, action-packed plot, and a hint of romance, 'Red-Headed Stepchild' is a must read for any urban fantasy fan.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,426 reviews804 followers
May 17, 2010
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 who can easily steal the show with his insightful comments. Adam, the hot and mysterious mage also has that sense of humor that makes him more irresistable. Vinca, the nymph is so cute! I wish she was my best friend. They are all so awesome! The characters are all so well-written. I think Jaye is my new favourite author. She is so witty and smart. I also love the idea Lilith and Cain and the forbidden fruit.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 43 books361 followers
February 13, 2009
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!

Profile Image for Anzû.
550 reviews1,106 followers
September 1, 2011
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 hair, nice gun and all. But I’m not the only one who said that she looks like a guy. The neck is too thick and the angle on her face is just wrong. Lady, seriously, avoid that angle. Iz no good for you!

The story is nice. I found it really fun. The whole vamps have red hair was an interesting concept. Also the story with Cain’s affair with Lilith was nicely put. Sabina being an assassin was another plus. I have a thing for assassins. They’re wicked cool.

My first impression on Sabina was that she’s cold blooded, no joke. Killing her friend like that takes guts. Or lack of feelings. Or both. I can’t believe she’s ok about it.
*looks at David* "Ah yeah they told me to kill you"

"Wait what-"

"Yeah. Tough luck. Look we had some good times together but orders are orders" *pulls out gun and points at David’s head*

"Wait why are you-"

*pulls the trigger*

"Ah sh*t!" *looks at her watch* "I’m late for my manicure appointment"

I actually ended up loving Sabina. She’s cool, badass, brave and a freakin’ assassin (10th time I say it but I don’t care, deal with it!). How can’t I love her? Sure she’s a bit annoying at times but no one is perfect. Too bad she was slow to see she was being used. But I see this as being influenced by the love she has for her grandmother. I totally understand her behavior.

Adam Lazarus (f*ckin’ awesome name!) was hot but would have loved him to be tougher than this. I guess this is my Barrons syndrome. No one can compare to him *daydreams*

*comes back to reality* Ah yes! Sabina and Adam together are so much fun. Their chemistry was good but nothing off the charts.

Giguhl (aka Mr. Giggles – lol!) is so cool. He’s actually my favorite character so far. He’s so damn funny. When he turned into a talking cat I was on the floor laughing. Wish my cat could do that.

The cloaked dude is me, the angry demon chick is Cleo (my cat) and the monsters are just… Monsters. Target practice or something.
“Let me out, you misbegotten daughter of Lilith!” “Shut it, cat.” I said. “It’s for your own good.”

That’s exactly what my cat was saying while I was trying to take her to the vet.

I couldn’t get myself to like Vinka (wtf nymph pornstar). She’s too "bright" for my eyes to handle.

And, as usual, I am manifesting another case of useless wondering. So here goes!

I wonder where she finds all these delinquents. Drug dealers, rapists, stalkers. I know on short term you can get lucky with this but what about on long term? Is the city really that dangerous? Does she have a secret map in her lair where she circles the areas where she can find her dinner prey? Do these guys take vitamins, or something, in order to handle all these "mosquito bites"?

This book is a nice introduction to a story that has potential. If you see it like that you’ll surely like it. If you wish it to be another Fever or Night Huntress you’ll be disappointed.

Top 5 quotes

#5 “Oh, come on. It was just a stupid drug dealer,” I said, forcing myself to keep up the banter. “If it makes you feel any better, he was selling to kids.” David crossed his arms and said nothing. “Though I have to say nothing beats Type O mixed with a little cannabis.”

#4 “I guess you don’t get to watch much TV in Irkalla.” He propped his head on one scaly bicep and turned to look at me. “Nah. We stayed busy torturing the souls of the damned and playing hide the hot poker. You know, the usual.”

#3 “You know I can’t let you in without the password, Sabina.”
“Come on, Dirk,”
“Sorry, babe. Gotta say the words.”
“Fine.” I sighed. “Count Chocula.” One of these days I was going to have to tell Ewan his sense of humor sucked.
“Atta girl,” Dirk said.

#2 Freaking males, I thought, they couldn’t be more obvious about their territorial dispute if they’d both peed on me.

#1 Good assassins dispose of problems without remorse. Even if the problem was a friend.
Profile Image for AH.
2,005 reviews370 followers
November 10, 2011
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 an explanation for the vampire race, I thought it was a very clever idea. Anyhow, back to our book…

The vampires in Red-Headed Stepchild had red hair as their mark of Cain. The darker the red, the older the vampire. Our heroine Sabina Kane had red and black hair signifying her mixed heritage: she is half vampire and half mage.

This book is a little heavy on the politics. Basically, the vampires do not get along with the mages. Being half vampire and half mage is not the ideal condition since interracial relations were not approved. Sabina is not allowed to serve in the Dominae’s Temple because of her mixed heritage. This is another cool aspect of the book where the author adds a religious dimension to vampirism.

I loved Sabina’s character. She is one likable, kickass heroine and a pretty effective assassin, too. Part of what makes this book so enjoyable is the nice touches of humor. What’s the password to the hip vampire club Selphucher? Count Chocula. Yup, got to laugh at that one.

There are other comedic moments in the book. Gighul the demon is sent to assassinate Sabina but ends up inadvertently as her minion. Unable to return home, he hangs out at her apartment watching Jerry Springer and ordering all sorts of stuff from the Home Shopping Network.

Sabina learns a lot about herself in this book and a few family secrets are revealed. I’m looking forward to reading The Mage in Black soon.

Review posted on Badass Book Reviews.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,871 followers
January 23, 2011
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 any non-classic books for that matter). As a linguist, I tend to lose myself in poor stylistic choices and not notice the plot at all. So to avoid gritting my teeth, I’ve developed the skill of not caring. But here I have no choice. And idiot could have written this book. I’ve seen 6th grade students do a better job. The sentences are short and in no way linked together, especially in various descriptions. You could almost shuffle them all without making a bit of difference. Here’s a small example:

The sign for the store hung from an archway between to buildings. The tunnel led to an ivy-draped filled with statuary, small stone benches, and a bubbling fountain. The hidden garden smelled of rosemary, sage, and other herbs I couldn’t identify. Small twinkling lights draped over more ivy, which hung over the open front door.

Oh, God. The sign hung, and ivy hung, and everything hung from something, and there was ivy, and some more ivy, and come on!!! If you used do be an editor and then decided to write a book, at least do it properly.

I have to admit there were some funny parts. The demon, Gighul, was hilarious at times, but as such, he was not used enough. Here’s an example (favorite quote, btw):

“Why haven’t you exploded yet?”The demon was closer now, only a few feet away. I opened one eye to look at the arrow. Blood bloomed from the site of impact, just over my left breast.
“I – I don’t know.” Holding myself up became difficult as the seconds passed.
“Hmm. I wonder if I should stake you just to be sure.”
“I’d really prefer it if you didn’t,” I said. “I’m sure I’ll ignite any second.”

All in all, Red-Headed Stepchild, I had such high hopes for us. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement.

April 30, 2009
Vampires are the living decedents of Lilith and Cain (as oppose to being the evil undead), and as a result all vampires are gingers. Sabina is a mixblood assassin for the Dominae, the counsel her Grandmother heads which rules the Vamps with an iron fist. You're thinking sweet deal right? Mixed abilities, Nana looking out for you & getting to kill things. Well that ain't the case.

Sabina has a complete disconnect from her mage heritage and is just as racist as the average vampire. Why? Well, Vamps and Mages loathe each other, like the opposing street dance crews. While her Grandmother did raise her after the death of her parents, she did so in the apathetic commanding way she does everything; so no warm fuzzies. On the up side she does get to kill things, but any hesitation, refusal, or questioning their choice will render her equally dead.

So despite her prolific vamp bloodline and her pest control contribution; she's never fully been accepted among the Vampire community and will continue to suffer for the sins of her parents. All that leaves us, a Bad Ass killer with epic little girl issues; determined to prove herself worthy, no matter the cost. Which drives her to accept a dangerous mission infiltrating a cult that is threatening the Dominae's power base. It's all very Anita Blake meets alias. Nothing is as it seems and everyone has ulterior motives; survival will require reexamining: who she is? Who she's fighting with? and what she's fighting for?

Sabina's a funny, lethal, and flawed heroine; just how I like em. The world building was decent, but there were occasional gaps.
For Example Sabina sleeps in the day and wakes at night, but no mention is made of how vamps react to sunlight. Are her sleeping habits just cultural or would she sizzle like bacon at noon? Though I realize even if there are sleep patterns/sunlight rules that it probably wont to apply to her; I still would have appreciated the clarity.( Readers: if I missed where this revelation is mentioned, please shed some light, I promise not to bitch.)

The colorful cast of side characters were amusing, as was the dialogue. Sabina's issues give credibility to some of her actions, more than it detracts in a whiny sense. I even like the sidekick she acquires, but the jump from foes to friends was too instantaneous for my tastes. My other grumble is, Sabina was agreeable to illogical degrees when dealing with the enemy. I get that she needed to infiltrate the rival organization, but c'mon. Any assassin that you approach with a vague job offer, that agrees to be led somewhere unknown to meet, by your henchmen... blindfolded and disarmed...is either retarded and isn't worth hiring or ding ding ding is a enemy mole, lol. what about accepting a job without any discussion of payment or whats expected of you? I assume hunting vampires would take umpteenth cognitive reasoning and awareness skills, so why is Sabina in many aspects so naive?

"Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal." With a darkly amusing opening line like that, I anticipated a thrilling ride. Did the positives outweigh the flaws? Do I look forward to the next novel? Will I pimp it to the legion Urban Fantasy fans? Yes, yes, and yes. Despite the hiccups, Red-headed Stepchild is a fun fast paced read & a damn fine addition to the genre. Congrats Mz. Wells, you've done good.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Carol.
2,257 reviews71 followers
October 26, 2021
Some characters needed a bit of work. I wasn't really convinced by Adam Lazarus, the mage, who seemed put in there to add some sort of romantic element and Clovis wasn't really much of a villain. The addition of Vinca, the fun-loving nymph, confused me a little at first. Her interactions with Sabina were too cozy and did not fit into the world of the novel created beforehand. I think I should give up on these magic creature books..especially by authors that I'm not at all familiar with. The author throws way to much nonsense into the plot...forbidden love...tragic deaths...orphaned child...supernatural warfare...and the potential for a love interest in her stalker... and if you can believe it, a demon side kick the guise of a hairless cat that tries repeatedly to kill her...and a reformed porn fairy. It was exhausting trying to keep up with this bumbling bunch.
267 reviews37 followers
January 26, 2015
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. She never gets that warm welcome but being a mixed heritage assassin tends to merit that type of reaction. Sabina was raised by her momma's mom, but never received the love or acceptance you'd think a grandmother would provide. Instead, she was trained to be an assassin, to become a usable tool that would carry out any and all orders the vampires needed done.

Vampires in this book have their own set of rules and government system. It's actually led by three women known as the Dominae who occasionally take advice from a larger council. The fact this is a matriarchal society is pretty awesome. What sets these vampires apart is the unusual modern mixed with mythology feel, they have a foot firmly planted in todays world but still worship old gods. Vampires in this book also need to be born, there is no such thing as biting a human to turn them.

Vampires happen to be at odds with mages and other magical creatures in this world which sets the stage for this series. There are a ton of different magical creatures mentioned throughout the book, but vampires and mages remain the big baddies. Also, humans aren't aware of these creatures that go bump in the night, and those that do, don't remain around very long.

Here's the thing about this book, it's not flowery or delicate in it's phrasing. It's a very gritty and forward read, Sabina has a serious attitude and talks a bit like a guy. She doesn't try for tact but outright says things that some probably would view as crude. Normally, this type of heroine would probably annoy me, specially since this girls got some serious people issues, but I was instantly caught up in this world, so it just made sense to me.

I always recommend this book to anyone looking for a darker Urban fantasy read.
Profile Image for Bell Curran.
59 reviews8 followers
July 22, 2011
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 have red hair and all humans with red hair have some vampire ancestors: "OMG! I knew it! I knew I had some vampire blood!"). The humour is heavy-handed and gimmicky and thus not remotely funny (e.g. the demon who colonises her living room and then spends all day and night watching TV buying crap on the Home Shopping Network until she convinces him to turn into a cat and then drugs him with catnip).

The second half was the unappealing characters. It's hard to like a main character who opens the book by ensnaring and then killing her friend, simply because she's told to by some bossy triumvirate of vampires (one of whom is her grandmother) for whom she works as an assassin. She spends the next 75 pages periodically regretting it. Are we supposed to feel sorry for her because her cold vampire grandma made her kill her friend? No, it just makes her even less appealing, because she never has the balls to stand up to vampire granny. (At least, not by p.100.) Then she heads off on an undercover mission to infiltrate the cult headquarters of vampire granny's political opponent, and we keep getting told that the cult leader, who is described as being like a televangelist and super creepy, makes her "panties wet," and sorry, that's where Ms Wells lost me, because how can I relate to a heroine who is sexually attracted to a cross between Pat Robertson and Tony Robbins?

Not only is this not a keeper, it's also not a book I would give away to anyone, because I frankly don't think I know anyone who would like it. (I hope I don't know anyone who would like it.) Straight to the recycle bin.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 7 books1,190 followers
February 3, 2010
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 from the others, even in her own vampire community and yet - this really annoyed me - she was brought down (to the point of almost being raped) by a couple of thugs thus initiating damsel in distress phase which of course required that mage fellow to come and rescue her. Come on now. What is up with that? What does it say about your assassin that she needs someone to rescue her - and wait, this just takes the cake. She's an assassin right, she's very used to her weapons and yet, she FORGETS to pick up her gun? Hello? Does that make sense to you?

The Demon/Cat whatever. Katie MacAlister's already done it, honey. You might have read it? Her Dragon series? (And she's funnier...so you might want to rethink the entire thing.) I don't understand how the demon and Sabina are on such friendly/snarky terms all of a sudden. I need detail, a gradual progression of their relationship; something that will render it believable.

This is the first time I've had such a strong dislike to a fictional character. Let me rephrase, a fictional character who I am supposed to like. There's nothing about her that I like. But it is not to say that the series itself doesn't have promise. The author just needs to...I don't know, rethink her main character. Give her some depth. Because right now, I'd much rather read (and reread) Kim Harrison, Karen Chance amongst others than ever try Jaye Wells again.

I'm just glad my bookstore accepts returns.
Profile Image for Cathy .
1,944 reviews52 followers
April 6, 2010
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 characters were also good. The bad guys were trite and unoriginal, no surprises on that front.
Profile Image for Amyiw.
2,218 reviews63 followers
April 8, 2016
I really liked Jaye Wells' Prospero's War, at least the first 2 books.
So I was hoping to find another UF favorite but so far a bust and this was no different. We have a 53 year-old 1/2 vampire assassin who reads like a 17 yo. I can see this appealing to YA/NA fans. I'm not one of them. The only thing missing was the triangle love interest. It is hard to like a book where you completely dislike the main character.
Here's my reasonings
1. She is still seeking her mother's approval (Grandmother in this case)
2. She has not really grown up to think for herself yet and is just starting too. (too late IMO)
3. She is a badass vampire assassin yet makes simplistic mistakes and gets taken twice pretty easily.
4. She's vain, over confident, and unquestioning of bad orders.
5. She is angsty with anger flares when people goad her, not a stone cold killer of an assassin, more like a teenage hot head.
6. She is a totally inept assassin.

So I have a few books that I liked where the main character is unlikable. Sandman Slim but the choices he makes are not idiotic or without thought. Sabina has the truth slammed into her over and over. She has had it for years, she is 53, yet when the shit hits the fan, she continues to be a stupid pawn. She continue acts like a child. When the truth is told, she beats on the mage telling her yet he doesn't fight back. That is so mature (NOT). She sticks out her tongue at the door. etc.... Over and over I'm rolling my eyes at her immaturity. I had this at a solid 2, OK read, but... she again gives her loyalty to her grandmother. From there I actually wanted her to die. I was at the end of the book so I finished and can honestly say I disliked this book.

Sabina's choices even made the plot idiotic. I liked some of the side characters but they weren't well enough developed and one dies. The humor is really non-existent. There was no fun, not a really good plot and only marginally good world and characters, both that were underdeveloped. The end... was so unsatisfactory that I even disliked it more. Solid 1.
25% in and finding Sabina a little too naive for her age. I get that she is brainwashed and really she has had to do what she does to fit in as much as possible. Really what would've happened if she didn't? Her Grandmother would probably kill her? So now she is ALL grown up, and I see her starting to think for herself (maybe a little late?) as she keeps asking herself, 'why did they send me to kill David?'. Duh! To test your loyalty and yes even you know that by your reaction at the interview. Right at this point I'm thinking, she needs to start questioning everything they ask of her, including drinking that great wine. I don't know if I'm being suspicious but they treat her horribly for her 1/2 blood heritage. They remind her several times of her 1/2 blood heritage along with the grandmother. Also the grandmother reminds her again in private along with again, "I don't have to remind you how important this is..." That negative positive that her grandmother does is annoying.

So, here she is, having been tested, so really there was nothing she could have done even if she had known earlier about this. Then... the mage sends the demon and she does not question his orders. The demon repeats that he was supposed to "test" her. She does not latch on to that. Hmm... OK, then she goes to that shop, she is 1/2 mage so, with all that is happening, shouldn't she be trying to find out about her heritage, especially since her grandmother just totally glossed over the whole fairy tale aspect of her birthmark? She has a lot to learn and has yet caught on to any of this. She is an assassin and kick ass, yet she is over the top confident yet gets cornered.

On the plus side. I'm liking the story and hoping that Sabina will catch up with the set up. I love the Gighul character. Here's to hoping it gets better as it is OK/good right at the moment.
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,323 reviews1,013 followers
March 17, 2016
Sabina Kane has always been an outcast thanks to her mixed blood heritage, as a half-vampire/half-mage she is seen by most as an abomination. Abandoned by the mage side of her family as a baby she was raised by her grandmother, a member of the Dominae (the ruling council of the vampires). Sabina has never been able to fully live up to her grandmother's expectations of her, and the vampires are able to find fault in pretty much everything she does but they are the only family she has ever known and she is completely loyal to them.

Although Sabina usually works as an assassin her latest task is much more dangerous and it's not going to be an easy one to pull off. Sabina must convince the entire supernatural community that she has broken ties with the Dominae and go undercover with the enemy to try and uncover his plans. That would be hard enough if she wasn't being stalked by a mage who wants to train her to use her magic and introduce her to the other side of her family but Adam adds a whole new set of complications. Sabina has been raised to hate mages and she doesn't find it easy to trust but the more she uncovers about her past the more she starts to realise that the Dominae, and her grandmother, have been keeping a few too many secrets from her. She is forced to question everything she's ever been told but how can she decide which path she should take from now onwards?

I've seen mixed reviews for Red-Headed Stepchild but I thought it was a great introduction to the Sabina Kane series and it definitely left me wanting to know more. Sabina isn't always the easiest character to get along with, she's spent years being brainwashed by the vampires and even when certain things are staring her in the face she is very quick to try and justify her grandmother's actions. I can't say I blame her for that though, the vampires are the only family she has ever had and no matter how badly they treat her they are still the only ones who have ever been there for her. She may be stubborn but she's not stupid and even though it takes a while she does start to put all the pieces together later on in the story. Once she's made a decision about the right thing to do she is determined to see things through no matter what it costs her.

Although I liked Sabina I have to admit it was the side characters who really stole the show in this book. My favourite was her demon sidekick Giguhl who added a lot of humour to the story and constantly made me laugh while I was reading. I also really liked Adam, the mage who has come searching for Sabina. It took me a while to decide he could be trusted but I liked the chemistry between him and Sabina and I hope we get to see a lot more of them working alongside each other. The world building was done well and I enjoyed finding out about the history of vampires and mages, I still have a few questions but I'm sure it'll all come clear as the series continues. We have a good mix of supernatural characters, alongside the vamps and mages you also have demons, faeries and nymphs but I wouldn't be surprised if there are more species yet to be introduced. Yes this is a fairly standard urban fantasy world but I think the characters are strong enough to pull it through and I'm hooked enough to want to continue reading.

Source: Purchased

Group read with the MacHalos starts 14th March
Profile Image for Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣.
648 reviews402 followers
December 14, 2015

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 mages can't alter their hair color also? If so, how come Adam has sandy hair? And does that mean that regular red-headed human beings can't dye their hair also? This whole business is just too confusing.

And what's Adam age? I couldn't get a picture of him in my mind throughout the book.

Also, spells are just oh-so-complicated, but Sabina uses a pretty difficult one after just one or two lessons.

To tell you the truth, Jaye Wells's book left me so confused and uninvolved that there's not much more I can say. I don't feel anything for any of the characters.

All I wanted to do was put Red-Headed Stepchild away and re-read Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series.

Oh, well... better luck next time.
December 14, 2010
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 can say is this.

Sabina is definitely a kick ass heroine. Yes, she can seems a bit whiny at times, but she gets the job done. And she is dealing with discovering so many new things.

Gighul is the funniest demon/hairless cat (LMAO!) and I can't wait to read more about him. The perfect sidekick.

And Adam... very scrumptious. He's hot, in a "why are stalking me?" kinda way. Their kiss was pretty hot and I'm just sad that Sabina doesn't think it'll happen again. Although, he now will play a big part in her future and in learning more about her mage heritage. That should be fun to discover and see her fail at her kiddie spells.

This book comes with a sexy mage who walks around in a towel exposing a wonderfully lickable chest, a hysterical demon who is addicted to buying as-seen-on-TV products, family deceit, vampire clubs, and gay vampire club owners, a bit of action, a lot more intrigue, and the beginnings of a pretty good series!
Profile Image for Naoms.
706 reviews161 followers
January 29, 2012
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 qualify for anything else. She works for her grandmother who is the leader of the vamp council. Due to her half-Vamp, half-Mage status, she is looked down upon and is a perpetual disappointment to her grandmother. Following her latest assignment puts her in between, the vamps, the mages and a new breed of mixed paranormal that want to destroy the vamp council.

What I liked about this book, is that you're never really sure who the true bad guy is, until the end. The Vamps could be lying, but who's to say the Mages are good and whats the deal with Clovis and his ambition to lead? We're figuring it out with Sabina as we go along, meeting intriguing and funny characters along the way.

I'm really excited what unfolds in the next book as Sabina strikes out on her own and introduces herself to a world that was forbidden to her for so long.
Profile Image for DarkHeart "Vehngeance".
148 reviews45 followers
April 5, 2009
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.
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