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Crusade #1


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The ultimate battle. The ultimate love.

For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun.

Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated—and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose.

Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself—and her heart.

470 pages, Hardcover

First published September 7, 2010

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About the author

Nancy Holder

339 books2,363 followers
Nancy Holder, New York Times Bestselling author of the WICKED Series, has just published CRUSADE - the first book in a new vampire series cowritten with Debbie Viguie. The last book her her Possession series is set to release in March 2011.

Nancy was born in Los Altos, California, and her family settled for a time in Walnut Creek. Her father, who taught at Stanford, joined the navy and the family traveled throughout California and lived in Japan for three years. When she was sixteen, she dropped out of high school to become a ballet dancer in Cologne, Germany, and later relocated to Frankfurt Am Main.

Eventually she returned to California and graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Communications. Soon after, she began to write; her first sale was a young adult romance novel titled Teach Me to Love.

Nancy’s work has appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, amazon.com, LOCUS, and other bestseller lists. A four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times.

She and Debbie Viguié co-authored the New York Times bestselling series Wicked for Simon and Schuster. They have continued their collaboration with the Crusade series, also for Simon and Schuster, and the Wolf Springs Chronicles for Delacorte (2011.) She is also the author of the young adult horror series Possessions for Razorbill. She has sold many novels and book projects set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy, and Smallville universes.

She has sold approximately two hundred short stories and essays on writing and popular culture. Her anthology, Outsiders, co-edited with Nancy Kilpatrick, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 2005.

She teaches in the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program, offered through the University of Southern Maine. She has previously taught at UCSD and has served on the Clarion Board of Directors.

She lives in San Diego, California, with her daughter Belle, their two Corgis, Panda and Tater; and their cats, David and Kittnen Snow. She and Belle are active in Girl Scouts and dog obedience training.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 370 reviews
Profile Image for Morgan F.
512 reviews466 followers
November 27, 2010
At least thats one thing this book got right.

In this book, not only are vampires real and known, they are taking over the world, with only small numbers of Hunters to fight them off. The Salamancan Hunters are a band of Hunters, the first of its kind, and by the way things are going, it may be the last. This hodge-podge band of fighters are having a wee bit of trouble getting along. Even though they are based in Spain, they all come from different parts of the world. There is Eriko, a former Japanese school girl, and the silent leader of the band; Jamie, a hot-headed Irishman with an immense hatred for werewolves, vampires, and the English; Skye, a witch from England with a dark secret threatening to rear its ugly head; Holgar, a secretive Danish werewolf; Antonio, a Spanish vampire severely devoted to Catholicism; and lastly, Just Jenn, a nothing-special from California. Not only do these hunters have to fight the prejudices and suspicions amongst themselves, they have a full-out war on their hands. Jenn's younger sister has been kidnapped by a manipulative and powerful vampire, and the group must come together to get her back, hopefully alive.

Gah. Sounds like an interesting cast, right? Not exactly. Jenn, the MC, is pretty much insufferable. She has worse self-esteem than Charlie Brown. Jenn refers to herself as "Just Jenn", meaning that she feels inferior to the rest of the group. Well, most of the time, she is right. It was only when she is California by herself that she shows any sign of bad-assery. Whenever she is with Antonio (her lurver), she turns into some limp noodle that must be carried from room to room because she is too distraught and tired to pick her own ass up. Characters are constantly insisting that she is "special", but she insists she's not (a point I can agree on). But still. She should have some confidence. She went to an academy with 90 young adults in her class. Out of those 90, only one-third of them made it to graduation. Out of the thirty that graduated, only 16 or so survived the final test. Out of those sixteen, only six got to be hunters. So have some pride, girl, you've obviously had enough balls to get you this far.

The rest of the characters were also unlikable. Actually, I take that back. I liked Holgar. He was nice and didn't annoy me. Eriko, I didn't really like or dislike. She was rarely in the story, and was uninteresting for the most part. Skye was annoying because she is keeping a secret that could get them all killed, and chooses her secrecy over the well-being of the rest of the group. Also, she gave no explanation as to why she was in love with Jamie. Personally, I think she should end up with Holgar. I was sensing some vibes. Jamie was a douche bag. There is a line between being charmingly hot-headed and being a jackass, and he was one the jackass side of the line. Seriously, this guy needs to STFU. He had too bring up his werewolf prejudice in every goddam conversation, and its him that will get the group killed, not Holgar (Holgar, I gotcha back). And then there was Antonio......Guess what he wanted to be when he grew up. Go ahead, guess. That's right! He wanted to be priest. Howdya know? Could it be that it was mentioned on EVERY GODDAMN PAGE?! You're Catholic. I get it. You probably shouldn't be trying to get in Jenn's pants then.

The romance between Antonio and Jenn, supposedly a driving force behind this novel, was the most lackluster, chemistry-less coupling I ever read. Seriously, it was horrible. I won't even got into how absolutely terrible it was because it makes my lip just now stopped curling, and I don't want my face to get stuck in a grimace.

This novel tried to give it's characters depth through multiple perspectives, which is a tool, when done right, is extremely interesting and effective. This book failed miserably at it. The narrative had absolutely no focus, and would shift perspectives in the middle of the page, which made it confusing and frustrating. It also failed in creating three-dimensional characters, because in attempting to give everyone a voice, it skimped out on everyone. I couldn't care less if everyone in this book died. I have absolutely no attachment to them, and frankly, I was hoping someone would stab Jenn most of the time. Ironically, the only truly intriguing character was the villain, but unfortunately, to finish hearing out her story, I would have to read more books in the series, which is something I will not do.

The writing was just bad. There was nothing unique, purposeful, or enjoyable about the style, and for some reason, I despised it. As soon as I read the first paragraph I was like "Oh shit". I knew then I was in trouble. But yet I hoped the characters or plot would pull through. Nope.

Overall, this book was a such a flippin' mess. The writing irked me to no end, and the characters were all pretty stupid. I ended up skimming most of the second half of the novel. Most people say it starts out slow, and then gets better, but no. It pretty much sucks the whole way through.

Ugly cover, BTW.

Jenn, I hope Heather eats you.

Jamie, get bent.

Antonio, you are going to hell. Get over it.

That is all.
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,350 reviews820 followers
March 19, 2015
Bullet Review:

DNF at 14%.

Yet another cliched ridden attempt at cashing in on the Young Adult Vampire phenomenon. Part Buffy, part Twilight, part OC, the book focuses on a Captain Planet and the Planeteers type team dynamic, only all the characters are cliched and/or boring. Eriko is the worst leader; Skye is defined by her job as a witch; Jaime is an ass (because all Irish are asses); Antonio is your standard "I'm a vampire, but I am in love!"; Holgar is a complete cypher. Oh, yeah, and there's Jenn, this nothing girl who needs to be saved and yet somehow graduated from Teh Best Supernatural School Evah.

The ONLY positive I can give this book is that there are numerous female characters and while Jenn is a complete incompetent fool, at least Eriko and Skye are more than capable of defending themselves and standing on their own two feet. Also, in the portion I read, there was no slut-shaming, and Jenn and Antonio didn't have any weird purity dynamics going on (it was just your standard, "I'm a vampire and want to drink your blood, but I also kinda love you too" bit).

I am 100% done with this genre; I would have quit sooner, but until today, I had nothing else to listen to.

Full Review:

"Crusade" is yet another in a long line of Young Adult cash-ins to the then-vampire phenomenon. While on one hand, it fairs much better than the Twilights and the Hush, Hush's of the genre, on the other hand, there really isn't much of anything to make it stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Jenn What's Her Name is one of a very few "hunters" (think Buffy the Vampire Slayer) who graduated from the Salamanca University of Blahbitty Blah. Only, she constantly needs to be saved by everyone around her. Or people need to catch her while swooning. Or she's bawling.

In this world, Vampires sweet-talked their way into society until bam, the entire world is in the crapper and the hunters are the only hope. The hunters being a handful of kids who can't even vote yet. And yet, somehow these people idolize the hunters, hanging them on walls of bedrooms and fangirling over the hot ones. Why, say, the adults and all the gun-toting red-necks of grand old 'Murica haven't risen up against the vampires is anyone's guess.

DNF at 14%.

I kept holding back on this book because from the cover, there seemed to be a thread of something that might be interesting. But as soon as I actually started listening to it, I could tell it was exactly like every other Young Adult Urban Fantasy in existence. Same stock characters; same silly romance; same barely-there world-building.

The characters are mediocre; honestly, the only one I cared anything about was Jaime and that was primarily because the narrator gave him an Irish accent (I have a thing for Irish accents). I am floored that Jenn could even graduate this amazing school, given how awful she is at her job. Antonio's vampire has been done so many times (Vampire Chronicles anyone?), Skye is terribly cliched as a witch, of COURSE we have to have werewolves if we have vampires (sorry Holgar!), and Eriko is just bleh as a leader.

I don't even know what the story is supposed to be; I would think you should get a bit of a hint by 14% but there was nothing in sight, beyond a trick action scene at the beginning to suck you into pages upon pages of steaming piles of needless infodump. And honestly, the only reason I made it to 14% was because I had NOTHING else to listen to on audiobook.

As for the audiobook: there is a "G" in "strength" and "length". Nothing quite so annoying as hearing a narrator say "strenth" and "lenth".

About the only positive I can give this is that there are a LOT of females, a lot of competent females (minus Jenn, of course), and some decent non-white characters (Eriko, for instance, and I pretended Skye was African-English).

Maybe something miraculous happens and at the 15% the book becomes kick ass; I will not be finding that out, nor will I be rushing to purchase these author's next books. If you are tired of the same-old, same-old of Young Adult and Urban Fantasy, I would recommend you do the same.
14 reviews1 follower
May 1, 2011
The evil vampires are taking over! And the only people who seem to give a shit are a group of six completely unlikable charactors who are either shallow as a rock or so mean/helpless/stupid for anyone to give a shit about.

First off, it is obvious thet the author seem to think 99.9% of humanity are completely blind assholes who seem to be about as trusting as a dog if you have food (more 'bout dogs later). When an obvious evil is attacking, what does the ENTIRE WORLD do? Oh, they bow down to it and seem to believe that everything is A-okay, despite the fact that these vampires are attacking left and right. The only country that seems to be putting up a fight is Spain, but even that seems a bit shady, so the only people you know are fighting are the protagonist, six teens who must save the world.

Lets see who they are:

Jenn: The distraught do-nothing main protagonist who has a bad case of esteem issues. While much of the book comes from her perspective, all you seem to get to know her is that she is so untrained that she needs to be protected all the time. I have to ask why the rest put up with her.

Antonio: Jenn's Boyfriend and a non-evil vampire, his Catholicism is the constent topic of conversation whenever he is present. He was going to be a catholic priest, but then went off to war and got turned by a vampire during WWII. Now, because of his unwavering faith, he fights against his own kind, while sucking his professor's blood whenever he can.

Holgar: A warewolf, he joined for unknown reasons and really is just a stock fighter. Despite the fact that there is little to no depth to the charactor, he manages to be the most interesting charactor of the book. This should be saying something.

Erico: The 'leader' of the pack, who joined after finding out that vampires were actually (surprise) evil. Her friend died as they were trying to get into a vampires pants, and then she vowed revenge, yaddayaddayadda. Rarely actually appears in the book, when she does, you want to scream at her for her lack of leadership AT ALL.

Skye: British witch with a secret. Other then her secret, nothing really interesting, won't spoil the secret though, in case you actually want to read the book. Complains about pretty much anything and seems to put her witchiness above the team's survival.

Jamie: He has a chip in his shoulder and wants to kill Holgar. Goes beyond badass with his hatred towards all warewolves, which he has to reminde you on every page hels on. It's like: "Hey, Holgar, I hate you? You know, I hate you, right?", really unneccisary and stupid.

The plot: Meh, gotta run and save person before time runs out. Seems to be the normal Y.A plot these days, no real origonality or interesting bits, just the normal oh-my-gosh-everyone-wants-to-kill-me type of thing.

The Good:

The O-K:
-Rehashed plot

The Bad:
-Plot details
Charactor presentation

Actually, I know exactly why nobody seems to mind working with the Vampires, If I was in this world, I would pick up a gun and run over to help the vampires to fight against these 'hunters'.

(I'm not joking, I would
Profile Image for Sarah Marie.
1,838 reviews226 followers
January 19, 2016
Crusade by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

First in the Crusade series

2.5 stars

It all started when vampires came out of the shadows and told people they fed off of animals and wanted peace (sound familiar?

At least R. Patt knows that Twilight is pretty horrible.)and then a war broke out when it became obvious it was all lies. Most people still worship them or are too afraid to stand up to them, but not Jenn Leitner. That’s why she left home and is now working and living with the Salamancian Hunters; the Hunters a group from Spain known for defeating vampires that try to overrun cities. When she is betrayed by someone unexpected *scoffs* (yeah right), she learns that her fight against the vampires has just truly begun. I wanted to love this book. It sounded amazing and looked promising, but I have mixed feelings about it. There were times when I would read a part and think “Wow that’s awesome.” Then there were times when I was just so bored and I thought about setting the book on fire for entertainment.
Fire Pictures, Images and Photos
It was a roller coaster for me. There were ups and downs, but I think there were more downs than ups. This book is told from multiple POV. I mean there is at least five POVS total in here. The POVS could either be interesting, boring, dull, or meh. I’ll go into depth later on in this review. The pacing was slow and I felt this book was way too long. This book is 470 pages and it felt like I was reading a thousand page book. The story dragged a lot. I just didn’t want to read the book in class or at my house. I didn’t want to read this book at all. I had no motivation and then I thought “You know what let’s hurry up and get this over with.” I finished it the next day and was still feeling only a little satisfied.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 1.75

The main female character is Jenn. Jenn leaves no impression on me whatsoever. She was a borefest. If you look up that word in the Urban Dictionary (Is it even in there? I made it up) you would see a picture of her. As the story progressed she seemed to become very boring. She was actually interesting in her diary pages, but after that I wanted to bang my head against the wall. I was left saying and feeling ugh every time I would go back to her POV. She had started out strong but apparently she’s only interesting when she writes about herself. The ending, well, let me just say this… It didn’t fit well with whom she is at all and she will fail… epically. I have no faith in Jenn and I think she’ll crash and burn like a bad ABC sitcom.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 1.5

The main male character is Antonio. He’s a Spanish Hunter and guess what he’s a vampire because it’s obvious you can have a team of vampire hunters without one vampire. >_> Antonio isn’t really all that great of a lead male and there were time when I was just like “Yeah, OK, let’s move on to something else.” He has potential to be a character but it just didn’t work out well in this book.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 3.5

The Villain- Every betrayal and villain in this novel was more interesting than the main character, but even Jenn’s description of them seemed to bring down my interest levels in them.

Villain Scale: 3.75

The other members of the team are: Eriko, the leader who is more bent on the destruction of vampires than leading the team, Jamie, a hothead that hates vampires and werewolves, Holgar, a fellow werewolf and a constant victim of Jamie’s hate, and Skye, a witch with a dark past. Heather, Jenn’s sister, also plays a huge role in this novel and she more interesting than Jenn. Out of all the characters in this novel Skye was my favorite. Her secret was the most intriguing and I want to know more about her.

Character Scale: 3.75

I had really wanted to love this book, but it felt short. I think 2.5 stars is generous because I could’ve completely listed all the reasons I hated the book, but the concept was interesting and it saved the novel. Hopefully the next one is better, if it’s not I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series or maybe I will because I want to know what happens.

Plotastic Scale: 1

Cover Thoughts: I like this cover much more than the cover with just gray gates. This cover is a lot more interesting and fits the novel better. I don’t love the cover, but I don’t hate it.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
November 16, 2012
I do a little jig every time I read a book where the vampires don't glitter and have blood lust. Can I get a hell yes for a story that evokes Buffy? I won't lie, I love a good kick ass story. I enjoy a whole lot of action, especially when that action involves stakes.
Read the rest of my review here
Profile Image for Amara Luciano.
Author 8 books171 followers
January 3, 2015
Crusade (Book 1)
Author: Nancy Holder (Website)
and Debbie Viguié (Website)
Release Date: 9/7/10
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult (14+)
Source: Bought (Borders)
Go Buy It! Amazon/Borders
Rating: ☺☺☺☺☺ -Absolutely phenomenal. Mind-boggling!

"The ultimate battle. The ultimate love.

For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun.

Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated—and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose.

Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself—and her heart."

Plot & Ending: Whoa. My mind is still reeling. Let me just say, that I have never in all my years read a novel quite like Crusade. Absolutely never. I loved Wicked, I did, I have it sitting on my book shelf also, but this...wow.

The novel begins with a journal entry written by Jenn Leitner, the heroine. In this opening chapter she explains two key things: (1) The vampires in the world have emerged unexpectedly and are slowly taking over the world, influencing several countries and (2) Jenn Leitner, and her team, are a group of hunters whose mission is to destroy the Cursed Ones, or vampires.

Readers will be thrust into a freakin' intense, ass-kicking fighting scene that blew me away. The characters introduce themselves as well.

After each section of the book, my mind was thinking at a pace of a million miles a minute and my knees were shaking. When I'm reading, I'm known to talk out loud and vividly express myself. Reading Crusade...my mouth did not form a single syllable. I was so completely, utterly engrossed in this new world, I didn't even notice my surroundings. Once I surfaced after reading a section, it took me a moment to realize just where I was.

The thing is, what made the world of Crusade seem so real was the vampires' effect on the various governments, especially the United States government. I felt like I could be any one of those civilians Holder and Viguié wrote about, dealing with this new, frightening threat.

Again, 'whoa' for the ending. While I expected what happened to Jenn's sister in the end, it did not take away from the impact of the situation. There's so much death in this novel, a lot of sadness and betrayal. Not that it's morbid and dismal necessarily, but it's definitely...gruesome, I guess.

I absolutely, 100% recommend this book. Especially if you liked/loved Wicked. Otherwise, you'll be missing out on a great novel...though if you can't withstand the...creepiness of it, then I would advise you not to read this alone, in the dark, or right before you go to sleep, because it will certainly give you some interesting things to think/dream about.

Characters: Holder's and Viguié's characters are fathomless. Each one of the main characters is haunted by something. Could be the past, a secret, or what they are. There's so much feeling involved. One thing I delighted in, even in Wicked, is the varying backgrounds and eccentricities behind each character. I adored each one of them, even Jamie.

"It is a crusade, at least for most of us. A holy cause. We are dedicated to it. We will give our lives for it. We fight for the idealism of the young and the struggle with the emotions and confusions of growing up at the same time. For us love and hatred can spin into life or death, especially for me, Jenn Leitner.

And for some of us, death can never come. Which means this war can rage on...forever. --from the diary of Jenn Leitner" --Jenn (356)

Cover: Oh my gosh. This cover *lovingly caresses the front of purchased copy* ...it's beautiful. Look at the gate, the intensity of the tableau behind it. If I had just walked into a book store and walked passed this book, I would've stopped to check it out under the impression that the book would be awesome. Oh, goodness, and the blood. It makes an impact, I tell you. I'm so very, extremely ecstatic about having this book on my shelf. And you can too. Go buy it and read it! You'll see what I mean.

Profile Image for Kristi.
829 reviews199 followers
November 10, 2010
When I first started reading this book it took me a bit to get into it. After the first three chapters I couldn't put it down!

When we enter the story, the world has been taken over by vampires, or Cursed Ones (C.O.). They have taken over the world by force, using fear as a motivation to herd the Nation's leaders into compliance. Of course, initially they were very `human friendly' stating they only fed off animals, never `converted' anyone against their will and were willing to live peacefully side by side with humans as equals. After the President's daughter is kidnapped a nationwide search is started with the help of the vampires. She is found and as a soldier is carrying her to safety, she mercilessly rips out his throat. Of course, this is publicized and is the beginning of the vampire/human war.

With the World being dominated by the C.O.'s, any resistance is met with swift repercussion. This leads us to our protagonist, Jenn. She is the daughter of a passive man who will turn on his own to stay safe and fly under the radar of the C.O.'s. Jenn, greatly influenced by her radical grandparents who always fought for what they believed to be right won't be compliant and leaves home at 16 to go to Spain to a Missionary there that trains people to become hunters.

As the story starts, Jenn, along with her hunter team, some of which have paranormal abilities are engaged in a mission in a small Spanish village that is being terrorized by some C.O.'s. They have been set up, someone has notified the vampires that they were coming and the hunters were ambushed and they realize there is a traitor in their midst. Is it Antonio, the seminarian who was converted almost seventy years ago yet remains a devout catholic, or Skye, a white witch who works magick's to protect and heal her team? Perhaps is Holgar, the Belgian werewolf or Eriko, the Japanese leader who received the only elixir designed to make her stronger, faster & more like the enemy they are fighting? Maybe it is Jamie, the ex-IRA Irishman whose family was killed by werewolves while the C.O.'s watched. Their team is fragmented and full of mistrust, it is only their trust in their mission and Father Juan, their mentor and leader of the Sacred Heart Academy that keeps them going.

Throughout the story, the authors give each characters POV, I loved this! It gives the reader a chance to get to know the character in the present and also their individual pasts. Each characters flashback gives us a chance to understand why they chose the hard life of a hunter.

Each of them experiences betrayals, heartbreak and angst which makes this story dark and a bit foreboding but there is also strength, learned trust and a bit of romance to even it out.
I wish that Jenn's character was a bit stronger, she came off as a bit of a cream puff and I didn't really see her bone up. I'm so hoping the sequel shows us a stronger Jenn, a bit more romance and definitely more triumph for the good guys. Along with that, I hope to see them become a bit more cohesive and trusting of one another. The action in the book is fantastic along with the thrills and horror. The descriptive scenarios are very realistic i.e. the sewer scenes in New Orleans. Altogether, this book rates as one of my favorites and again, I look forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,629 followers
December 16, 2015
I received this book as part of an ARC tour from Star Book Tours. I had actually forgotten that I had requested it, and when it showed up on my doorstep, I was a little surprised. But opening it up, I can see why I would request it - it looks like it would be awesome. Dark and gritty and bloody, just like a vampire book should be.

In in many of those aspects, this book delivered wonderfully. The vampires were vicious and cruel and bloodthirsty, and there wasn't a sparkle to be seen. The fights were pretty intense, and the action was written well and was exciting. I also liked the political facets of the story, and how they corresponded with other wars from our past. History repeats itself, just with a new bad guy each time around. If these are the things that you're looking for, you will enjoy this book, and probably the series.

I was hoping for a little more, and so I admit that I am a bit disappointed with this one. I think that this book had great potential, but I think that it got lost on the way.

First, the characters didn't feel authentic to me. Almost all of them were very stereotypical and one dimensional to me, with few exceptions. Holgar was one exception. I loved his character throughout the story until the last 50 pages or so, until he seemed to change before our eyes into someone suddenly dark and secretive - most likely a lead-in to the next book in the series. The same with Father Juan. We're supposed to ask: Who are they really?

The rest of the characters didn't do much for me. Jenn was at her most interesting when she was on her own. With the others, she was bland and boring. The group dynamic quickly got on my nerves with all of the in-fighting and I kept thinking that they would be better off if they went their separate ways and each had a book to follow their adventures alone. Maybe then we'd get to see more of their character and the focus would help them to come alive. I doubt that will happen though.

Then there is the writing itself, which was inconsistent. I know that the edition I read was an uncorrected edition, so I'm not talking about the grammatical errors or spelling errors, but the writing itself. For example, in the midst of running for her life from a pack of vampires who want nothing more than to kill her, and trying to rescue her sister from still more vampires, we have this:

"The sun was setting; she could feel it as surely as she felt the pounding of her own heart.
The heart that beat for Antonio."

It then goes on to talk about how afraid she was that she would never see him or her sister again. And then back to Jenn trying to save her own life so that she could try to save her sister. It just seemed incredibly out of place to insert a line about her heart beating for someone else when she is literally running for her life. I know that in times of stress and fear, we think about those we love, but the line itself is strange and awkward to me, like it was inserted to create a relationship link to him.

Not to mention the chapter headers that contain Jenn's diary entries. These are written in such flowery and formal language that it doesn't mesh with the self-conscious and unsure 17 year old "Just Jenn" from the rest of the story.

And then finally, my biggest issue with the book is the way that religion and faith is handled. This book could be considered a Good vs Evil story, and so it stands to reason that a certain amount of religious comparisons could be made. That isn't really my complaint, although it does get quite preachy at times.

My complaint is that in this mixed cast, we have several different religions and belief systems interacting with each other, but no matter which belief system a character lived by, they approached it in a Christian-oriented way, or otherwise acted in Christian ways that did not fit with their own beliefs. I felt like, since it seemed that it was a deliberate choice to have so many different personalities and faiths, they should have rung more true, rather than all centering around what is referred to more than once in the book as the "One True Faith".

For instance, we have a Wiccan "White Witch", who practices magicks and worships the Goddess and the moon and nature, etc. But then, in a moment of uncertainty, she considers going to a Catholic priest to give her absolution, rather than relying on her own beliefs. This is just one of the examples of this from the book, and there are quite a few. This, more than anything else, made this book less than enjoyable for me. I couldn't help but wonder: Why go to such an effort to include the variety of religions and faiths if the characters do not act according to them?

I think that if handled differently, this book could have been a very enjoyable one for me. I think that people should believe what works for them, but this just felt like the message we were supposed to take away is "You can believe whatever you like, but in the end, it's all the same thing, you'll see."

Overall, I thought that this book was OK. I think that people who are just looking for an exciting read will really enjoy it, especially those who are fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews613 followers
October 15, 2010
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

CRUSADE takes us into a very believable apocalyptic world and paints a vivid possible future wherein vampires have stepped out of the shadows under the guise of friendship, lulled us into complacency, and when we were at our most vulnerable, they revealed their true nature.

Jenn was thirteen when the slaughter began. She was helpless to watch as her friends and family soon began spouting vampire propaganda and making excuses for freedoms they were forced to give-up. The vampires still maintained a show of friendship with humanity that is very reminiscent of Big Brother’s control in Orwell’s 1984. Those who spoke out against the vampires had accidents or simply disappeared.

The story begins with Jenn, now seventeen, and her team hunting a group of vampires in a little town in Spain. A lot of characters are introduced in a very short period of time and unfortunately none of them ever distinguished themselves clearly enough for me to care about them. There’s a witch, a werewolf, a sympathetic vampire, a superhuman, and then Jenn. Jenn feels like the weak member of her team because she has no special skills or abilities and I have to agree with her.

The promised romance from the description is about as dull as I can remember reading in a long time. Neither Jenn or Antonio ever showed me why they were in love. We were just told from the first chapter that they were. They repeated that they love each other throughout CRUSADE, but it felt pretty hollow.

The story jumps from multiple POVs and time periods all building up to the final showdown with a particularly nasty vampire, but by then the appeal of this world had been overshadowed and I had long since stopped caring. I think I could have gotten more on board with CRUSADE if the story had started when Jenn first arrived at Sacred Heart Academy. We would have gotten to see her learn all her fierce vampire slaying skills, meet her eventual hunter teammates, and most importantly, see how she and Antonio fell in love. That could have been an interesting story. Instead, this very cool vampire apocalypse world is essentially wasted on a lethargic plot and an overabundance of flat characters.

Sexual Content: Kissing
Profile Image for Gabriela.
53 reviews2 followers
December 29, 2011
Okay, so, I'm still conflicted as to what to think.
In this book:
Vampires are bad- yes good. Check
Except for Antonio- really? Again?
Vampires don't sparkle- yes good. Check
Vampires are hurt by sunlight, garlic, prayer, crosses- yes good. Check
Except for Antonio- really? Again?
There are vampire hunters- yes good. Check
They don't all get along- yes good. Check
To the point of hating some teammates- really?
Jenn kills some vampires- yes good. Check
Except when she's with Antonio- really? Again?
Jenn can take care of herself- yes good. Check
Except when she's with Antonio- really? Again?
Jenn thinks she's "just Jenn"- really? Again?
Jenn becomes a leader- yes good. Check
Because she isolationist- really?

So I'm kinda tired of reading vampires. I'm thinking of writing my own where the vampire lover chomps off heads, cool right? I actually like Meg Cabot's vampire books because the vampire dies, yep. I love happy endings, but I just don't see how dead people and live people are gonna make it work.

As far as vampire books go, I liked this one more than others. Vampire hunters are cool and dangerous. Also, the world has essentially been taken over by bad vampires, slightly different take. Bad things also happen to the main characters. Eriko's best friend becomes a vampire and kills her other best friend. Jamie's family was killed. Jenn's father betrays her, her sister is turned into a vampire, and her boyfriend's a vampire. Oh wait, that's sexy, not bad, my mistake.

Jenn can fight. When her family is threatened she manages to stake some vampires. When she's overtaken by other hunters she's able to gain an advantage. But then she falters and stumbles. It makes her real. It's okay, except for the vampire boyfriend. HE WANTS TO EAT HER. Yeah he loves her. Yeah he controls himself. Yeah he's religious. But in the end all he wants to do IS EAT HER! BECAUSE HE'S A VAMPIRE!

I'm hoping that Jenn comes into her own in the next book and we can see some growth from her.
Profile Image for E.J. Stevens.
Author 55 books1,664 followers
September 29, 2010
Vampires have taken over the populace, first with charm and then with fear, but there are those who will not give up without a fight. Crusade is an action-packed urban fantasy. In the dystopian world of Crusade vampires have come forward with promises of peace and unity, but these were lies to calm the public as they slowly, insidiously worked to take over cities, governments, and the world. Vampires are now in control of most of the planet and as their power grows their true monstrous nature is revealed. Most humans are either too enamored by or too fearful of the vampires to fight back and so they go about their daily lives as the vampires as their new masters use them as food...or worse. A few groups of humans have decided to fight back and have formed a small underground resistance. Among these fighters the most revered are the Hunters who are specially trained to kill vampires. Hunters are usually solitary fighters, but there is a group of Salamancan hunters trying to work as a team. Will they be able to set aside their differences long enough to face the enemy together?

I recommend Crusade (Crusade, book 1) to readers of paranormal suspense, fantasy, vampire fiction, and especially to fans of urban fantasy.

** This review originally posted on my blog: www.FromTheShadows.info **
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
August 30, 2011
Really wanted to love this one, but sadly I couldn't connect with any of the characters. At all. The concept seemed cool enough, but the writing style just didn't work for me. It felt very flat and I ended up skimming most of the book to just finish it.
Not for me.
Profile Image for legendofthe3divas .
105 reviews2 followers
June 19, 2022
So I just got done with this book and I liked it okay. This book was like Maximum Ride mixed with Twilight with a pinch of The Vampire Diaries. Would I read it again? Maybe. Would I get the next book? Probably not.

I felt like there wasn't any character development. The plot was kind of boring at some points too.
Profile Image for Annie.
11 reviews1 follower
December 20, 2010
I can't hate this book, honestly. It's one of those books that don't bring vampires up to be "glittery" or glam up the term of "evil, undead creature." This book states that vampires are evil and should be stopped, and I respect that.

Now, onto the characters. Let's start with the side ones.I actually liked the fact that the team weren't best friends and always looking out for one another. Of course, everyone knows that in the end they'll be singing Kumbaya around the campfire together by the end of the series (depending on if they live to see the end or not!) But it definitely added humor to the book. Yeah, their reluctant teaming was probably the only thing that makes me laugh in this book. It's very serious and dramatic above anything else -- even romance!

Let's go in alphabetical order, here, 'kay? Antonio, the love interest to the main character (Jenn). I had a crush on him, but my heart belonged to Holgar, hands down. He's the vampire, and even though many people don't like they're relationship, I think Jenn and Antonio are cute together. I pity him and feel like giving him a hug while I read this book at some points. Hopefully, his days of "preisthood thoughts" are way behind him. Because that just won't do for me, though I love that he's a Christian. In so many books you hear them saying "I'm too badass for God" blah blah blah. So, he's a keeper for me and I hope the Jenn/Antonio-ship lasts.

Eriko: She's got like five lines in this book, so there's not much to say about her. She was probably the most boring team-member of the group. Her background story is okay, I guess . . . but not really anything compared to Antonio's or Holgar's or Skye's. She's too serious for me to think she'd ever be a friend.

Holgar: Okay, can I just say he's my soul-mate? Do you hear me out there in Spain, Holgar? I'm right here, waiting for you to sweep me off my feet! He was the only one who didn't make me mad once! I loved his personality and his interesing past. I like the friendship between him and Antonio and how much they connect. A lot of it has to do with the fact that they're both creatures of the Underworld, and the other because they both hate Jamie, which makes me love them both! :) I think Skye should be in love with HIM, not Jamie. It's ridiculous for her to be, really. I keep wondering who he likes, and there's hints that it's every girl. I don't care who, he's just my favorite and I can't wait for the sequel mainly because of him.

Jamie: I hate this douche. Everything he says is a slam against either ethnic groups or werewolves or witches or vampires. I laughed so much when Holgar put a deer's head in Jamie's bed. I don't understand his liking for Eriko. The relationships in this book doesn't make much sense. Everyone just has a crush on someone, like it's magic or something. And Jamie, this goes out for you and you alone. There is such a thing as too much jackassness. And you're flirting with that. I hope he gets punched in the face int he next books.

Jenn and Skye: Jenn needs to grow a pair, honestly. She can't keep hiding behind her vampire-boyfriend. I feel terrible for her when her dad hands her over to Aurora and her sister gets turned into a vampire, but her slef-confidence level makes me think she's suicidal or something! She wears me out with her constant personal attacks! And the only reason she's special is because she's the only one who doesn't have a special talent. Even Jamie has super fighting skills. Jenn seems to always mess everything up, yet they all think she's "special" for some weird reason. And Skye, what drugs are you on? What makes you have a crush on JAMIE when HOLGAR is your assigned team-member???!!! You're insane! Although she's probably my favorite female character, aside from Jenn because I'm a redhead and can't help but always defend red-headed femal leads. (They're rare, leave me alone!) :)

Warning: There's cussing, tons of violence, loads of DRAMA, intimate scenes. It's very serious and somewhat sad for me, and only little quips bedtween the teammates makes you laugh. There's not a lot of romance besides Antonio and Jenn, mostly. Wait a flying second!!! Do you think Holgar and Heather could ever be a couple? I know she's a vamp and all and there's a little age difference, but there's always a chance! OMG! I'm a genius!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Olga.
166 reviews31 followers
September 8, 2012
Crusade was a book that originally ended up on my TBR list because of the cover. It was so full of promises of dark action and adventure that I immediately wanted to know what it was about. The blurb made me even more curious and when a copy landed in my mailbox last year I knew I'd get to it sooner rather than later. It didn't disappoint - the characters, the writing, the suspence and the action kept the story going and me glued to the book for a full two days. The premise of vampires revealing their existence to the world, forming alliances with humans under false pretenses and then taking over was new to me and the idea of teens from all over the world learning to fight them at specialized academies seemed like a pretty cool counterweight and I liked the way it was executed.
Crusade packs an interesting cast of characters and in a series of flashbacks tells a bit about them. There's a witch, a werewolf, a devout Catholic vampire, an IRA fighter, a wannabe samurai, a priest who's got more secrets than all of them put together and those are the good guys. Holder and Viguié are very gradual with the revelations and by the time the novel ends it's clear that we don't know the half of it. That's actually one of the things that dampened my enthusiasm - you usually expect that by the end of the last chapter there'd be a resolution of sorts but here at the end of the book things are just getting started. Not a bad thing for a series of course, but I guess I expected more of an "ending" than a minor lull in action.
I'm not usually a fan of extensive flashbacks because they tend to slow down the action but here they were actually very effective at making the characters more real. Through their past we get a better sense of who they are which is great because they are secretive with each other and without these insights they'd be a lot more one-dimensional, which is never a good thing.
Another thing I didn't particularly enjoy was the angsty vampire and the much-heard/seen/read "I love her so much but we can't be together because I'm no good". Come on people, there are only so many ways this sort of thing can be spun and seems like they've all been done. And here's another thought - why not make the girl the dangerous one, the one who has to hold back? Why is it always the guy?
I liked the writing and the way things developed. The dialogue flowed well, every character had a unique voice and there was just enough suspence to keep me guessing as to the identity of the possible traitor in the midst of the Hunters. I think I know where things are heading but then again the authors have planted enough false clues to keep things interesting.
It was refreshing to see vampires as the bad guys and here they are very bad guys. Cunning, cruel, crafty and murderous. Sunlight and holy water hurt them and a stake through the heart is a sure way to get rid of one. (I can hear the Twilight haters cheering.) There's also black magic, warewolves allied with the vampires and humans ready to betray their own kind so this book is pretty juicy and it sets up the scene well for an even jucier sequel, which by the way is already out so look for Damned if you like this first book in the series. I sure will be looking it up at the library.

Read more of my reviews at Bibliophile's Corner
Profile Image for Amy Bailey.
663 reviews12 followers
January 14, 2011
What did I learn from this book? If during an apocalypse where vampires are taking over humanity and I just happen to be a priest whose duty is to create a band of hunters to battle the evil forces, absolutely under no circumstances should I rely on moody teenagers to get the job done. They basically couldn't decide whether they were fighting vampires or each other, and it got irritating. There were some definite similarities to Twilight, although I'm glad this book was supposed to be a bit more on the kick-ass side versus the gag me side, although there was a fair amount of that. If I wanted to get truly technical, I thought this book did a good job in depicting the overt sexuality and sensuality of vampirism. I have to admit, I got quite a kick out of the fact that vampires now seem to be for teens when original stories are basically about sex. Tell that to the parents on the war path against books that introduce their teens to things they don't realize their teens have been doing all along.

The writing was very basic. First this happened, then she said this and then somebody randomly threw in a "like, totally" or a "dude." I guess that's to be expected with some teen lit, but I couldn't help but see this as the new hit series on the CW. The point of view constantly shifting was distracting. If the story is about Jenn, don't draw away from her for a few chapters and tell the story from someone else's point of view. I was always told this was a no-no in creative writing classes, and I agree, although it's done quite commonly. It usually has more of a purpose, however. This story wasn't about Eriko or Jaime. They were minor characters, so it's not neccessary to draw us into their stories. We should see their interactions with Jenn. Anyway, off my soap box. Just like Twilight, this was an interesting read, but it is nothing spectacular and I don't expect to see this on the Young Adult Classics shelf any time soon.
Profile Image for Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa).
2,195 reviews171 followers
September 6, 2011
A group of six young adults trying to get past prejudices and cultural differences to form a cohesive unit to slay vampires.

Vampires have come out and pretty much control the world. They have taken over governments with the promise of changing the leaders into immortals. They terrorize humanity and basically governments and law enforcement turn a blind eye.

In Spain, a Catholic Priest has helped train and empower youth to take up the fight against the vampires. Father Juan used magic and his faith to form a group of hunters. Though he knows that he picked the correct people, they cannot seem to get their act together. There is a lot of animosity and bickering. Three of the group have supernatural powers. Two are warriors, and then there is Jenn.

The story revolves around Jenn. Her struggle to fit into the group and the betrayal of one she loves. She finds herself on a journey to save her sister, and in turn finds herself.

I enjoyed the plot line and the fast paced story. The first part left me with a feeling of deja vu. I can't figure out why. This is an interesting and great beginning to a series. I look forward to the second book, "Damned".
Profile Image for Stephanie.
219 reviews21 followers
June 6, 2015
The description sounded interesting and didn't sound like anything that I have read. Most of the books I read have the vampires (or most of the vampires) as the "good guys"; this book was the complete opposite with the vampires being the "bad guys" with the exception of Antonio. I haven't read any books by either author so I didn't know what to expect but I am very glad that I bought it. I thought that it was very good and realistic. There were several action parts but it also had its slower parts to give you more background on the characters. By the end of the book I felt like I personally knew Team Salamanca (the vampire hunters) and experienced everything with them. I liked how you can see the main character, Jenn Leitner, grow as a person and hunter throughout the book. She went through a lot by being betrayed by someone she least expected but she never gave up fighting. I can't wait for the next book in the series and would recommend this to anyone who would like a new take on vampires and vampire hunters.
Profile Image for P.M..
1,230 reviews
June 24, 2021
I have finally found a character more irritating than Bella Swan. "Just Jenn" Leitner - you take the prize. Even the humor of Holgar can not convince me to up the stars to two. Even the arcane secrets of Father Juan can not persuade me to change my rating. The two sequels will remain unread by me. This book will be donated as soon as school starts in the fall.
Profile Image for BOOK BUTTERFLY.
150 reviews50 followers
August 17, 2010
Vampires are everywhere. While their leader Solomon might smile on television, shake a few hands and spout propaganda about vampires requiring only the blood of animals, Jenn Leitner knows the truth. She's among the few brave souls who refuse to sit back and let the Cursed Ones destroy the world. Jenn belongs to Spain's Sacred Heart Academy, a place that churns out vampire hunters as fast as they can train them. The life expectancy for a hunter is short—if you can survive long enough to make it through training then you are considered extremely lucky. As part of an elite vampire hunting group, her team is comprised of individuals with varying strengths and abilities. Together they must overcome background differences, motivations and prejudices to come together as a team. In one goal they are united- rid the world of the Cursed Ones or die trying.

After being betrayed by someone she always trusted, Jenn questions everything she’s every known to be true. Will she be able to find the strength to face the obstacles in her path? What about her love for Antonio, the hunter dedicated to the cause who just happens to be of a "cursed" nature? Will she even live long enough to have a future?

"….This life, this entire world, was a crucible. It was the crusade of their times, and they were the knights, the warriors.

But last time you fought, you lost, he reminded himself, remembering the night he became a vampire. You lost everything.

“Yes,” Jenn said, taking a deep breath. “I can do that.”

Not everything, then, he thought.

Then she reached to kiss him on the lips, and he let himself have that. Soft, warm, she loved him, a monstrous abomination, a Cursed One. This might be all they ever had, this moment, this kiss, this love. So he gave in to it, aware that his fangs were lengthening, that by now his eyes were glowing. Hunger, want, and desire waged their own war inside him. And then he won again, prevailing as he finished the kiss and took her hand.”—page 415 ARC version

I first became acquainted with the plot of CRUSADE upon reading the short story in the vampire anthology, THE ETERNAL KISS: 13 TALES OF BLOOD AND DESIRE. If you haven't read this story, entitled Passing, and you've started CRUSADE anyways, you don't have to worry about being lost. But, I would highly recommend reading it anyways --it really is a fantastic short story and provides a good amount of background for CRUSADE.

All the vampire hunters had interesting and well-drawn out personalities. In fact, I could see future spin-offs centering around each of the characters-Jamie, Holgar, Eriko, Skye and Antonio. Skye, with her witchcraft and dark secrets fascinated me the most. Holgar, the fierce hunter with supernatural tendencies, was a close second. Antonio, the ex-priest turned vampire was utterly fascinating and at times, heart-breaking in the way his conflicting desires weighed upon his conscience. As a vampire hunting his own kind, I was immediately drawn to his character and found myself looking forward to any and all scenes involving him.

One of my favorite aspects of this series was that for each character, we got to learn about their lives before the Academy; the heart-wrenching circumstances that led each to show up at Sacred Heart's doorstep. These glimpses were interspersed throughout the narrative, all at opportune moments following intense action. I thought they allowed for the reader to stop and catch their breath, something which I appreciated. I also loved the random journal entries from Jenn's diaries. Combined with the flashbacks, these entries made interesting little additions to the book.

Being sent back to the States, far away from her team, I could feel Jenn’s trepidation upon returning home. The tension in the air was as thick as the San Franciscan smog. When Jenn was betrayed and found herself in a deadly situation with no backup, I was practically jumping out of my skin. In the beginning, she doubted her strength, training and resourcefulness. But she really grew into her own throughout the course of the narrative, and it made me proud of her. Her love for her sister Heather really endeared her character to me as well.

With non-stop action, CRUSADE is sure to make your heart race while you battle alongside the hunters as they take on some truly frightening vampires. I look forward to the next installment in this thrilling series and highly recommend CRUSADE to both adult and teen readers who enjoy scary, action-packed vampire books.
September 8, 2010
4.5 stars!

I'm picky when it comes to reading vampire books. Honestly, there's actually very few vampire books I've read and the few I have, I've enjoyed. Crusade is one of those books. In a world being over taken by vampires, humans and paranormals have little places to hide. The few who get turned are the lucky ones. The only hope humans and paranormals alike have, rests on the shoulders of an elite vampire hunting group from Sacred Heart Academy in Spain. Made up of humans and paranormals, they travel the world taking out clans of vampires, but it does come at a cost.

Being on a hunting team with paranormals, Jenn starts off questioning her own human strength and what good she can really do. When she's forced to leave her hunting group and return home to San Francisco due to a family member's passing, she finds herself in the middle of a vampire strong hold. Where a lone hunter should not stand a chance, Jenn fights to protect those she loves and herself. It's during this time that she finds her inner strength and her fierce protectiveness of her sister Heather is one of her most enduring characteristics. When Jenn is betrayed by someone close to her, she starts questioning everything she's been taught and everyone around her. Now she's in a race against time to save her sister, and the ones she loves.

With a traitor in their midst, the whole hunting team starts questioning who they can really trust. If they can't trust each other, then there's no hope for anyone in the fight against The Cursed Ones. In a world where alliance are forged, and dark magic is used, Sacred Cross's Vampire Hunters bring hope to the few survivors left in the world. I really liked Crusade's characters. They are all diverse not only in what they are, but where they come from and their beliefs. Nancy and Debbie have done a fantastic job at introducing some great paranormal characters, and providing a sense of why they have joined the fight.

Some of my favorite characters are Skye the Witch, Holgar the werewolf, and Antonio the ex-preist turned Vampire. Antonio's character has the most history, as he's been around for a number of years. He struggles with the choices he made when he was first turned and the type of man/vampire he's trying to become. Through the flashbacks of each of their back stories, which are intertwined into Crusade's fighting scenes, I was able to understand the heartbreaking reasons that brought them all to Sacred Heart Academy. I also liked getting to know more of Jenn's story through some short snippets of her journal entries. I was thoroughly impressed that I not once felt like I didn't know which character was talking and what was going on.

Crusade's setting is dark and set in the real world. At times I felt like I was reading a great historical fiction, and other times I felt I was reading an action packed book. Crusade's writing and characters were engaging, as I wanted to learn more about them. While I wasn't expecting Crusade to end the way it did, I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Action packed, dark, twisty, and engaging, I highly recommend picking up Crusade.
Profile Image for Jessica (a GREAT read).
1,668 reviews101 followers
September 28, 2010
Well I also managed to finish Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, the duo writing team behind the series Wicked! Which was one from my middle school-high school days that I enjoyed! So I had to give their new one a try and also it included vampires!

But here the vampires are not the good guys. At all. They are truly incarnations of evil, hence their name, The Cursed Ones. Vampires are known to the world at large. They presented themselves to be harmless beings at first, but soon tragedy started striking in different parts of the world, mostly to the team of hunters we come to know, we get their back-stories and we soon learn that vampires are evil. But some people in the world, still believe they are good and all that. They are delusional.

Jenn fled her home to train at the Academy, living in a house where her father was a large vampire supporter despite the vampires causing the deaths of several people, Jenn couldn't take it anymore and she left. Only to return two years later with the death of a family member.

While away Jenn has trained with a group of hunters and they have become a team of sorts hunting vampires and trying to rid the world of their evil. But when Jenn comes home, it is not to warm greetings. There is still some tension and hostility with her father.

Then an even bigger tragedy strikes when someone close to Jenn betrays her. That's when things get really intense and it all happens fairly early on. Can't recall how early since I took a break with reading Alpha. But soon Jenn and her team have a new mission, one that I don't want to get too detailed in. But they have to rescue someone close to them.

You have to be use to the duo author's style to truly enjoy the book. As I said there is a lot of back story for each of the characters and it was interesting at times, some transitions from present to past to present weren't always as smooth, particularly the returning to the present, but it wasn't too bad.

There is quite a bit of action and mystery elements working here too. Jenn and her team are working against the clock and if they run out of time, the worst will happen to their taken one. So yeah, a lot of tension.

The BOC mentions the love between Antonio and Jenn and you learn fairly quickly the relationship between them. I mean, I knew before I started, but I won't mention here just in case. But still, they had a deep relationship and it wasn't all physical either. Since this is a YA book.

There was quite a bit of chaos towards the end that leaves you with just enough, OMG what is going on, what's going to happen next to leave you hanging. Not a monstrous cliffhanger, like at the end of Wicked: Spellbound--and then I had to wait for years for the conclusion! But still there were a few plot threads that weren't tied off.

Overall it was very interesting and I am curious to see what happens next. Overall I give the book 4/5 stars!

Profile Image for Dominique Cheung (The Book Vault).
27 reviews11 followers
August 29, 2010
There were definitely points in Crusade where I couldn't put it down! I was hooked and had to see what happened next! I really liked how the focus shifted between the different characters in the book so that not only does the story continue, but you get to learn about each character's personality, their past, and their thought patterns. The switching viewpoints were well done; it was never too confusing, but was really helpful in getting a peek into each character's mind.

Crusade takes its time setting the back story and setting up before the plot starts moving along. I didn't really mind that since the whole environment was set up well; you really get a sense of defeat and fear that many people feel, now that their countries have called a truce between humans and the Cursed Ones. I really liked how the authors set up the currents state of affairs (there was good attention to detail); it seems like an accurate prediction to how many would respond if Cursed Ones really did exist and chose to expose themselves. The whole society responding to the Cursed Ones--how society adjusts and views them--really reminded me of Shade by Jerri Smith-Ready. In Shade, Jerri also did an excellent job of showing how society had to deal with a huge change: the fact that people born before the Shift can see and interact with ghosts.

The only criticism I have for this book concerns the ending. I don't quite see it and I don't quite agree with it entirely. It sets up nicely for a sequel, but the character doesn't quite fit the role as the others envision her to, but there will probably be a sequel, so that remains to be seen. I don't want to spoil anything so that's all I'll say. Can't wait to read more in this series!

4.25 stars out of 5

My full review is posted here: http://the-book-vault.blogspot.com/20...

Profile Image for Stacy.
1,330 reviews63 followers
November 23, 2010
Review posted at http://urbanfantasyinvestigations.blo...

I honestly didn't think I was going to like this book after I started reading it. I ALMOST put it down after the first couple of chapters and returned it to the book store to exchange it with something else. I really didn't want to have to drive all the way back there to exchange it so I stuck with it and kept reading. I'm glad I did, The story really picked up and got more interesting as I kept reading. Crusade was an interesting take on vampires. The world pretty much is taken over with them and in some cities they have strong holds and if you don't join them your pretty much dead. Jenn is a hunter, one in a team which is unusual as there is usually just one hunter that goes out by themselves but this team is of course different as they work together in pairs. Her grandfather has passed away so she has to fly home and leave her team to go to the funeral. Someone at home betrays her and pretty much sells her to the vampires (who want to kill her because she is a hunter) in exchange for safety. She then runs and meets up with her team elsewhere later on in the story and goes onto kick some vamp butt. There is many points of views in this book which I'm not totally fond of, I like books more with one point of view but it doesn't get confusing or anything through out the story. All in all this is a neat book and I was totally into it as it got close to the end. I'm excited to see where the story goes next.

I gave it 3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Kate.
468 reviews79 followers
August 3, 2011
Crusade was nothing like I expected it to be. What I was expecting? I am not completely sure. But whatever it was, it is not what I got. Crusade simply is amazing. From the very beginning, I was in shock at how original this novel is. Yes, the basic ideas for Vampires and their lore is there. But it is told in a completely fresh way.

From the very first page, readers will quickly realize that Crusade is not your typical vampire novel. Gone are the many stereotypes that reader are familiar with. The first one being that Vampires are our friends. Because the truth is that they are not. And that reality comes at a cost. But is that cost really worth dying for?

The basic tale focuses on Jenn. She and a group of teens are fighting to take back control of our world. A world that recently has discovered that Vampires exist. That they are not just the stuff of legend. However, while most Vampires want you to believe that they are friendly, the sad truth is that most are not. They simply are hiding behind this facade to gain our trust. A trust that they are not in the slightest bit hesitant about betraying.

Crusade is a novel of surprises. From the concept to the characters, everything about this novel took me by surprise. And it is hard to explain exactly what makes this novel so magical when everything about was just spectacular. It is simply one of those novels that you just have to read. You will devour it and leave with the sense that you have to have more. Highly Recommended.
Profile Image for CαthεεBooks.
209 reviews70 followers
March 5, 2012
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Actual rating : 3.5/5 stars
Series: Crusade #1
Author: Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 470
Source: Library

My (High!) Opinion: Let me say first that I found this book while searching to get the Wicked series for free. Unfortunately, I didn't find it, but found this other series, also written by the same authors, but set in a totally different world. I was quite happy, since the summary made the book look really great.

I got this book two days ago, and began reading it yesterday evening with high hopes. The first few pages got me hooked instantly, because of Jenn's bravery, and the whole hunter crew.

I also appreciated how the authors made the six young adult hunters in the book try to get together for a greater cause even if they were really different, religiously and otherwise.

I flipped through the pages quickly, loving every thing about the book... until about in the middle. That's when my joy went down. I felt it was really hard for me to finish the book. The last 250 pages could have been 100 pages if it were me.

The whole book was well written, but only the first half was fast-paced. The other half was just... repeated words.

However, I need to finish this series even though I didn't like the first book as much as I wanted.

Profile Image for MissHavoc {Cry Havoc! Reviews}.
112 reviews64 followers
November 23, 2010
I first read about Jenn and Antonio in the novella Passing which was first published in '09 in the anthology The Eternal Kiss. So when I heard they were writing a full length novel/series I was so on board! If you like all things vampire then there's no way you won't enjoy this story.

In a world where Vampires have started taking over the world, only a select few students have what it takes to become Vampire Hunters. "Just Jenn", as she calls herself, is one of a group of five hunters. She along with Jamie, a very angry Irishman, are the only non-supernaturals in their group. Skye's a witch, Holgar's a werewolf, Antonio's a vampire and Eriko is the mystical "Hunter" who's endowed with super-human gifts. These five are all that stands between the survival of man-kind and total annihilation.

When Jenn is betrayed by one she loves, the rest of the hunter's are forced to fly to New Orleans to help rescue her.

Since I read the novella I felt like I knew the characters more. I knew more of the back story and so I really enjoyed where the characters were going. I wasn't surprised by anything, but still thoroughly enjoyed myself. I look forward to the next installment and to find out what happens next. I recommend Crusade to anyone looking for a fun vampire read.
4/5 Stars

Profile Image for Daisy May Johnson.
Author 2 books165 followers
September 25, 2011
Vampires are taking over the world. They have quite literally come out of the shadows and are, nominally, living with humanity.

But in truth, they're taking over.

And there's only random pockets of resistance and Hunters who are trying to stop them. The Cursed Ones sees us follow one such pack of Hunters; a group based in Salamanca and composed of a Good Vampire, a Girl With a Secret, a WereWolf, a Girl Who Doesn't Think She's Good Enough and several other stock cliches.

So far so Buffy right? That's the negative point of this book. The reliance on stock tropes of the vampire novel that have been done before and they've been done better. And then there's the choppiness. We learn a bit about X, a bit about Y and then we leap across to Spain and then back to California and then over to New Orleans and then whoops we're back in 1940s Spain and hey we're off to Japan. We don't really stop anywhere long enough to let the story breathe and give the reader time to catch up.

It's also the first book in a series. I am being driven slowly insane by vampire novels which spiral off into series. There's only so many unresolved cliffhangers and vague endings a girl can deal with.
Profile Image for Star.
1,288 reviews63 followers
September 9, 2016
She's 'Just Jenn'. She's part of a hunter team with "The Hunter", a werewolf, witch, and vampire, as well as an IRA member. Ever since the vampires 'came out of the coffin', Jenn never believed that they were as lily-white as they said they were. So she ran off to train with the best vampire hunters out there -
Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones.

Now she's come back home for a funeral - her grandfather, who was her hero - and she learns that San Francisco is now a vampire stronghold. When she's betrayed by someone she thought she knew and love - she must race against time to save someone she should have a long time ago. But will she be too late? And will she realize she's more than 'Just Jenn'?

I liked this book and I thought the characters were great! One thing I wasn't too thrilled about was the fact that Jenn was so overly critical and hard on herself. Not that she needed to be over-confident or cocky, but she didn't have a real grasp on her own self-worth. Which, I felt, kept her frozen and kept her from acting when she should have. Overall, this had a great new mythology and was a very compelling story!

Crusade Series: Crusade (1), Damned (2), Passing (2.5), Vanquished (3)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 370 reviews

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