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

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3.51  ·  Rating details ·  9,385 Ratings  ·  524 Reviews
When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead.

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

But the nightmare i
...more
Kindle Edition, with Bonus Material, 464 pages
Published April 23rd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published February 27th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Seth
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Desperate readers and people willing to handle major problems in the faint hope of a better tomorrow
It looks good. New author, first novel, recommendations on the cover by Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and Diana Gabaldon(2). Woman becomes a Super-Powered Heroine fighting forces of darkness and it's supposed to have non-stop action, some hot sex scenes, and it's set in Las Vegas, always a great setting for supernatural action.

But look more closely. The back cover has a big, glossy picture of the author: an atractive brunette with a decidedly Linda Carter look. Large pictures of the attractiv
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Lorena
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
This was an odd book for me...on the one hand, there are more plot holes than you can shake a stick at, and they're all big enough to drive a fleet of trucks through. It was one of those that kept me up at night after I finished it, thinking "WTF was [plot point X] all about? That makes no freakin' sense! And then there was [Y]! What was THAT?" On the other hand, the main character was very compelling, and the writing generally very good, so I'm giving the second book a try.
Jamie Collins
Oct 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-urban
I've started this, but so far I don't like it very much. There's something about the writing that bugs me - too much exposition, maybe.

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

I also don't like the details of a character's psyche to be spelled out so explicitly. I prefer to get to know a character in a more subtle way as the
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Pat Patterson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
AH
Scent of Shadows has some intriguing ideas. The book pits comic book hero type characters in a battle between Light and Shadow using the symbols of the Zodiac. Each Zodiac sign has a corresponding fighter in both Light and Shadow. There is a prophecy that the Kairos will come, and the Shadow forces are hunting him or her down.

The Light and Shadow heroes track each other by scents. They each have their own specialty weapon exclusive to themselves. If they are killed by their own weapon, the kille
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Nikki  Peterson
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy crap, where to begin without just mindlessly babbling about all the good parts and giving up all the goodies? Hmmm...Let me think... Have you ever read a book about super heroes that wasn't a comic? This is pretty much it. It has it's own little twists and turns. There are comics involved... But not how you would think. It is so sweet how it all ties in together, but I can't really tell you without letting the "cat" out of the bag. I'm just having a hard time trying to put into words what I ...more
Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim)
Finished this today. Well, first of all, for a 450+ page book, it went really fast. There are some definite cool parts. There are some definite not so cool parts. The scent thing? cool. The comic book shop kids? Not cool. The characters are pretty good. The plot is decent. The world makes no sense whatsoever. I just don't understand parts of this world/mythology.

A decent character face-off with decent dialog is followed up with a scene where a characters bones are melted and eyes bleed when they
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Felicia
Err....potential here in setup. Not the best execution, but I want to read the second.
Haralambi Markov
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uf-pnr
“The Scent of Shadows” by Vicki Pettersson for me is probably one of the best books I have had the pleasure to read in a while. It can be described as gritty, dark, violent and one of the more captivating Urban Fantasy titles on the market. A lot can be said about the book, the ideas it conveys and the quality of the writing. By my rating standards this novel exceeds the maximum ten points and skyrockets far in the distance.

“The Scent of Shadows”, which actually is only the first installment of
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Elspeth
Meh.
The writing wasn't bad, the story was kind of interesting, but most of the characters pissed me off.
Blodeuedd Finland
What's up with rape and UF. I know UF is PNRs darker sister but all the rape, must we?

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

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

But she is also special, but the road there was
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Steph
Overall: 3.5★

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

When Joanna was sixteen, she was assaulted (OF NOTE: the assault and rape are not described in detail), r
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Paula
Jul 05, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Storyline: When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead. Now, a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset, a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow; seeking answers to whom or what she really is and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

On the eve of her 25th birthday, she finds it in the form of a peculiar date who looks like a gaunt banker one moment and like hell sp
...more
Kay
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pettersson throws us straight into the action - leaving us to work out the universe as Joanna does. It is a complicated one too, as we have zero frame of reference to go on. Put simply, this series is about a war between two superhero factions: the forces of Light and Shadow. Their battles are depicted in comic form after the fact, then sold to humans as fiction.

Had I understood this before starting, I likely wouldn't have continued. While I appreciate the whole superhero thing, it just wouldn't
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Mrs. Badass
This book was intriguing enough that I want to read the next, but there were plot holes and some dragging pages.
Joanna Archer has been through hell, and is about to be dragged into the burning pit. I felt really bad for Jo during this whole book. The parts with her and Ben were Sad and hopeful and then...I want to learn more about Ben and what is happening to him.
I thought parts were confusing, but I'm glad I stuck with it. This is more Urban Fantasy and less romance, which as fine with me.
I'm
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Schnaucl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura the Highland Hussy
I am officially done with this book. BUT I am not rating it or adding it to my d-n-f shelf because I couldn't make it past page 30. I tried, I really tried.

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

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

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

The only thing I really didn't like about this novel is the physical transformation that happens midway, because again - what a surprise, the heroine is a mega-babe. Jeez, aren't there any just ordinarily pretty women
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Ami
Oct 19, 2010 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
I know that I should've given it a chance, at least until I get into 100 pages or so. But really ... a girl who is raped and beaten to death when she is 16 and now her motto is "to never say no"?!? I mean, WTF? And I took a peek at the ending ... I guess I would just be more confused and pissed off with it. I have encountered feeling confused with other UF books before but this one will just not do for me.

So yeah. ABANDONING SHIP! (and move on to different book, my life is to short to get frustr
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Carolyn Crane
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart, multi-layered, and thrilling with good meaty psychological drama. The Zodiac books have everything I love in an urban fantasy! The main character, Joanna Archer, is into photography and has a thing with darks and lights, and this theme echoes through the series in a hugely cool way. These days, Zodiac is one of my favorite UF series along with Armstrong's Otherworld.
Angela
Apr 05, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy, kindle
28 January 2016: $3.99 on Kindle

3 July 2015: $2.99 on Kindle
10 February 2015: $3.99 on Kindle
Dawntwilight000
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried to like it ,really. The first 75 pages had me hooked until Ms. Petersson decided to "jump the sharktank". I got to page 246 out of 418 and couldn't take it any longer. Flounced.
Lesley
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was different than anything I've ever read - the magic system, the types of supernatural people - ok, those were really the big differences. No vampire or werewolves, thank god. That has been beaten to DEATH. In this case, it was agents of Light and Shadow. But they aren't demons. Or anything else. The can smell each other and chase their enemies down by scent. They fight with weapons, not magic. They are sort of superheroes with secret identities. They aren't human, but sort of anothe ...more
Kelly ~Bibliophile~
3.5 stars - but since I cant give it that Ill go with 4 since it was a pretty cool idea.

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

The book was a very fun read, though I had a few eye roll moments.
I love the idea of "superheros" keeping an eye on the world but I wish that in the book they called th
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Reed
Jun 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What's in a name?

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

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

--gritty, wisecracking female protagonist

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

--secret societies at war in an unsuspecting world

--a protag
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Ambre
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: duds
I find it kind of unfortunate that this book is so unpleasant- I actually like the authors prose. But this is the opposite of the strong capable woman who isn't either- this is the woman who is supposed to be perceived as strong and capable but actually is just stubborn and mean.

Yeah, I get it, she is battling her demons. But the author doesn't seem to know the difference between sharp tongued banter and malevolence. The heroine is supposed to be clever- most clever people can figure that out, o
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Keysha
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Para mi esta novela fue como un coctel ya que tomo un poco de las historias de los súper héroes, más un poco de la historia detrás de los signos del zodiaco, más una pinta de la eterna lucha entre la luz en la sombra y por ultimo una joven capaz de patear traseros sin remordimiento alguno pero con un gran corazón y ¿cuál es el resultado? E l comienzo de la historia de Joanna Archer.

Al empezar a leer esta novela al principio no estaba muy segura de que me iba a gustar pero mientras leía me di cue
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Cindy
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had the whole set of Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series sitting on my to be read shelf. For some reason I kept passing over them. I don't know why...I just did. Now I'm mentally kicking myself for doing that...these books, at least book one, are wonderful!

Joanna Archer has had a troubled time all her life, when she was a young teen she left her boyfriends house, and as she cut through the desert, returning home, she was raped, beaten and left for dead. As she lay in the hospital the boy she love
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Jennifer
One of the best series I have read in a while. Imagine finding out that you are a superhero and your entire life changes in one night? Yeah most of us would not handle that well and frankly neither does Joanna. She does a lot of crying and raging about what this "new life" has cost her and frankly I feel her pain. And whoa is she pissed with good reason!! All she wants is revenge and instead she has to sign on to save the world. I think the action and the pace catch you so fast and draw you in s ...more
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Vicki Pettersson is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of ten novels, most set in her hometown of Las Vegas. Though she'll ever consider that glittering dustbowl home, she now divides her time between Vegas and Dallas,Texas, where she's learning to like good Tex-Mex (easy) and the Dallas Cowboys (easier than you'd think).

Her most recent release is SWERVE, aptly titled as it's both a chase boo
...more
More about Vicki Pettersson...

Other Books in the Series

Signs of the Zodiac (6 books)
  • The Taste of Night (Signs of the Zodiac, #2)
  • The Touch of Twilight (Signs of the Zodiac, #3)
  • City of Souls (Signs of the Zodiac, #4)
  • Cheat the Grave (Signs of the Zodiac, #5)
  • The Neon Graveyard (Signs of the Zodiac, #6)

Share This Book

“Just because someone tried to make you into a victim didn’t mean that’s what you had to be.” 19 likes
“Looks can’t hide your true identity. It’s the eyes that give you away…the soul behind them. The intent. The Shadows.” 18 likes
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