Veronica of V's Reads's Reviews > First Kill

First Kill by Heather Brewer
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, paranormal, magical-realism, quick-read, ya-adventure

This is the first in a series of Slayer Chonicles, a spin-off from the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series.

Joss McMillan witnessed a vampire killing his beloved sister, Cecile. Cecile is the one person Joss had a strong connection with in his life, and now that she's gone he's adrift. His parents neglect him and at school he has no friends. He feels like the Invisible Boy.

At Cecile's funeral Uncle Abraham approaches Joss to learn the cause of Cecile's death. They conclude it was a vampire. Joss is destined to become the next Slayer in the McMillan family; he possesses all the traits of a Slayer: heightened speed, reflexes and strength. At 10 Joss is too young to become a Slayer, but Abraham encourages him to hone his physical skills so that he will be ready to avenge Cecile when the time comes.

Three years later Joss is summoned to the Slayer training camp in the Catskills. There Abraham trains Joss--in a most brutal fashion. Sirus, another Slayer seems to take Joss under his protection. And, Joss makes a true friendship with Sirus's daughter Kat.

Over the course of weeks Joss is brutalized physically and mentally by the training regimen. He convinces himself that he must do this, become a Slayer, in order to set Cecile's spirit to rest--he's been plagued by nightmares of her death since the night she died. So, despite the exhaustion, Joss perseveres. In the meantime, two fellow Slayers are killed by vampires and the finger is pointed at Joss. This part didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, as Joss was clearly incapable to murdering those slayers in the fashion described, yet it marks a turning point for Joss--he stands up for himself in the face of these accusations, something he had not done before.

There is clearly a traitor in the midst of the Slayer camp, and it is Joss who discovers that party. He also happens upon a hidden vampire nest--and is able to escape as a hero. Of course, his heroism isn't intentional, and it ends up costing him his one friend.

Joss ends up completing his training, but fans of Vladimir Tod will see the machinations behind Joss's success. There is an alliance between some Slayers and some vampires to wipe out the Pravus, or prophesied vampire, who will be all powerful.

I really enjoyed seeing Joss inside-out. That kid is just so driven, so determined, and so sympathetic. His craving for even the smallest scrap of validation or affection is rather heartbreaking.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 25, 2014 – Shelved
April 25, 2014 – Shelved as: quick-read
April 25, 2014 – Shelved as: ya-adventure
April 25, 2014 – Shelved as: paranormal
April 25, 2014 – Shelved as: contemporary
April 25, 2014 – Shelved as: magical-realism

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