Title: Slayer’s Kiss
Author: Cassi Carver
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: The Shadows Slayers (Book 1)
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Format: eBook, 344 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1609286798 (Samhain Publishing)
Reviewed by: Sheila
When the past flies in your face, clip its wings.
Kara Reed is a supernatural failure. But where her magic falls short, her fists get the job done. The criminal element doesn’t stand a chance once she hits San Diego’s dark streets.
When two smoking-hot tenants move in next door, she thinks her love life might finally be heating up. Just being near Gavin and Julian is enough to make her want to offer her body on a platter.
Gavin and Julian know it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. They’re fallen angels sent to watch over the king’s daughter, one of the last females of her kind. Trouble is, she doesn’t seem to think she needs watching-unless they’re watching her shimmy out of her clothes.
No matter how tempting her guardians, Kara’s not about to let anything stop her from tracking down a sadistic killer who carves into his victims and leaves them for dead. Even when she realizes her target may be the very scourge of heaven from which her angels swore to protect her…
Warning: Contains a kick-ass heroine with a foul mouth, a kind heart and a raging libido, and two fallen angel warriors who wouldn’t have her any other way. Watch out for sex in the clouds, a magical island of hedonism and a love triangle that gives new meaning to the term “hot-wings.” A fast-paced story of a woman who has more than her fair share of bad luck.
Quick & Dirty: Lots of sex and fighting with a confusing amount of explanations jumbled in with plot. This story lacks a cohesive storyline, authentic characters and consistent world-building.
Opening Sentence: “Just lie back and relax, asshole.”
When I start a new series, I try to keep an open mind. Sometimes the first book doesn’t portray the world or characters in enough detail for the reader to get a handle on events that take place. Those details and character motivations usually come out in the next few books and the overall picture is, at last, revealed. I am going to hope that is the case with Slayer’s Kiss. The first installment of the Shadow Slayers series, as it stands, leaves me wanting.
The main character, Kara Reed, is a mediocre witch that is a maintenance tech for her building and part-time bartender at the Hoolecha Inn by day. That, in its self, is boring. The fun part is she moonlights as a vigilante. With her best friend, Abbey, they prowl the night for sex offenders and use magic to punish them, usually by making them impotent. Kara uses her innate knowledge of sensing violence and evil to hunt these bastards down like the dogs they are. She also happens to be a rare female Demiare, those born of fallen angels and humans that are immortal and have cool magic powers. She’s strong and independent, but also impetuous and vulnerable. It makes for a hard combination to get a bead on her overall personality. Kara’s motivations remain unclear because of her mercurial emotional responses. I am hoping that in future books, she evens out and these issues are due to her being overwhelmed about discovering her heritage.
Gavin and Julian are both the love interests in Slayer’s Kiss. Both are Lords of Mercury Island and have rules against them bonding, as physical and emotional ties can only be with one female of their species. That way, the lords can concentrate on putting the clan first and not a woman. Good idea right? Now if only they would stick to it. Apparently, Kara gets to be the exception to the rule. Gavin is the responsible one; protecting Kara and trying to wait to make his move until she can make an informed decision. Julian, on the other hand, can’t keep his hands off her and bonds with her, even though it’s forbidden for him to do so. He acts contrary to their society by claiming Kara as his own and not giving her the choice. For a man who is supposed to be centuries old and a leader of his clan, he comes across as a spoiled brat. I mean, as Lords they made the rules; shouldn’t they have to follow them like everyone else? It drives me nuts when characters who, supposedly, are upstanding leaders in their community go and throw out the rule book at the first hint of it going against their own desires. It’s hypocrisy at its best. I read enough of that in the newspapers and I don’t want to read it in my books as well. I will say that I do like, on the other hand, the fact that these two men have opposite reactions to Kara’s allure. Julian jumps on the board with sleeping with her, and the possibility getting her pregnant, and the Gavin denies his attraction and attempts to distance himself for both their sakes. This is a love triangle set in a world where women are dominate and choose multiple partners based on whatever whim they want. I find this in conflict with the culture where these men are from. It makes the whole thing more unbelievable and not true to the characters themselves. Kara, who was raised human, would have more issues with picking between the two guys and therefore the love triangle “angle” works better.
The whole plot revolves around a bad guy coming after Kara. A bad guy from a world she knows nothing about and needs protection far beyond her capabilities. Good guys that vow to care and protect her. Good guys that will help her adjust to her new life. It sounds great in theory, but there is something lacking overall that doesn’t allow me to fully enjoy it. Maybe too little time was spent on the structure of the book as a whole. The sex scenes are great and the characters are memorable enough to recommend this book as a good library find. Slayer’s Kiss is a great concept but I need to see a more cohesive storyline in order for me to continue to follow it in the future.
Gavin reached the bar, pulled out a stool and settled himself on the brown vinyl perch.
“Miss Reed.” He tipped his chin in greeting. His suit jacket was draped across one knee, leaving him in slacks and a white-collared shirt with the first button undone. With the way the fabric stretched around his biceps, he didn’t look like any businessman she’d ever met.
Her mind raced. Maybe he’d thought through her unspoken offer. Maybe she wasn’t the only one who’d felt the connection. Her body flushed, but not in embarrassment this time – this was simply blood rushing to all her important parts.
She nodded back and smiled, trying not to look as smug as she felt. “You found me.”
“I did. It must be nice working so close to home.”
“Yeah, it’s not a bad gig.” She wanted to laugh. It was clear he had something to say, and she already knew what it was going to be. Mutual attraction this strong couldn’t be denied. She wasn’t going to play hard to get just to get even with him. He might deserve it, but that wasn’t her style. She rarely wanted a man, but when she did, she let him know flat-out. “I’m glad you rethought my offer.”
He clasped his hands on the bar before him. “It’s the key.”
She put down the bottle in her hand and cocked her head. “What’s the key?”
“The reason I’m here.”
“Huh? I’m confused.” Confused and sinking like that rock in the pit of her stomach.
Gavin looked like he’d swallowed a bug. “The key doesn’t work.”
The blood drained from Kara’s face. “Oh… you’re not here to see me.” She was the world’s biggest jackass. Such an ass, in fact, she was surprised she hadn’t brayed the soft, mortified words from between big blocky teeth.
The Shadow Slayer Series:
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Slayer’s Kiss. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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