Title: Death’s Dark Horse
Author: Ruby Loren
What would you do if someone knew your darkest secret? January Chevalier hates being back in Hailfield. Her younger sister, Jo, has been spotted hanging around Witchwood’s vampire population and their parents are sure she’s getting herself into trouble. But when January tries to intervene, Jo gallops off in a cloud of dust. Literally. Now all she wants to do is play bass guitar, bake cakes, and find her sister again, but trouble always seems to find her. It’s probably something to do with her other job as a vampire slaying, bounty hunter. When January is instructed to kill someone a bit too close to her heart, will her feelings interfere with her ability to terminate her target?
I always love novels that portray fierce female protagonists, and Death’s Dark Horse does not disappoint. Ruby Loren has created a wonderful character in January Chevalier, and I adore how January is a vampire slayer. Even though January is portrayed as a seemingly normal girl, she has a much needed dark side. I love how her innocence clashes with the reality of her position at times.
Sometimes I find that novels with strong female protagonists end up having the females obsessed with boys or other stereotypical “girl” interests, but January Chevalier was not this way. While is was clear that Loren wanted January to be a classic girl in some ways, she made sure to give January a dark side that would conflict with her interests and hobbies. Even though Death’s Dark Horse is set within fictional circumstances, January’s life connects well to modern life. This allows for the reader to connect with her, and I enjoyed following her story.
But perhaps the best part about Death’s Dark Horse is that it did not glamorize vampires in the way that modern vampire novels have before. Instead, Loren made vampires the enemy, and this allowed for more conflict when January Chevalier had a hard time slaying a vampire due to her relationship with them. This part of the story explores the conflicts that we often have between work and personal relationships, and it was interesting to see a young girl struggle with these concepts. I think that this would allow young adult readers to begin confronting these adult issues in a fictional manner.
Overall, I enjoyed Loren’s witty writing and how well she described her characters and world. Even though Loren’s sentences could run on at times, I felt that she developed her characters and setting well. I suggest this novel to anyone looking for a modern vampire novel that doesn’t glamorize this classic monster!
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