Generally speaking, I don’t *do* Urban Fantasy. With the possible exception of the Underworld movies and Blade movies because they were kinda badass. I don’t know whether its because Twilight and other sparkly vampire franchises ruined it for me, or maybe I’m just being obtuse. So, it was with some trepidation that I picked up the novella Traitors by Carrie Clevenger.
Traitors, tells the story of Xan Marcelles, younger brother to the leader of his vampire family or clan who is tasked (ordered) by his elder brother Magnus to go after an unknown group of vampires hiding out in a backwater town in Texas. I havent read the other Crooked Fang stories, but I get the picture that when Xan Marcelles isn’t rocking out with his band Crooked Fang, he’s generally kicking vampire asses and taking names. With him travels Nin, a smoking hot vampire of a different clan who, in the past, had betrayed Xan so that there was a level of mistrust between the two characters.
There is sneaking around, there is sexual tension, there are bar-storming fight scenes and psychotic car chases. With the exception of the first few pages which set the scene, this is an action packed ride from start to finish. I read it in a couple of hours and risked the wrath of wife because I didnt want to put the book down and come to bed until it was finished. Thats a pretty damn good sign that a book is a good read.
Xan is a great character because he’s got the whole anti-hero thing happening and because he’s a fully fleshed out person. He’s a bad ass vampire that has all the urges to chomp neck as any other blood sucker, but he has affinity and a secret love of humans. He wants to escape the clutches his family bonds, yet he’s dragged back into the fold by a sense of duty to his brother and out of fear of what he learns about current events. (I wont spoil that one for you!). Nin, the other main character in this story, is also shown to progress from someone who in the past had betrayed Xan to someone now very much on his side and interesting and strong female character in her own right, able to lop heads with the best of them.
Verdict: I figured, on a craft-level, the book would be a decent because Carrie Clevenger has been around for a while in the writing scene and this is one a few stories set within the same setting. Having an established world and mythos and character cast and a few books under her belt meant that she already had an advantage. To be frank, I was wrong. It wasn’t decent. It was very good – bordering on awesome. You see, for me to really get into this book (bearing in mind I’m a self professed urban fantasy-phobe and haven’t read any of Carrie’s other books) she needed to do a few things. She needed to capture my interest pretty early on. She had to make me give a shit about her characters. She needed to expose enough about Xan’s past and the general vampire mythos in her world without boring me. She had to then go on an tell an actual story that was interesting, exciting and progress her characters and develop them and bring the story to a satisfying conclusion. She did all of these things with flair and I found the pages turning quicker the further into the novella I got. With one exception: The end was not satisfying because it set the stage for another epic tale to follow and I don’t have that tale and I cant read it and waiting sucks.
Check it out and buy it here: