©2012 Melissa F. Olson (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
In this book the main character is a strong woman and loyal to her friends and frenemies. With the market saturated with so many vampire/wolf books and stories this was a refreshing twist. Scarlett is a null which makes her cancel out any magic and it's effects on those in her immediate area (10 feet I think it is). This gets her into many situations that are wonderful for the story and very different from all the other stories out there. So refreshing and I absolutely loved this series and will continue to buy these books as they come out.
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
I am really tired of books where the entire plot is based upon the fact that the characters are vampires, werewolves and witches. If the book has an interesting premise, well developed characters, a plot that actually requires you to think or introduces you to new ideas and pulls you in emotionally either through humor, sympathy or in some other way AND some of the characters just happen to be vampires, werewolves or witches, then that is fine.
I liked this book because while the plot focuses on the beings themselves, rather than on some larger worldly issue or event, the author introduces a new being that made this book different from the 900,000 other books covering the exact same plot. The main character is a Null, and when otherworldly characters are in her range, they loose all of their power and become human. I don't know if this plot device is enough to sustain multiple books, but it is enough to set at least this first book apart.
One of the pluses of this new character is by her very nature, she is kind of a non-entity. Her importance isn't in what she does, it is in what she makes others "not" do. As a non-entity, then the author doesn't have to spend a lot of time developing Scarlett's character and personality. In fact most of this book seems to reenforce that she has very little character or personality beyond her ability to cancel others out just by her presence. She is certainly not emotionally connected to other characters.
This was obviously an introduction to a series. When I read it, I realized that there were the beginnings of some interesting characters and some interesting story-lines waiting to be developed down the road. For the first book in a series, I think the author did a good job of piquing our interest to learn more. It remains to be seen if she can keep that interest as the series progresses.
The narrator was OK. Occasionally slipping into the annoying category.
In my opinion, a good story evokes emotion. It'll make me laugh, angry, or cry. But it can't just be words on a page. It has to do something
Didn't see that one coming, but its a super ideal. Story was full of action and adventure. Just the way I like 'em. Even a little underlying romance. But the concept was the best, because I just hadn't seen or heard of this being done before. Kudos! Looking forward to the next one.
Solid Urban Fantasy - not too much romance and the heroine is relatable, fully-fledged, and mostly lacking in cliched UF/PNR attributes (insatiable sexual prowess, uncommonly good looks, superpowers that appear far beyond her known powers, crushing feelings of inadequacy, inability to make a decision, annoying sidekicks, or closets full of the perfect heeled black leather boots and endless catalogues of specialized weaponry, for example). Scarlett is smart but not too sassy, practical rather than superficial, and not whiney. She has a few too many trust issues but they are understandable considering what she's been through in the last few years. She has a habit of feeling that things are all her fault that may lead to a overblown guilt crisis at some point in the series. Her power (or anti-power, as she calls it) is unusual: she's a Null, and magical beings that come within her radius of power lose their magical abilities - vampires and werewolves become human, witches cannot use their magic. The author uses this ability to good effect in several scene.
The magic system is well-explained and makes sense. The setting is current day Los Angeles, but realistically so and without a lot of Hollywood glitz or designer name-dropping. There is a romantic triangle, but this book is really not focused on the romance, so there are no eye-rolling romantic declarations, posturing over possession of the girl, or explicit sex scenes. The plot is solid, with enough clues and twists to keep you guessing. There are some fun references to literary history in the vampire background. The storyline wraps up at the end in a satisfying way, though a sequel is hinted at by a surprise plot point at the end. The characters are complex and feel "real" rather than just being archetypes (with the possible exception of Dashiell, the head vampire). I thought this was pretty impressive for a first novel.
The audiobook narrator is Amy McFadden. She does a creditable job but it's not outstanding. Her pacing and delivery are spot on. Like the book itself, it is more than adequate but less than extraordinary.
Great for anyone who enjoys urban fantasy or supernatural suspense. Characters were well drawn, plot was engaging. I particularly enjoyed the twist at the end, which I obviously won't ruin here. Definitely look forward to the sequels.
Awesome, new characters!
A great new paranormal species!
The final battle!
Bring on book 2!
This was one of the books I picked up during the recent First in a Series sale and I am thrilled that I did. The heroine is not whiney or afraid of who she is and the other characters are well fleshed out. I am certain that we will get a bit more back story on each of them as the series moves along based on the writing style exhibited in this book. The plot was good too. It had some fun little twists and turns and a decent mystery. The supernatural world is also well thought out and interesting, and I like the twist of a Null.
Amy McFadden's performance was spot on and I really enjoyed listening to her.
Nicely done! I am looking forward to the next installment!
Yes! I really enjoyed the extra bit of "real" that Ms McFadden was able to give the characters with the audio version.
Eli. He's a mixture of a big puppy that wants to make his mistress happy and a protective rottweiler who wants to do everything to keep her safe.
This was my first time hearing Amy McFadden.
Not without spoilers!
I was just looking for something to distract me from the long wait in between books in another series. What I got was another series to add to my "Must always read" pile...and another long wait for the next book. If you are looking for the same, be prepared to love this book, and this series!
This is an interesting and captivating series
It mostly fits into the Harry Dresden genre, good story, interesting characters
I keep searching for an urban fantasy series that I like as much as the "Dresden Files" and the Georgia Kincaid series by Richelle Mead. The Scarlett Bernard series is good, very good considering the fact that this is Olson's debut.
The Good: I like Scarlett; like all heroes of this genre, she is snarky, beautiful and slightly damaged. She is also of average intelligence and slightly lost in a believable way. I also like how Olson brings Los Angeles into the story as a character; I appreciate a book that addresses the challenges of a real life urban dweller such as parking and traffic.
The Bad: Characters actions and motivations do not seem too consistent. There are also some plot holes that vex me.
I am always looking for some good urban fantasy. I cannot put my finger on why one series becomes a must read and another series bores me,bugs me or just does not grab me. I will be curious to see how this particular series evolves.
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