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Red-Headed Stepchild

Narrated by: Cynthia Holloway
Series: Sabina Kane, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Romance, Fantasy
4 out of 5 stars (488 ratings)
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This Story Is Seductive

Publisher's Summary

In a world where being of mixed blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane doesn't really fit in. And being an assassin - the only profession fit for an outcast - doesn't help matters. But she's never brought her work home. Until now.

Sabina's latest mission is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As she scrambles to figure out which side she's on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family, and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life changing, but together they could be lethal.

©2009 Jaye Wells (P)2010 Tantor

What members say

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good potential

Red Headed Stepchild is the first book in the Sabina Kane series. I pretty bored with this book for at least the first half of it. I’m not sure if it’s due to the narrator (since it was an audiobook) or due to it being the first book in the series and all the world building or just because I didn’t like it.

Sabina Kane is half vampire, half Mage. She was the product of a forbidden love and the daughter of vampire royalty and mage royalty. Sabina has been raised by her vampire family and was an assassin. Although she is an assassin, the book wasn’t written or shown her to be a badass. Yes, there were parts where she fought and killed but she didn’t exude a fierce fighter or warrior to me. There were some other traits that I love that being funny and sarcastic, but her funniness was really cheesy at times. It was as if she was trying too hard to be funny.

Her “family” and I say that loosely kept her hidden away and she didn’t know a lot of the other races. As the book goes on we begin to learn about them. There are vampires, mages, fairies, demons and nymphs just to name a few as well as half breeds. The world doesn’t know that all of these races exist but they are all on the verge of war. Domina and Hecate council especially (not sure if I’m spelling those right since it was an audiobook).

A demon comes after Sabina and becomes an unlikely ally, his name is Giguhl. He is a demon that can shape shift into a cat. Weird, yes! Adam Lazarus is a Mage that is seeking to find Sabina and teach her about her magic and Mage/Hecate side. He’s a hottie of course. Clovis is the “enemy” that is her new assignment from the Domina. Clovis is causing problems and must be dealt with.

The book moved a little faster and got more interesting about the halfway point. There were more twists, turns and revelations. Sabina learns her true history, not just her vampire side. She stands up to her evil grandmother, THANK GOD, and seems to be moving in the right direction now. I’m willing to give the next book a try and see if it gets a little better.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

this first one is okay

This book is pretty good aside from some personality flaws that are a bit irritating from the supporting cast.

However the subsequent books get worse and worse, the author has no sense drama only melodrama, the political factions are mostly nonsensical, and love interests are really forced. There is no sense of chemistry in their interactions, there is a whole lot of inner monologue claiming connection between the characters but no reason is ever given other than they are kinda hot.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Stereotypical UF

This is the first book in the Sabina Kane series; there are five books in this series. This was okay, it was a pretty typical vampire urban fantasy. The dialogue was kind of awkward throughout and there wasn’t a lot of description throughout the book. I didn’t really engage with any of the characters either. Previous to reading this book I had read Wells’ “Dirty Magic” and didn’t really enjoy that book either.

I listened to this on audiobook and the narration was okay but not great. The narrator was pretty stiff sounding and didn’t do a very good job conveying excitement and emotion. She did the different character voices fine, but her stiffness made it hard to engage in the story.

I found a lot of the actions the characters took and the plot elements to be silly and contrived. I didn’t really enjoy the world or the characters presented here.

The writing was a bit stiff and awkward, although I think the narration contributed to that some as well. Considering I didn’t like the first book in Wells’ other series either “Dirty Magic”, I just don’t seem to like her writing style.

The plot is a fairly typical blend of vampires, mages, and fae. There really wasn’t anything all that creative or interesting here.

Overall this was an okay book but not great. It’s a pretty typical UF read and makes for a quick read. I think there’s much better UF out there and won’t be continuing the series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I Do Not Buy Into the Character as an Assassian

Would you try another book from Jaye Wells and/or Cynthia Holloway?

The author failed me and wasted my time. This book was not funny and I did not care about what happened to the characters.

Has Red-Headed Stepchild turned you off from other books in this genre?

I am a big fan of Urban fantasy and of Twilight so I am precisely the target audience for this book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Nothing against the narrator. She was fine.

Any additional comments?

I did like the demon/cat character. The only reason why I continued with the book was that I was hoping he would take over the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • RC
  • 10-27-12

All I can say is WOW!

I thought I would take a chance on this book since it was in one of my favorite genres. I didn't necessarily have high expectations, but thought it was worth checking out. I am so glad I did!!!! Within the first few minutes, I was completely hooked and didn't want to stop listening. I love kick-butt female characters and Sabina Kane fits that description perfectly. The author did a great job of giving the character depth and keeping me emotionally invested in what Sabina was going through. There are lots of other characters you love to hate and can't wait till they get what they deserve. There is a little brewing romance, but it is not the main focus.

If you are a fan of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, then I think you would really like this book. It has a lot of the elements I love from that series, minus the pervasive and overly long sex scenes. It totally sticks to a real plot.

The performance was great and I bought the second book before I even finished the first because I knew I would want to continue the story. If the subsequent books are even half as good as this one, this series has a bright future!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

One of the Worst Books I've "Read"

Would you try another book from Jaye Wells and/or Cynthia Holloway?

Not Jaye Wells.

Has Red-Headed Stepchild turned you off from other books in this genre?

Don't let this book put you off of Urban Fantasy if you did not like it. I have read a lot of books in the genre and I can tell you this one is exceptionally bad.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

This narrator also does the Chicagoland Vampire series, which I have also bought through Audible in the past. The worst thing about her performance is that she mispronounces a lot of words, which is incredibly annoying to me. She also has an overly melodramatic style of reading, which is off-putting to me.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Red-Headed Stepchild?

Throughout the book there are countless inconsistencies in character and plot. Neither are well thought out or developed, making it impossible to understand the characters motivations, stay interested in the plot, or suspend disbelief. It seemed as if the author was just making things up as she went along, heedless of previous events in the book.

Any additional comments?

I struggle to understand how this book gets such good reviews from so many people. I was extremely disappointed since the premise of the characters and story has such potential. I pride myself on finishing the books I start reading even if they are not favorites. Finishing this book definitely put me to the test.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • barbara
  • livingston, TN, United States
  • 10-08-12

A not-so-bad book

If you could sum up Red-Headed Stepchild in three words, what would they be?

It's urban fantasy. Meaning that unless an urban fantasy book is just plain stupid or boring I'm going to enjoy giving it a try. Red-Headed Stepchild wasn't the best fantasy book ever written but was entertaining enough I didn't regret buying it. Sometimes this is enough of an endorsement to get me hooked on a series, sometimes not. In this one, let me say, I would buy the next book in the series if it were on sale but wouldn't ever think about paying the full price for it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting was a new twist to how vampires came to be. Least was that the plot was pretty predictable. I called almost every move the main character was about to make long before she made it.

What three words best describe Cynthia Holloway’s performance?

Not that bad.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I think I smirked a few times when listening to it but I did not laugh out loud. As far as crying while listening to it, no, I never came close.

Any additional comments?

You could do worse.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maria
  • Citrus Heights, CA, United States
  • 04-30-12

I loved it

Sabina is a flawed heroine, seeking approval and love from the only relative that she knows, her cold, powerful grandmother.
Never questioning her grandmother she carried out her job as assassin unquestionably, until.....she was ordered to kill her friend. Fed lies, (after all a child believes a parent) that her friend had betrayed her grandmother she does the deed. However, the killing never set well with her, showing a crack in her fake, cold facade, sets up what happens in the story. By story's end she is physically battling with her grandmother, and learns that she has other relatives. Her growth, (she actually has friends that she never had before) show that she is redeemable. All in all a good read/listen, and sets the story for the continuation in the next book, where she goes to meet her mage relatives.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

garbage + some intelligence

Honestly, I liked a lot of it, which is why I didn't give it a one star. The problem, is there was too much boring lust instead of meaningful relationship building. Only a sex addict would find any of that appealing... and yes, I understand some of you readers are and prefer different terminology, but the honest truth is sex and lust are sometimes the opposite of romantic. Don't expect everyone to be fooled by some counterfeit hormone high.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bitchy female Lead! Love it!

If you could sum up Red-Headed Stepchild in three words, what would they be?

Funny, Insane, Wow.

What other book might you compare Red-Headed Stepchild to and why?

None, at the top of my head.

What about Cynthia Holloway’s performance did you like?

Yes. I really like her voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Vampire Bitch, come on!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful