Published by Jet & Jack Press on 6/6/2012
Genres: Paranormal Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
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The fight for survival begins.
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.
So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.
How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
What Kills Me is what every young adult/paranormal romance should be. Epic, fast-paced and not without a hot, non-sparkly vampire leading man guy to make you feel lusty. And thank god he’s not really a teenager, because this reader wanted him bad.
Axelia (Zee) is spending a couple of months in Rome on a study program, when she happens upon a beautiful stranger on her way home one evening – or rather, he happens upon her. He beguiles her with his flirty, friendly Italian accent, and they become fast friends. You know that saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” Yeah, that. Or you might run from someone and fall down a well filled with blood and emerge a powerful vampire everyone believes is prophesied to doom the entire vampire race. Man, life sucks.
Wynne Channing has given the YA/PNR genres something really, really great. Yeah, you could ask yourself, “who isn’t writing something in this space?” But I’ve been bored with a lot of them lately, so much so that I’ve deviated into other genres to get fresh content. Coming back with What Kills Me was like a punch in the gut! But in a very great way! Channing’s characters are incredibly witty and sarcastic…and still they maintain that level of realism that helps to keep a paranormal fiction book grounded somewhat in reality. I simply couldn’t put the book down, and resented things like sleeping when I absolutely had to.
Zee’s sarcasm and self-deprecating humor is everything Bella Swan should have been and never was. I’m a Twilight fan, but I’ll admit, it’s not written well and Bella is a dry and drab character until she’s turned in the second half of Breaking Dawn. Zee is interesting before she’s changed and she’s even more interesting after. She looks life (and Death, ha!) right in the face and smirks at her own circumstances, all the while worrying about decorum and bugs. I really liked her.
Lucas….oh Lucas. You make my heart go pitter-pat. Lucas, the bladesmith tasked to help Zee, is every woman’s fantasy in a leading man: mysterious, quick-witted, and occasionally tender. Swoon. I have nothing against sparkling vampires, and this certainly isn’t a comparison review to Twilight, but Lucas was dark and dangerous and he was still funny. He didn’t take himself so seriously that he’d, you know, leave his girl in the middle of the woods because he’s too dangerous. The two of them together are simply delicious; you know they want to, but will they? Oh pride, it really gets in the way sometimes.
She doesn’t ignore any secondary characters…oh no. They all get their few minutes of fame, and they are as put together as Zee and Lucas, lending a stronger hand to the overall story.
The plot is action-packed and takes the characters from Rome to Thailand to the remote mountains of Asia. I loved traveling with the characters, not knowing where Channing would take us next! There are friends and foes, blood and murder, knives in backs (literally and figuratively). Throughout it all, the plot weaves tightly and thickly, wrapping around the reader and sucking you in (at least this reader). I was fascinated with the method in which Zee was “reborn” and the contents of the well… because while vampires still turn humans the usual way, Zee’s circumstances are so unusual, it makes the rest of the story that much more. It is the story.
It felt impossible to put down and I can’t wait for the next one. Wynne Channing, you can’t write the sequel fast enough. Thank you for giving us such a fabulous story.
“I just thought vampires would look, you know, vicious while drinking blood,” I said. “You look like you’re in kindergarten with your juice pack.”
Want to read a portion now? Check out the Indie Author Excerpts post featuring What Kills Me by Wynne Channing.
Disclaimers: This book was provided by the author in exchange of an honest review. Blurb and photo source courtesy of Goodreads. *If you decide to purchase this book through any of these links, we do receive a small monetary kick-back that helps fund this blog.