Title: Blood Feud The Saga of Pandora Zwieback Book 1)
Author: Steven A. Roman
Publisher: Starwarp Concepts
First Published: June 2011
No. of pages:320
Sixteen-year-old Goth girl Pandora Zwieback has a major problem: she’s just discovered that her New York City hometown is the stalking ground for every monster and ghoul out to raise a little hell (literally!) . . . BUT she’s apparently the only one who can see them. That means she can’t tell her friends or family about the dangers around them–not unless she wants to spend the rest of her life locked up in a psychiatric ward. But before Pan has a chance to make sense of her increasingly weird life, she finds herself in the middle of a war among rival vampire clans. Elegant Gothic Lolitas from Japan on one side, silk-suited London vamps on the other, leather-clad hunters from Eastern Europe in the middle, and all after the same prize: a mysterious crate recently delivered to the horror-themed museum owned by Pan’s father. What is the terrifying secret of Item #179? How do its contents tie into an incident from the blood-drenched past of Pan’s new friend, a 400-year-old, shape-shifting monster hunter named Annie? And, more important, will Pan survive long enough to get any answers?
Attention all monster maniacs, vampire victims, Goths, fans of the macabre and all-out urban fantasy, paranormal and supernatural snapper-uppers – there’s a new series on the market and you’re gonna love it!
Pandora Zwieback is such a regular kinda gal (well, apart from her “monster vision”, that is) that you can’t help liking her. As teens go, she’s one of the good ones and although she can pack a punch and is a little troubled, she’s not the kind of kid you want to slap every five seconds and that can make all the difference when you’re reading a novel where she’s the star of the show, so to speak. She’s grounded enough that one can readily accept the concept of her having what she calls “monster vision” as she’s so sceptical of it herself.
It’s written in such a way that the excitement kept me riding high the length of the novel, and it wasn’t till the end that I realised there was no sex (and, in fact, no romantic scenes at all), which makes a nice change from all the soft-focus, mushy, vampires-just-want-to-be-loved stuff that’s flooded the market after the unaccountably popular Twilight saga. There is also surprisingly little violence, considering we’re battling legions of the undead here, and minimal gore, which means it’s safe for readers from the mid-teen range upwards.
Actually, it’s one of those fabulous books that manages to straddle the young adult / adult fiction divide without doing the splits and ending in a prat-fall that would ruin many others, catering equally for teens and more, ahem, “mature” readers alike with a light touch that makes it a joy to read.
To top it all off, it’s left wide open for the sequel and then doesn’t give any teaser chapters at the end, which is great because, and here’s where it triumphs, it doesn’t need them! Yes – I already know I want to continue reading The Saga of Pandora Zwieback and I didn’t have that horrid let-down when I realise that, far from having several chapters left, the story has been cut short to make way for an introduction to sucker you into the sequel. Thank you Mr. Roman!
I know the cover art might put some people off buying it (I’ve heard several comments along those lines, but personally, I love the cover!). Please don’t let that prejudice you against it. I promise you that if you ignore the art at the beginning, you’ll be so engrossed in the pages between the covers that you’ll forget you ever disliked the picture in the first place.
I, for one, can hardly wait for the next installment to be published!