Book Review: The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs

The Dark HeroineThe Dark Heroine
Dinner with a Vampire
Abigail Gibbs
HarperVoyager, October 2012 (UK edition)
ISBN: 978-0-00-750367-4
William Morrow, March 2013 (US edition)
ISBN 978-0-06-224873-2
Trade Paperback

Violet Lee is waiting for her friend on a night out when her life changes forever. Witness to a massacre, she is taken hostage where she finds that life is nothing like she knew it. Her father, a top government minister has known about this all along. In fact, it is he who set in motion the events that traps her now. There is only one choice she can make, but will she turn her back on her family forever?

I first heard about this book when the author was interviewed on the morning news. The fact that she wrote this while studying for her school exams impressed me and so, I finally grabbed a copy and settled in. The story revolves around a young girl who discovers that vampires live alongside humans and have done for thousands of years. The top ministers in the British government are aware of their existence and an uneasy truce has been in place for a while. However, Violet’s father, the minister for defence, is trying to goad the vampires into starting a war. Ultimately though, it is Violet who has to pay the price for his past decisions. Told from two perspectives, both Violet’s and Kaspar, a young vampire, the story slowly leads to a romantic and political conclusion.

This is really not your typical vampire fare although there is some romance in there. It is really much more complex and political and it seems that Violet is there to set in motion a series of events that will bring peace to all the realms. In this book we are told of three realms, human, vampire and magic but it is hinted that there are more out there but I guess that these will be explored in further volumes. The best aspect of the book is the plotline where nine women will come together, these Heroines who will unite the realms and who must be respected and revered in recognition of their power. It’s nice for women to get this role for once, especially since vampire novels still tend to sway heavily towards the damsel in distress notion. Although the writing does seem slightly immature in parts, overall, this is a great book and hopefully the series will continue to develop well. The second title is out in August and I would certainly recommend this to young adults aged 16+ (due to some adult content).

Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, June 2013.

Cover Reveal: Scintillate by Tracy Clark

Scintillate

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Title: Scintillate
Author: Tracy Clark
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: February 4, 2014
ISBN: 978-1622661459
Pages: 320
Genres: Mystery, Dark Fantasy, Romance

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Synopsis:

Cora Sandoval’s mother disappeared when she was five and living in Ireland. Since
then, Dad has been more than overprotective and Cora is beginning to chafe under
his confines. But even more troubling is the colorful light she is suddenly seeing
around people. Everyone, that is, except herself—she glows a brilliant, sparkling silver.

Troubled by these strange flickerings and fearing she is being stalked, Cora is
inexplicably
drawn to Finn, a gorgeous Irish exchange student who makes her
feel safe. Their attraction
is instant, magnetic, and primal—but her father
disapproves and Finn’s mother orders
him home to Ireland upon hearing he’s
fallen in love. After a fight with her father,
Cora flees to Ireland,
both to follow Finn and to look for her missing mother.

There she meets another silver-haloed person and discovers the meaning of her
newfound powers and their role in a conspiracy spanning centuries—a conspiracy
that could end her life and change mankind forever.

Scintillate is the first book in this lush and exciting new trilogy,
full of romance, adventure and metaphysical mystery.

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An Excerpt from Scintillate

Finn began to play. Voices descended into a respectful hush. Soft strums of the guitar lifted and fell on shafts of daylight from the windows. A small patch of sun warmed my exposed neck as I listened. The orange beads of his bracelet flashed as he plucked the strings with slender fingers. His head hung over the guitar in reverent concentration.

His playing was amazing, sweet and peaceful. For a while I let go of how bizarre my life had become. I was entranced long before Finn closed his eyes and opened his mouth to sing. His voice was rich, smooth suede, perfectly suited for the blues: soulful and vulnerable. The kind of voice that reaches inside and squeezes what’s tender.

When he sang an Irish bar song called “The Wild Rover,” he got the entire crowd to join in on the chorus. A couple of times during his performance, his gaze fell on me and lingered as if he sang directly to me. I rested my chin on my hand, hiding my smile behind my fingers. The last song was in a language I didn’t understand, but my soul spoke that language. Deep inside, something cracked open so that a bit of my truest self could peek out. His music was bluesy and mournful, eerily familiar, and it opened my heart in locked places. A tear landed on my wrist.

When the final chord of the last song reverberated through the coffeehouse, the audience jumped to its feet and applauded wildly. The force of energy from the crowd knocked the breath out of me, making me dizzy. I dared a look at the people in the room. The colors were unbelievable! Such power. It rolled toward Finn in a wave, a tsunami in slow motion. I had the impulse to leap in front of him, to protect him from it.

My body jerked in response to the thought, and I squeezed the sides of the wooden chair, willing myself to sit still. I couldn’t trust myself and the strong urge to protect him. But from what? The big, bad colors I could see but that were invisible to everyone else? He’d think I was crazy.

Maybe I was.

A chill spidered up my spine. The man with the crazy eyes and pure white aura leaned against the brick wall a couple feet away, staring intently at me. Icy fear spiked through me, making my fingers tingle and my breath come in quick bursts. The sounds of the room fell away. My heart sped and my aura sparked as I saw the roiling ball of the crowd’s energy pass over the man and collide with Finn. But rather than crush him, the energy crashed and blended with his own bright aura, making it grow and pulse fiercely. He seemed to absorb the light until the room grew dim to my eyes.

Untouched by the energy, the strange man moved closer and closer to me. I called out to Dun, but he couldn’t hear me over the shouts and clapping. I was so small in my chair amid the standing crowd. The man and his dark eyes were all I could see. I tried to leap up to run, to grab Dun’s arm, to call for help, but my chest jerked toward the stranger as if I’d been punched in the spine. I couldn’t draw breath, couldn’t move through the thick ice of my draining energy and rising panic. I was hit in the face with a blast of air. Then, a sudden flash of white.

The world tilted sideways, and I slid off.

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About the Author

Tracy ClarkTracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through, they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.

She grew up a “valley girl” in Southern California but now resides in her home state of Nevada with her daughter and son. She’s an unapologetic dog person who is currently owned by a cat. She is the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant and a two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program.

Her debut novel, SCINTILLATE, was inspired by her enchantment with metaphysics as a teen, seeing it as the real magic in life. Tracy is a part-time college student, a private pilot, and an irredeemable dreamer.

Author Links:

Website  //  Blog  //  Twitter  //  Facebook  //  Goodreads

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Giveaway!

Tracy Clark Key Charm Prize

1 ebook of SCINTILLATE and a charm key US Only
1 eBook of SCINTILLATE International

Enter the drawing at Rafflecopter.

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