Once Bitten, Twice Shy (Jaz Park, Book 1) - Why did I wait so long? [Update for Group Read at bottom of review]
This is on of those books I passed a dozen times on the shelf and said, 'nah, it will never be as good as it looks to be' and left, not wanting to be disappointed. This is also the book that has me once again trying those long shot books, because it restored my faith in them.
This is another urban fantasy vampire series, where vampires are a part of 'our' average world. The author fits the Other into the story well, partially because even the main character is not your run of the mill person.
I don't think I can say enough about why I like this story. Most of it comes from the main character and narrator of the story. Jasmine 'Jaz' Parks has got to be one of the most sarcastic, insane thinker of metaphors and tangents I've ever seen. The scary thing is, when I read her hilarious description, I often go 'wow, I totally get that' or 'I think that's a perfect way to describe that'. Is it scary that I think like this insane woman? ;P She is an assassin for the CIA and her boss is a 200+ year old vampire from Romania named Vayl. Together they 'smoke' Other, mainly Vampires who run afoul of the law. Jaz has dark places in her past, she is not a nice person but she is a good person. She is also one of the most kick-butt heroines I've ever read.
Vayl is...complicated. He has lived a long time and seen much. He doesn't show much, clearly has been hurt gravely in the past, but seems to be fascinated with Jaz. While we start to learn some of his back story in this book, it is clear there is more to come as the series progresses. He has the power to turn everything around him icy and fights with a beautifully ancient sword cane. The two characters are as different as can be, and yet they work perfectly together.
The story is fast paced, well thought out, and full of great characters and twists. The author doesn't pull any punches in the first story as we are introduced not only to Vampires and CIA supernatural assassins, but Seers, Sensitives, demons, and more. The writing is good, wonderfully irreverent, and well laid out. Altogether a very enjoyable read mechanically as well as story wise.
There is very little to put in this category. I will admit, the whole Vampire craze has long grown old, but there are a few gems mixed in with the swill. These do have a tendency to be a bit too cliché in their Vampire traits and make up, but she does manage to still make them in some ways uniquely her's. While not perfect, this is a very good book and well worth a browse.
If you are a fan of urban fantasy Vampire series, definitely pick this up. If you have thought it looked intriguing but wasn't sure, give it a try. If you're tired of the Vampire craze, I'd still suggest giving this a try as it's one of the better ones, but might want to wait awhile. If you like kick-butt heroines-Read This.
If you don't like smart-mouthed women who can shoot, punch vampires, and have a knack for finding trouble, this really isn't the book for you.
Reading Progress (from GR)
|01/12/2013||page 66||21.0%||"I'd forgotten how much I love Jaz's mental snarky comments. How have I gone without rereading this for so long?"|
Rereading the series as a Group read with Murder by Death (you can find her review of this here) and it's like visiting an old friend. One that I probably wouldn't turn my back on, might get offended by once or twice, and who'd send a sarcastic one liner just when I was taking a sip of soda, but one I'm always glad I saw when it's over.