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Review: Hellforged

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Hellforged
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Author: Nancy Holzner 
Publisher: ACE Fantasy
Deadtown Series Book #2
ISBN: #978-0441019809
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): paperback (352 pgs), e-book
I received a copy of this book from the PUBLISHER for the purposes of an honest review.

From the author’s website:

      After Vicky banished her demon nemesis to the fiery depths of Hell, she thought life would return to normal. But considering she has a werewolf lawyer boyfriend, a zombie apprentice who’s angling to become a pop star, and an eccentric vampire roommate, what is normal, anyway?
      Then the supposedly banished Hellion starts to trespass in Vicky’s dreams—just as several of Deadtown’s zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead. When Vicky realizes she’s the only connection between the victims, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown’s living nightmare.
      What she doesn’t know is that her old enemy brings with it a force more terrifying—and deadly—than anything she’s battled before.

What I’m talking about:

      Hellforged opens with demon hunter, Victory Vaughn and her zombie teen apprentice, Tina, attempting to rid MIT computer labs of a nasty Glitch demon. Of course things don’t go smoothly, but Vicki manages to make the best of the situation. And that is how Vicki rolls.
      Soon Vicki’s life takes a turn for the dangerous. Her roommate is seen with mysterious creatures (but denies it), a Hellion is using her dreams to kill zombies, and her Aunt Mab summons her to Wales overnight, telling her of an evil prophesy that involves Vicki.  Once in Wales, Vicki meets her “cousin” Pryce who is bent on becoming the king of the demons. With time running out and Pryce freeing evil spirits that kill the zombies, Mab trains Vicki to become a better demon-slayer.
      Although I did not read Deadtown, the first book in Ms. Holzner’s series, I did not feel as if I missed a beat (but I hear the book is wonderful). The author does a great job with world-building – making the zombie-infested streets of Boston seem normal.  Hellforged  builds upon the world created in Deadtown, but does not rely on the actions of the first book when telling the tale of the second book.
      I really enjoyed reading Hellforged. Vicki is reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the “chosen one” type prophecy hanging over her head. She is tough-as-nails, but sensitive to the human (and non-human) condition. She is sort of a loner, especially in her emotional connectivity to others, but has a few close friends and family that help her out. I found myself completed engaged by the motives behind her actions and inactions.  Her sarcastic sense of humor is woven into her character – not right on the pages, but sly in her comments:

…I thought about what I had to do: Keep from dreaming, read a book written in a language I didn’t understand, and become pure through contamination. Piece of cake.

      The plot was smart and exciting; I enjoyed watching Vicki attempt to solve the mystery of the prophecy while trying to keep the world safe. Although it had a bit of familiarity about it, the storyline was original and kept me glued to the pages.  There were even a few surprise twists and turns that I didn’t expect. Vicki’s relationship with Mab is special and heartwarming. On the side is Vicki’s love life and a host of other intriguing characters. Hellforged is action-packed, somewhat violent, and overall a great story.

My Rating: 

4 stars: Really enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)

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