First Kill (The Slayer Chronicles #1) by Heather Brewer
Genre: YA Paranormal - Publisher: Dutton Juvenile - Publication date: September 20, 2011 - Pages: 309 - Source: Publisher
Let me start by saying that this cover is absolutely perfect for this book. It's simple but you can definitely detect a ton of teenage angst in it!
Now, this book blew me away. It's been a while since I read the Vlad Tod series, so I forgot A LOT of details. I was totally wary about starting this book, but my concerns were totally unnecessary. This book takes place before the Vlad Tod series, therefore you don't need to have read it before reading this book. FIRST KILL definitely provides a grade-A example of a fabulous spin-off debut.
I didn't really get into this book until about the third chapter when Joss discovers that he is going to see his uncle for Slayer training. After that, I clung to each page for dear life. That was when things began to tumble downhill for Joss, and that was when everything changed for him.
Personally, I think Heather Brewer's writing is a lot better in this book, which makes sense because now she has a whole series under her belt. Her writing is difficult for me to explain. It's very formal and precise, yet it captures Joss's voice perfectly! The pacing and the tragedies were absolutely magnificent. There was not a single section of this book that I just thought, "Okay, can we get to the exciting part yet?" Every part of this book holds an air of mystery and tension, even when the tension had supposedly vanished.
The plot was great. I felt like it progressed naturally everything just flowed!
Every single character was extraordinarily written. They each had a tortured past, a good back story, and a specific belief about their lifestyles. I like the different skills and hobbies that they all have, like exploding things or cooking and taking care of others.
This book had a way of making me feel. When Joss would describe his pain, I felt my stomach tighten. Sometimes I forgot that Joss is only thirteen, because he's so intelligent and mature for his age, having experienced too much in such a short time. The weird thing for me was that this book had absolutely zero romance in it, yet I didn't want there to be. I just knew it wouldn't fit. That has never happened before for me. Ever.
The ending sets up the plot for the next book in the series, but other than that it is a perfect stand-alone book. It didn't have that first-novel-feel that a lot of books that are first in a series have. There was no lack of violence or tragedies or action. All in all, I loved it and I cannot wait for the sequel...which is bad because this one hasn't even come out yet! I surely did not expect to love it so much, but I'm so glad I received it in the mail!
- The Protagonist. Reading about Joss was so weird for me at first, because he was sort of the bad guy in the Vlad Tod series, but it was really easy to sympathize with him and love him! He had clear motivations and goals, and he didn't do anything that made me think, "Is he stupid? Why would he do that?" He's smart and determined and plagued by guilt. He's SUPER easy to relate to, too. He just wants to be noticed and to be seen as more than a child, he just wants to prove himself.
- The constant twists. I wouldn't say that the twists are dramatic and made me gasp, but this book definitely kept me on my toes. When you think that something is going to happen...quite the opposite occurs.
- The prologue. A lot of prologues are revealing and unnecessary, but this one is totally awesome! It begins with Abraham, Joss's uncle, and as the story went on, my mind kept wandering back to the prologue with the same question in my head: Why? It was one of those things that I NEEDED to keep reading in order to find the answer. And I did!
- The world. I loved learning more about the Slayers and their rules and limitations. Their initiation process. It was all fascinating.
If you liked...
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer
The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Then you'll absolutely adore FIRST KILL.