Friday, September 14, 2007

"Scent of Shadows" by Vicki Pettersson

Joanna Archer is having the blind date from hell in the opening of this new series. Her date, a hideous man named Ajax, wants to kill her. Literally. She's about to find out that a bad date is the least of her worries. She'll be lucky to survive her 25th birthday. Why? Turns out that pivotal date, specifically at midnight, is when she will inherit her full powers as a member of the Zodiac. Yes, Joanna is actually a superhero - she just doesn't know it yet.

The only people who do know are the rest of the Light Zodiac, people who try to balance the scales in favor of good. They constantly battle members of the Shadow Zodiac, who, of course, are in favor of tilting things towards the evil side. There are twelve members on each side, basically opposites of each other, just as there are rising and descending signs in astrology. Unfortunately for the Light side, they have lost several members and are finding themselves wondering if there's a traitor in their midst.

Enter Joanna, who is not only a member of the Zodiac, but also the Kairos, born of both the Dark and the Light. Her mother was The Archer, the same sign that Joanna inherits. Her father was The Tulpa, a being literally created and then left to go power-hungry on his own. As a member with dual nature, Joanna is not trusted by the Light and wanted dead by the Dark. What's a girl to do? Oh, and her old flame, Ben Traina, has walked back into her life. Complicating matters even worse is that once she completes her transformation, she must undergo another one, this time involving some major plastic surgery. Everyone, including Ben, must believe she's dead so that the Light can protect her from the Dark. But even with a completely different face and body enhancements, the Dark will be able to track Joanna by her scent. Believe it or not, the title is all about one's personal scent created by pheromones. (This was a bit of a stretch, even for me!)

Sound intriguing? It was. Sound complicated? You betcha. Sound promising? Yes, and I'm hoping to read the next book in the series. This entry had to provide a lot of exposition, and it shows. Luckily, the premise caught my attention and kept me going to the end. I'm hoping that the next entry is tighter in plot and perhaps a bit better at character development. Overall, I'd recommend this, even though it's not the best book I've read. But in the case of a series, especially this one that has so much history in just the first book, I'd say it's a must-read.

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