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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

City of Souls (ARC) ~ The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson

Publisher: EOS Books, Harper Collins
Pages: 352

Release date: 6-30-09
(image and blurb from Harper Collins)
From the Cover: In Sin City, a little girl suffers from a strange and terrible malady. If she dies, the Light will die along with her.

Warrior, avenger, Joanna Archer has survived countless otherworldly terrors—and has found her rightful place among the agents battling the all-pervasive evil of Shadow . . . even as she struggles against the darkness within herself.

A war is raging for Las Vegas—a city without a heart—one that catapults Joanna into a new world hidden from mortal sight. In this lethally seductive alternate dimension the lines blur between good and evil, love and hate, and here lies the last hope for the Light. But Joanna's price of admission is a piece of her own soul—and the odds of her escaping are slim . . . to none.

Joanna Archer, the Archer of Light and Shadow annihilator, is called into action once again. In this incarnation, she has taken the form of her beloved lost sister, Olivia. It's the only way Joanna can remain alive with the Tulpa hot on her tail, Joanna must be thought of as dead. The Warriors of the Light are trying to maintain their hold over Las Vegas as the Shadow scum seem to know their every move...safe zones are gone. Only the Kairos can save them now. Joanna is the Kairos of the legends, but a simple mistake may cost not only her life, but may others. In an attempt to save the changeling, Jasmine, Joanna split her Chi causing the balance between the Light and the Shadows to become unsteady, now the fourth sign of the zodiac remains hidden. She must figure out how to right this wrong all while staying one step away of the Shadows who would love the opportunity to exploit the imbalance. It is Jasmine's turn now to move to adulthood, and her younger sister, Li, to become the new changeling, to allow the legends to be written. Manuals to continued, power to be given. But Jaz doesn't want adulthood and Li is dying....

According to Warren, the squad leader of the Las Vegas warriors, the only way to right the balance is to head to Midheaven, but it's a very dangerous seductive place where the strong become weak and the weak go to die. Entrance can only be bought with a piece of your soul. As Joanna/Olivia makes her way to this god forsaken place, she begins to wonder who is helping her and who is trying to kill her...and why. She has been given orders to find Jaden Jacks, but who is this mysterious agent with the ability to move through Midheaven and the knowledge to correct this imbalance. Hunter, the weapons master of the Light, seeks the truth as well, but he is also living with a lie...but it the one the Joanna has learned of or is it something far worse. But Joanna knows about lies, she hiding one of her own.

City of Souls by Vicki Petterson is paranormal fantasy at it's best. All the agents of the Light are Superheroes and the agents of the Shadow are dastardly villains. Charlaine Harris has a blurb across the front of this beautiful cover "Read at your own risk" and she's right, but it's worth the risk and then some. As the story unfolds for the reader, enough background information is given that although it's preferable to read this series in order, you can pick up any of the books and read. Once you do, I know you'll want to pick up the rest of the series. Vicki Petterson moves the reader through the pages and into her world where Light and Shadow have been battling, and so far, it's a draw. But with the balance upset, the Shadows begin to make advances. The Manuals that are being written are graphic novels or comic books read by mere mortals that give the legend and life as it is occurring in the secret society. The problem is that until the balance is set right, the Light legend cannot be completed, but the Shadow legend is trying to come to fruition, overcoming the Light to bring despair, chaos, death and destruction in it's wake. Joanna/Olivia, our heroine, has lost everything that she at one time valued. Her mother, Zoe, is gone, hiding from Tulpa as he desires her death as well as being Joanna's true father. Her sister is dead and Joanna has to live Olivia's life to hide from Tulpa. Xavier, not a nice person, is dying but he's Olivia's father and Tulpa's soul giver. Ben, her one time love, has had his memory cleansed and no longer remembers her. The fourth sign of the zodiac cannot be release due to Jaz not relinquishing her changeling status. Our hero, Hunter, is a mystery. Jo's one time lover which she left for Ben, is distant, secretive, almost untouchable. He knows something that Jo does not. He should know Jaden Jacks, but no one seems to know him. Hunter is tortured by his past, by his present, and by what may or may not be his future. He wants to believe in the Light and Warren, but too many things have come unraveled for him. In fact, Jo begins to wonder if anyone knows the truth or if Warren is making them all believe what he wants to be the truth. City of Souls was an excellent read. I'll give you a warning, read in the morning because at night, you won't be able to put it down. This was a fast fun read, urban fantasy and paranormal rolled into one tasty little package. To find out more information about Vicki Pettersson's great books, please visit her website or her blog.

Here's a peek at Vicki Pettersson talking about the Signs of the Zodiac Series.

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