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Monday, June 1, 2009

Strange Angels (ARC) by Lili St. Crow

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Publisher: Penguin Group, Penguin Group for Young Readers, Razorbill
Pages: 304

Released Date: May 19, 2009
From the Cover: Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called "the touch." (Comes in handy when you're traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead but still walking and Dru knows she's next. Even worse, she's got two guys hungry for her affections, and they're not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever or whoever is hunting her?

Dru Anderson isn't your normal run of the mill sixteen year old. How many sixteen year old's do you know that can dress, load, and fire an AK47? How many know about the Real World where werwulfen, suckers, and zombies exist?

Dru's life has been in turmoil since the death of her grandmother. When her grandmother was alive, she always knew where she was going to be, the little cabin where her grandmother raised her since her mother's death. Her grandmother had a little of the 'touch', but Dru has a lot. Dru could see things, knew things, things that nobody else would ever want to know. Not her grandmother and definitely not her dad. As she sat holding her grandmother's hand as she slipped from this world to the next, Dru wondered what was going to happen with her life. When her dad picked her up at the hospital, she knew things would be different.

Since Dru's mother had died, her dad was a different person, always on the run, searching for something that either he couldn't or wouldn't share with her. Now, instead of staying with her grandmother, Dru went with her father. The good part of this was that Dru saw more of her father, the bad part was that they moved from one place to the next within a few weeks to months. But her dad also taught her stuff, like how to defend herself, how to load weapons, how to use a knife, and how not to get dead. Dad had left the Marines when her mother died, and now his life was very different.

Dru always knew when something bad was going to happen, her grandmother's owl always paid a visit before the unspeakable happened. Today, as Dru drifted through sleep, she thought she saw the owl at her bedroom window, tapping and watching her. Maybe it was just a dream, sometimes the dreams seemed so real. As she made her way to the kitchen, her dad was sitting at the table, loading magazines. Was he hunting today, maybe she should go with him. But if she started again, she'd get The Talk. The talk about how she should be in school, how she couldn't go with him everywhere. She knew he could take care of himself, but maybe she should tell him about the owl she thought she'd seen.

As Dru left for school, she worried, she had an uneasy feeling, nothing she could put her finger on, but something was off, different. Maybe it was this town or the frigid arctic temperatures. She didn't know, she just didn't feel right. Now she had to deal with a new school with new kids. At least the Asian looking kid, Graves, was there to take some of the heating from the wicked Bletch, teacher unextraordinaire. And today was going to be one of those days...she couldn't stand it, she was so jumpy, she should have told Dad about the owl....She cutting and look who's following, Graves.

Graves takes her to the mall, lunch and games. But as Dru heads home, the unease feeling returns, stronger than ever. When she returns home, she decides it's time to start unpacking if only to keep her hands busy...when she hears a scratching at the door, a tap-tap-tap. Dru grabs Dad's field knife and creeps towards the back door, nobody should be there, no one knows where they are. Tap-tap-tap as Dru peeks around the corner... Ohmigod,ohmigod,ohmigod ...she knows that army surplus coat, those winter blue eyes...as the zombie leans further in...spying Dru at the same time...Something has turned Dad into a zombie....Zombie Dad bursts through the door, chasing Dru into the living room as Dru screams, kicking wildly, begging it not to be...please.. please don't be Dad, please..please..As the zombie lungs and falls on top of Dru, she does the only thing she can..as she falls, she grabs the stash pistol and shoots. She just killed the zombie that was her dad. Now, Dru is alone in the world, no one between her and what's out there in the Real World. She's all alone, no mother, father, or grandmother...What's going to happen to her now? How will she survive? And most importantly, Who killed her dad and changed him into a zombie? She knows she should call the safe numbers from her dad's address book, but who can she trust? How does she say, Hey it's Dru and my dad's a dead zombie?

As Dru begins to realize that there's more going on around her than even she was lead to believe, Christophe comes into her life to help fight off a particularly blood thirsty pack of werwulfen, controlled and dominated by Serjei. Is this Serjei the evil that she feels? Did he turn her dad into a zombie?

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow is another new author for me, but this will not be her last book I read. This is a YA novel with a twist. Yes, it's urban fantasy, but there's a horror quality that I tried to capture that was great. It was terrifyingly real emotions that Lili St. Crow was able to capture in her written words. I could almost feel Dru try to scramble backward, not believe what her eyes were seeing. It wasn't an incredibly scary book, but the events in Dru's life were horrific. From losing her grandmother to her zombiefied father, the story rocked and rolled from one dangerous creature to the next. From the opening page, you knew this story was going to be different and to the last page when you wondered if Dru was trusting the right people. Dru is a tragic heroine in that life just isn't fair to her. She's ripped from one environment to another, chasing after her father from one end of the United States to the other. She never has a true guiding light in her life. Her one saving grace is her grandmother's owl, not an owl her grandmother possessed, but one that possesses the spirit of her grandmother. Graves is her hero, saving her time and time again from the nasties he's just learned about. He's been bitten by a werwulfen, but doesn't make the complete change because he's still a virgin. He becomes a hybrid that's almost as valuable to the creatures of the Real World as Dru is with her 'touch'. There's a secondary hero is this book, Christophe, a hybrid vampire known as a djamphir, vampire hunter. She doesn't know if she should trust him or kill him, but he's too cute to kill and he's saved her butt a couple of times. Christophe holds the secrets that may keep Dru alive, but at what cost will the secrets come. He wants her to believe that her mother was some sort of hybrid sucker, just as Dru is herself. Mom had the ability to see things in the Real World and was a hunter who got rusty with the birth of her family, and it cost Dru's mother her life. Will it cost Dru's as well? As Dru begins this new part of her life, we get to come along, just to see if she's going to make it out alive. This was a fast, fun read and I enjoyed it a great deal. I loved the story line, the way the story was told, and die hard nature of the characters. The cover art is fantastic. I was left at the end of this book hoping to find more and anticipating the release in the Betrayals of the second book in the series. From SciFiGuy's site: 'Lilith Saintcrow announced on her blog that Betrayals, the follow-up to her young adult novel Strange Angels is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It has a November release date.' My ARC shows the release to be Spring 2010, my wait won't be so long after all! For more information about Lili St. Crow's books, please visit her website. Soon, there is supposed to be a dedicated site to Strangle Angels at http://www.strangeangels.com/.

Here a peek at the wild book trailer for the story that is Strange Angels.



Lili St. Crow talks about Strange Angels.

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