Book Review: Tainted, by Julie Kenner (Book One of the Blood Lily Chronicles)

October 29, 2009 Books, Reviews 1

TaintedTainted: Book One of the Blood Lily Chronicles by Julie Kenner.

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Description: Lily Carlyle has lied, cheated, and stolen her way through life.

But in death, she’ll really get to be bad…

When her little sister is brutalized, a vengeful Lily determines to exact her own justice. She succeeds at the cost of her own life, but as she lies dying, she is given a second chance. Lily can earn her way into Paradise by becoming an assassin for the forces of good.

It’s the job Lily believes she can really get into — but she doesn’t realize that she may not be able to get out.

The Bibliomaniac’s’s Review: fullstarfullstarfullstarfullstarhalfstar

Julie Kenner’s newest book strikes a wonderful balance between urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  A casual, catchy first-person point of view peppered with slightly more four-letter-words than the genre usually bears, mingled with a kick-ass heroine and a dangerous, smoking-hot hero makes for an excellent read.

The protagonist, luckless Lily Carlyle, sets out to avenge her younger sister’s rape by killing her sister’s attacker.  The scumbag dies, but he doesn’t die easy.  Lily goes down fighting, and wakes up from her own murder in another woman’s body.  The action starts the moment she opens her eyes and realizes she’s about to die all over again — only this time, at the hands of a disgusting demon instead of the rapist.  She slaughters the demon and gets away, only to meet up with Clarence, who tells her that she’s been chosen to close the Ninth Gate of Hell and prevent the Apocalypse.

If Lily — now calling herself Alice Purdue — finds it hard to listen to Clarence, it’s only because he looks like a cross between frog and man.  Eventually, her new mentor’s words sink in, and she takes to her new job: assassin of demons.  Learning how to kill demons isn’t much fun, but things take a turn for the better when she meets Deacon Camphire, the darkly-gorgeous bad boy who seems to be as good at killing demons as she is.

Too bad she doesn’t know which side he’s on: hers…or theirs.

Throw in Zane, who’s teaching her how to fight, and who’s as delicious as Deacon is, and Lily’s sister Rose — who may not be as safe as Lily originally thought — and you have a book that pulls you along effortlessly with every page turned.  The plot twist and cliffhanger ending were frustrating only because I really didn’t want to wait for even a month to find out what happened next.  (The second book in the series, Torn, is due for release in December 2009.)  Wholly recommended.

This review is based on a free review copy received from the publisher/author.