Published 2007 495 pages
Kayla Steele is just an ordinary average young woman, working a dead-end job on the perfume counter of a large department store in LA. Her boyfriend Karrel Dante has dropped some unsubtle hints that he is going to propose to her on their next date and Kayla couldn’t be happier as she gets ready for that date.
Karrel never shows up for their date and believing herself to have been stood up, Kayla goes out clubbing without him. This proves to be a bad idea when leaving the club she sees somebody attacked by a werewolf.
Wondering how she is going to explain this to the police without appearing completely mad soon turns out to be the least of her problems. The police contact her - but not about the attack she witnessed - they contact her to tell her that Karrel is dead. Killed in what appears to be a wild animal attack.
The werewolves don’t stop coming after Kayla and yet she doesn’t know why they would want her dead, she never even knew of their existence until she had a pack of werewolf assassins on her tail. To add to Kayla’s confusion Karrel returns to her as a ghost and tells her that he has given her his strength and that she must avenge his death.
She is rescued by a crack team of Werewolf hunters and finds out that Karrel was a Hunter too before he was killed. All this is a lot to take in at once but with a genetically mutated vampiress and half the werewolves in LA looking to see her dead before the night is out, she needs to wise up fast if she hopes to live until the morning….
Dante’s Girl is the first original novel by Natasha Rhodes who has written several film novelisations (including Blade: Trinity.) Dante’s Girl breathes some new life into the urban fantasy werewolf/vampire genre, with vivid characters and deliciously evil villains.
All the werewolves are vicious beasts whether they are in human or werewolf form with the exception of Mutt, a werewolf who appears to protect and help Kayla, but in Dante’s Girl appearances can be deceptive and both the reader and Kayla are never really sure of Mutt’s motives and if he can be trusted. This makes him something of a mystery and gives his character more depth than the other werewolves which perhaps seem to be a little one dimensional in their evilness.
Cyan X, the evil vampiress in charge of the werewolves that are hunting Kayla is a well written character who is saved from being just another evil villain by her emotional vulnerability, in fact you almost feel sorry for her at times (although this would probably be the last thing you felt before she ate your face off!) Cyan X is a genetically mutated vampire, with bone swords and spines that shoot out of her skin, so she is a prickly character in more ways than one.
Kayla and the Hunters have a large stock of quips, comebacks and snappy one liners that they are not afraid to use in any situation, even if that situation is being hopelessly outnumbered by vampires and werewolves who all seem to want them dead. This is reminiscent of Buffy at her best and keeps a level of humour running through out the book.
The plot line of Dante’s Girl twists and turns, with evil plans, double crosses and plenty of back stabbing between the Hunters, the vampires and the werewolves. Leading up to an exciting and explosive conclusion that manages to finish this story nicely but leave the way open for a sequel at the same time.
All in all this makes Dante’s girl a fast paced, exciting and enjoyable read. Recommended reading!
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