Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
(Sabina Kane, #1)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
In Six Words: Fantastic UF, and great series potential.
1. Red-Headed Stepchild
2. The Mage in Black
3. Green-Eyed Demon
4. Silver-Tongued Devil
5. Blue-Blooded Vamp
In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina Kane has the only profession fit for an outcast: assassin. But, her latest mission threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races and Sabina must scramble to figure out which side she’s on. She’s never brought her work home with her—until now.
This time, it’s personal.
Why I Started Reading This Book and Final Verdict
I was in serious need of a good urban fantasy, so I chose Red-Headed Stepchild. I was not disappointed. Sabina Kane and her world were exactly what I needed to appease my reading mood. To be honest, I’m not really sure where I first heard about this series. It’s floated around the blogosphere before, and I guess I finally just gave in to the “pressure.” But I’m glad I did, because Red-Headed Stepchild is darn good urban fantasy.
I think what initially sold me on this book was the connection between vampires and red hair. It’s not that I have a thing for red hair (unless you count my decade long love affair with getting my hair colored in varying shades of violet-red and orange-red, in which case I suppose I do have THING, but, really, my hair usually looks brown-ish unless you’re in the sunlight, so I’m not counting it, and this is probably WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION but there you go). It was that the concept was so unique that I knew I was going to have a fascinating world placed before me. And indeed, it was.
My only complaint with this world, though, was the mancy/mage terms and how they were used interchangeably. I didn’t quite understand the connection, especially since mancy just made me think of necromancy, though there was never any mention of this. Anyway. While I don’t think we got the whole picture of Sabina’s world, by the end of the Red-Headed Stepchild, it’s pretty clear that the series will only continue to expand on what we already know. After all, despite her assassin title, Sabina is actually quite sheltered in her world. We’re only privy to what she knows. This, I think, works well for the set up of this first book.
Sabina makes for a very good urban fantasy MC. She’s not overly unique or breaking new grounds, but she’s fun and she has attitude. The whole, “I’m all alone and I don’t need people, but then I meet all these people, and maybe I do like these people and need them after all” line? Yes. That’s Sabina. But it’s good, and it works. And Sabina’s supporting cast are no slouches, either. Sabina’s demon/minion/cat Giguhl was utterly delightful. I want more of him. The romance is minimal–very minimal, actually–but there is a definite love interest. (And yes, he’s worth it.)
The end of the story leaves us with a lot of uncertainty about what is in store for Sabina and her paranormal world. But Red-Headed Stepchild holds potential for a great series, and though it is obvious we don’t have all the answers or facts, there was enough to put the second book on my wishlist (and then purchase it a couple days later).