Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells {Amanda’s Review}

Posted 12 November, 2012 by Amanda / 32 Comments

Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells {Amanda’s Review}Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #1
Also in this series: The Mage in Black
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Urban
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

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.

Fantastic UF, and great series potential.

My Thoughts on Red-Headed Stepchild

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).



Filed under: ESR: 8, Review: Amanda, Urban Fantasy, ,


32 Responses to “Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells {Amanda’s Review}”

  1. I’ve heard of this series. I’ve got it in my tbr pile but then completely forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me to try it out when I’m all caught up on my other UF series. Curious to meet her demon cat and this potential love interest. :)

  2. I LOVE red hair. I’ve always wanted it. When I was in my teens I dyed my hair fire engine red and it was AWESOME. Now I’m a little too chickenshit to do it again. And I have a job where people see me all the time, so I’ll stick to simpler things, like a blue streak or something.

    This series sounds good! I’m glad you liked it enough to add the next book to your wishlist — that’s ALWAYS a good thing!

  3. Every time I pick up a UF story, I always end up wanting there to be more romance and I have to keep reminding myself that this is UF not paranormal romance, and therefore I need to suck it up and deal:) Glad to know that though the romance in this one is minimal, the love interest makes his page time count!

    • Ha. Yes! I think I have trouble with that sometimes, too. I just want ALL THE ROMANCE! in my books. Now I want to go run and grab the second book to read to see if there is any more love interest development.

  4. Oddly enough, I’ve only read Green-Eyed Demon from this series, early last year. Not sure how that happened, maybe I was drunk and high on my new NetGalley powers.

    Anyhow…I really liked it. Sabina was great. I really need to go back and read the first two.

    Glad you liked it!

    • NetGalley does weird things to you. But, I think if you can jump into the middle of a series and still like it (i.e., it’s not heavy on knowing what happened in previous books), that’s the sign of a good series.

      I should get my butt in gear and pick up the next book!

  5. I agree about the mancy/mage thing. Not sure what the difference is so I kind of ignored it and pretended they were the same. Enjoying this series, especially Sabina.

  6. Ammmaaaaaanda… I… hmmm… I’m not actually sure if I’ve heard of this or not. I think I *may* have? Maybe?


    Ooooh, this sounds GOOD. I’ve been in an epic reading funk of late, and nothing;’s really been hekping, so I kinda think a genre switch-up might be in order… and… I haven’t read any real good straight-up UF in a LONG time and… I love how you’ve kind of said ‘yes, this book has genre tropes aplenty. But it’s good. They’re good. They can be done well.’ I mean… there’s a reason we, as a race, keeping telling the same stories and and and…


    onto the TBR :D

    • YES. Tropes can definitely be done well, and it’s those ones that make you go, “Well, I know this is common trope, but dammit, I don’t care,” or, after finishing, “Oh, hey. There was a trope here, but I didn’t even realize it” are a mark of a good story, I think.

  7. I too have a thing for red hair!!! I have been dying mine for eight years now. :)

    I bought this book a year ago and still haven’t read it, I’m ashamed to admit. But after treading this I am going to have to get to it soon.

  8. Giguhl was awesome!! I definitely want more. Thanks for pointing out that her world will expand as her knowledge increases. I like that the love interest will grow ;)

    This cover rocks.

  9. I got a copy of this in a bundle 3 for $12, so I’m glad that you liked it, great review Amanda. I’ll have to pull it out and track down the others and start reading :)

  10. Is it wrong that I’m now hesitant to start b/c the romance was so little? I like my UF with lots of sexytimes! Bookgoonie had me all pumped up for the series but now I’m not so sure…hmm…

    • Maybe. MAYBE what you should do is have an erotica sitting next to you so you can read sexytimes whenever you want them. Because you DON’T want to miss this one!

      (Actually, I find that it’s generally a good idea to have good erotica sitting around for you. You never know when you might need it.)

  11. Hmm…I have yet to jump on the erotica trend. I know, I know. I’ve bought one or two but they sit unread. (obviously I’m not counting Naomi – i think that one missed the actual intention of being titillating…)

    • Naomi was a bit confused about sex, I think. I wouldn’t count it either.

      There are some good erotica/romance crossovers (the sex scenes read like an erotica but there is a good, full plot, too) out there if you’re a bit hesitant to dive straight in the deep end.

  12. I’ve got BEYOND SHAME on my nook. I’m starting with that because I’m trying my darndest not to purchase any more books till after Christmas! (except all those Christmas romances I’ll want to read in december. obvi. lol)

  13. NaNo has thrown off my commenting this week (month). Hmmph.

    I liked this one. It was fun, Sabina has a neat name, the world was funky cool. I still can’t read “mancy” without stumbling over it, though. I even typed “nancy” the first time here. Huh.

    Glad you liked it, beebs!

  14. I just saw you started this!! I’m stoked you liked it! It sounds like another Hollows-type UF (well, except Rachel wanted friends) and I really need to get back into reading these type of UF/kick-butt heroine books. I heard great things about this series, too. I’m hopefully right behind you (yeah, yeah… best laid plans and all :)

    Have a great Thanksgiving-prep week and if I don’t get back to say it, Happy Thanksgiving weekend!!!

  15. “I think what initially sold me on this book was the connection between vampires and red hair.” SOLD. Updating my red this weekend, maybe I need to read this to go along with it :)

    I haven’t read a UF in a while. I have this in hard copy… somewhere…