I love Barnes’ other series about werewolves, and I have already reviewed both of them on my blog. I was so excited to get this net galley, courtesy of Egmont USA. It just came out (December 27, 2011), and it was the perfect book to take along on my little New Years vacation.
It’s about Kali, a 16-year old girl who’s actually only a human girl every other day. The other days, she becomes a supernatural hunter. She has little control in her need these days to go after zombies, ice dragons, basilisks, and all other types of supernatural creatures. Because of people like her father who promote the study of the supernatural, going after these creatures is actually illegal; they’re on an endangered species list of sorts. Kali is constantly aware of time, and how much of it she gets as a human and how much she gets as a huntress. At first, it seems like she likes being human best, but once readers get to know Kali, it is learned that she much prefers the strength, agility, and healing abilities of her huntress self.
And the story really starts when Kali notices a tattoo on a girl at school that symbolizes a supernatural creature taking over her body. And before Kali can think too much about it, she persuades the creature to leave the girl’s body and enter hers. Her blood, even as a human, draws the attention of all these creatures. All Kali has to do is survive till the next day when she can kill it. The girl is also kind of invincible. Nothing seems to kill her. Fatal zombie bites barely wind her. And she survives broken necks, terrible car “accidents,” chunks of her body being ripped apart, and all sorts of terrible wounds, with barely any pain.
Too bad for Kali, the girl (Bethany) who used to have the tattoo, (that symbolized her near demise), won’t let Kali out of her sights. And along with Kali’s other friend, Skylar (who happens to be a little bit of a physic), the three embark on a very violent journey of discovery. They learn about what the company Kali and Bethany’s fathers work for, really does. They learn about sick experiments with children, what parents are willing to risk to save their children, they learn about Kali’s family history, they learn about vampires, and they learn about friendship.
Eventually, the creature inside Kali that doesn’t go away the next day connects her to someone else like her, Lev, a guy imprisoned in the company. And from him, she learns she doesn’t want to get rid of the creature inside her. The creature makes her stronger, faster, and more capable of healing. All she has to do is feed it every now and then…feed it blood. And the book ends with the ultimate rescue mission. The girls infiltrate the company, fight against all the odds (aka: lot of beasties), and work hard for what they believe in.
I loved Kali. At first I thought I would hate her because the beginning made it sound like she would whine about all her transitions between girl and hunter. But, I was wrong. The fact that she liked being what she was made the whole thing so much better! She also had this constant sarcastic voice in her head that made all of the normal, painful conversations with her father and those around her, so much more fun! She’s strong, sarcastic, brave, and such a fantastic YA main character!
I liked her friends too. Though, Skylar’s many brothers who all conveniently had methods to aid the girls throughout the book kind of reminded me of the seven dwarves, and not in a good way. I feel like they were a little too convenient. Though, I did love the number four brother jokes. I also felt like the dad was a little too unbelievable in his fatherly duties. I get that he’s different, and felt some serious guilt for things, but how could he not notice all the blood, all the changes in Kali, and all the late nights for four whole years?
The world Barnes writes though is fantastic. I like how all this supernatural stuff is rooted in Darwin. And that everyone sees these terrible things all the time (and on the news), but no one believes that Skylar is psychic. The book is layered in fight scenes, blood, action, rescue missions, fast paced dialogue, mystery, and then more action. There was not a lot of romance, but I’m okay with that. There was something hinted at with Lev, but I like that the book, unlike most other YA books in this genre, allowed the story and action to be the main focus as compared to some soul mate, unstoppable, forbidden, love. And I really loved the every other day shifts. I’ve never read anything that dealt with shifts like this, and it really made the story so unique!
I give this one an 9/10. And I look forward to anything else this writer has to say.