Ryann is training to be a Venatores Daemonum ~ Demon Hunter. Taking her final exam Christian, Ryann's lovely mentor, and Grace, Christian's girlfriend which is forbidden in the church, think she should pass and give high recommendations. Ryann is Christian's star pupil and Ryann feels he is a close friend. Father Matthew points out all her flaws, showing she doesn't follow the rules and goes on her own. Passing Ryann on Christian's recommendation, their best Hunter, Ryann passes and starts on her first case....one that could change her views and life forever. Grace was murdered by her assignment and now Ryann and five others go after this cold blooded Vampire assassin, one known for killing several people about 5 years back in a big battle and even friends for money. Who is it? I think you can guess. ;)
I have to say Skyla has a way with character growth! Skyla is talented at setting up characters to be ones readers may not like then bring them to a point where you worry about them, even cheer for them. Surprisingly like them. Can I say that is a sign of great writing? Ha, I think I did. We start off with Ryann just graduating from school. She's new and young. She has strong beliefs that things are white and black. Ryann has spunk too. She talked back to the Father about her test, though kindly, and stands up to a bully. But he has her strong opinions of Demons and anything of "powers" (lets mention psychic as an example) as it comes from evil. I have to admit Ryann struck me as a perfect christian girl and I didn't know why, but I didn't much care for her in the beginning. She was perfect, written as she should be to make me feel the way I did just so she could grow and come to be a character I really enjoy. Ryann learns first hand there are many things NOT taught in school, and she adjusts easily. She is one to NEVER give up or complain. She just keeps getting up every day going on doing whats right, even if she has to accommodate and change to get there. And change is just what she does. Ryann grows by leaps and bounds in this book, and starts to see there is gray in the world. And somewhere in here I started liking her, and even by the end worrying for her.
Skyla also has an amazing talent for story lines. The book starts off seeming so easy, but by the end there is so much there you just didn't see it all until you where done. And Malice, the short story at the end, multiplies the feeling 10 times. The story seems to start off slower as we build on the new characters and how they come to their beliefs or changes in the end. But this book comes full circle and this information is needed to see the big picture. This beginning is needed to instill some gray thoughts to Ryann and drop hints for later in the book. This is what I enjoy in books! To get you thinking about all that you read, even back from the beginning to piece it all together for so much more meaning. (another sign of great writing? I think so.)
Okay so to some of the characters. We get a whole new cast here. The Hunters Ryann knows in school and on her mission. Christian sounds like a nice character, and would like to see more of in the future. Even Abigail who only appears briefly. Now Ellie... Loved this character! I loved meeting him too. ha ha! When we first met Ellie he and Ryann started on the wrong foot and he was a little annoying, but I loved his comments and jokes. He just ended up stealing my heart in this book. But boy he can really get under Ryann's skin but they make a great team, they just don't know that yet. Our Zara Lain... She does make an appearance in this book. But we see her from Ryann's view point of the church and Demon Hunter. Which I think is a great way to show the opposite side regarding Zara, what others think of her from the view they see.
This book has a different feel than Bloodlines. One I think the readers should follow through with. You will learn so much more about where the series is going. So much more added to the pot here!
I'm going to make a HUGE suggestion here. If you are reading this series on ebook, GET it at Mundania Press. Here's the reason, the short stories are in the books but the ONLY Ebooks to have the short story are at Mundania Press. AND YOU WILL WANT TO READ THIS.
Malice is the short story in which Skyla gets the brain turning. This is what I love about her stories. This is what I look for. Malice helps tie in a few pieces from Bloodlines and Hunter to give a growing thread of connection and future threat.
This short story is after Hunter and in Zara's view. Which I might add sheds a whole new light on a few things. Yeah, you have to read this one if you are enjoying the series.
Zara has a quick fight scene with a half-demon, reason becomes clear here. Zara is keeping a close eye, er ear, on Father Matthew and a Hunter spy on her side. What till you see who. ;) Possibly their is something...special... with Ryann and Zara is watching for that as well. We also learn of the importance of Nicolette to Zara.