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The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 27, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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“...Read at your own risk —it’ll keep you up past your bedtime.” (Charlaine Harris)
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Top Customer Reviews
The story isn't exactly fresh and original. If you've read urban fantasy you have seen the underlying themes explored in this book dozens of times. But the execution of the book, the writing and storytelling are well-done and engaging. If not exactly a new take on urban fantasy as a genre, it's at least an excellent example of it. You have your standard kick-ass heroine with super-powers, big baddies who are her nemeses, a world that exists alongside but hidden from the real world, and lots of angst. I really enjoyed the book and felt engaged enough to pay to read the continuing series, and I feel that is a glowing recommendation in itself.
The world-building didn't work terribly well for me. The story is told first-person from the heroine's point of view, and since she is thrust all unaware into the world of the Zodiac the reader is as well. Joanna has no idea what is going on half the time and information is doled out to her (and the reader) in dribs and drabs. I can't think of a good way for the author to avoid this other than an info-dump due to the constraints of the narration being from Joanna's point of view. Perhaps it is intentional, a way to build suspense and keep the reader guessing along with Joanna as to exactly what's up with the Zodiac and how it works.
The dialog felt natural and the characterizations felt real. Though it is an ongoing series, this book has a satisfying ending that doesn't force you to continue reading the series unless, like me, you really enjoyed it and wanted to continue reading about The Archer's adventures.
Kindle formatting was good.
This book is much more than that, much more ambitious. While the ideas are big, if a little on the hackneyed side, the writing is so-so. I've read romances, and am not hostile to them; I've read fantasy, sci-fi, dark fiction, and this was a mix of all but not enough of any. The romance bits felt uncomfortable and stiff, the fantasy felt like a retread, and there were some chick-lit moments that made me wonder why I was still reading.
And that's it. I was still reading, even though I could see the flaws. In spite of what feels like an overwritten first novel, the ideas and characters were intriguing enough that I still wanted to finish. And I did, in one day, sitting in the bath. Even as I huffed and muttered I needed to know what happened next.
Best book ever? No. But a good book for the bath or beach or when you want a relatively easy read with dark undertones. I haven't decided if I'll read the next one yet.
While there are aspects of romance, Joanna faces more heartache than happiness. Pettersson weaves several elements from different genres: urban fantasy, violence, intrigue, superheroes, and myth. Pettersson has created an incredibly fun character in Joanna with many facets and layers to her personality.
This dark and edgy superhero story was a long novel at 464 pages. But I read it amazingly fast, as I literally couldn't put it down. I'm itching to get my hands on the next in the series that, thankfully, comes out in just a little over a month!
By the way, this has the distinction of being the only book that I've ever given up on with only 30 pages to go. I just couldn't make myself care enough to finish.
But look more closely. The back cover has a big, glossy picture of the author: an atractive brunette with a decidedly Linda Carter look. Large pictures of the attractive author on the back are always a warning sign(3). Then read the bio: ten years as a Folies dancer at the Tropicana. Could be good, she probably knows Las Vegas well.
Good and bad. Nice setup. Let's take a look inside....
This book is firmly in that unnamed subgenre where Harrison and Harris live: female POV modern supernatural fantasy/mystery/action with a promise of sexual tension. It's a fun subgenre. Unfortunately, this one falls into the most cop-out of traps in the female POV world, that a woman can only become a strong heroine if she was raped. Of course, she is the one raped because she fights the attacker to save her younger sister. And, of course, she goes from raped to vengeful to trained and effective. It's cheap writing and it cheapens (and demeans) rape victims, implying that they should use assault as a strengthening experience and not feel traumatized. Fortunately, it only shows up in 90% of heroine stories written by men and 89% written by women(4) :-(
The main character is basically ok. Joanna Archer, daughter of mega-wealthy father Xavier (uncommon names like that always indicate villains), whom she despises and who despises her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this a few years ago before I got my Kindle, I absolutely love this series, it's so amazing she really takes you into a different world , I always wish you would write more... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Deanna Meske
I loved this series before I lived in Vegas. It's fun, entertaining, and keeps you reading well past reasonable hours. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robert W. Gustafson
Very good, once started I could not stop until finished. Can hardly wait to get the next in series . Joanna archer is a great characterPublished 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
Interesting and engaging if you like stories about the supernatural.Published 15 months ago by annony
I liked the character in the book but I found the story to be uninteresting. Your basic good vs evil story.Published 22 months ago by TracyM
A friend of mine is completely obsessed with these books and made me read them. First of all, I just hate the main protagonist. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Amazon Customer