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Wicked Game Paperback – May 13, 2008
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Newbie marketing intern Ciara Griffin lands a job at WMMP, a station threatened with being sold to Skyware, a giant communications conglomerate, unless ad revenue picks up. A former con artist with a canny way with people, Ciara soon learns that the DJs are undead and specialists in the musical eras in which they were turned into vampires. One of them, Shane McAllister (turned in 1995), is really hot and dangerously tempting. In order to attract more listeners, Ciara promotes a new marketing strategy and the Sherwood, Md., station becomes 94.3 WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock and Roll, exploiting the fang factor (which no listener takes seriously) for profit. It works, until an ancient vampire cult wants to pull the plug. Also playing in is The Control, an equally ancient paramilitary group created to protect good vampires and kill bad ones. Smith-Ready's musical references are spot on, as is her take on corporate radio's creeping airwave hegemony. Add in the irrepressible Ciara, who grew up in a family of grifters, and the results rock. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As far as romance is concerned, it’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die. The last maybe literally when onetime con artist Ciara meets sexy Shane. His eyes meet hers, she gets him into bed, he does as expected, then sinks fangs into her thigh, necessitating multiple stitches. Ooops! NOT an auspicious first date! So goes this sometimes scary, sometimes fang-in-cheek romp that establishes Smith-Ready as a standout vampire-romancer, adept at creating an entire team of vampire DJs, each a specialist in the music of their former lifetimes and whose undead lives are jeopardized by a threatened mainstream buyout of their radio station. Marketing intern Ciara launches an all-out, vamp-in-your-face campaign that outs the team and multiplies listenership by a factor of 10. A delightful read, part vamp romance, part ironic look at advertising’s powers of manipulation, part wry commentary on the takeover-ridden financial scene, and all entertainment. --Whitney Scott
Top customer reviews
Ciara, pronounced keer-ah, is our leading lady and she is not your normal damsel in distress. Ciara has a pretty dark past and by dark I mean criminal. Ciara was/is a con-artist. She has survived most of her life by tricking people out of their money. Her parents disappeared from her life during her teens and in order to make it through college she used her criminal know-how. However, when she gets a job at WMMP (or the soon to be WVMP) things begin to change for her. Here she can use her con-artist ways for a good purpose. She also begins to see through her many layers with the help from an aforementioned sexy vampire.
Move over Eric Northman, because Shane McAllister has taken your place in my heart. I don’t really know how to put Shane in words except for maybe swoon or sigh or OH-EMM-GEE-I-HEART-YOU. In all seriousness, Shane is a great character. He is sweet, sexy, protective, strong, intelligent, charming, but somehow innocent as well. Not innocent in that sense, but innocent when it comes to this time period. Sometimes he seems to get lost in this time period and his quirks to make up for that are quite endearing. I truly loved the scene where he alphabetized Ciara’s CD collection. He is the kind of character that makes you wish vampires exist.
Wicked Game’s story line will keep you on edge and addicted. There is action, romance, mystery, and a little bit of girl drama thrown in there. I found myself turning page after page and simply trying to guess who is behind all the trouble and to see if Ciara would stop being stupid when it comes to Shane. Both aspects of the novel were equally addictive and one did not overshadow the other. I cared as much about the plot itself as I did about the relationship. I will admit that sometimes I am more invested in the relationship than what is actually going on in the book, but that did not happen here.
While the vampire thing has been done before, it has never been done quite like this. These lovable vampires (yes lovable, I have a soft spot for vampires) are DJs at a radio station, where each DJ focuses on the music from his/her time period. In order to boost ad sales for the radio station, Ciara employs a “gimmick” where the DJs are actually vampires. Basically she lies with the truth. (Side note: this totally made me think of the fourth Pirates movie.) Also, Jeri gives these vampires her own twist. They still cannot handle sunlight and stakes are the weapon of choice; however in her world vampires are not as immortal as most other vampires. When a vampire is turned they get stuck in that time period and keeping up with the changing time is impossible. As time starts to move along, the vampires begin to fade. So see, this immortality is not like other vampire tales. I found this take refreshing and a great break from the “vampire norm.”
All in all, Wicked Game is something I recommend you pick up yesterday. There is a reason vampire books have been around for so long, and that is because of books like this! Vampires are not going anywhere as long as authors keep finding ways to put their own spin on things, as Jeri did here. Wicked Game is the perfect read for paranormal fans.
WVMP Radio is a series for anyone who thinks that vampires have been over done. The author has taken the WVMP vampires and made them her own. Yes, they drink blood and no they can't survive in the sun but there is so much more to the vampires that Jeri Smith-Ready has created than the typical cliche. I loved her twist on her vamps.
The humans in Wicked Game are great too, especially Ciara. I love that she doesn't automatically swoon. She approaches the vamps with a very realistic attitude. As much as I love reading about vampires and other supernatural beings, I'm not so sure I'd love meeting them. That's where Ciara was. She was actually kind of put off by them all at first. Her attitude toward them made it seem more `real' in a way. She was smart, strong witty and very logical in her thinking despite her background and the circumstances. I loved watching her come around and realize that she needed them as much as they needed her.
I also loved Shane. He was sweet and realistic about his existence but he was also broken in a very big way. Watching him come around, even when he didn't realize it was great.
Wicked Game was full of action, surprises and a healthy dose of romance. The fresh take on vampires made it a really fun read and the wit, sarcasm and depth of the characters kept the pages turning. I think I'm going to enjoy my time with WVMP Radio.
I was attracted to this series because of the interesting premise and it worked for me. In this world, vampires fade if they lose touch with the time frame when they were alive. At this radio station, they've figured out a way around that. The vampires run the night shifts and they each play the music from when they were alive, but now that is being threatened because the owner of the station needs it to make some more money or she's going to have to sell it. And that's where Ciara comes in...marketing (ie. con artist) guru.
Shane is the youngest vampire at the station, but he died during the 1990's so he still has a disconnect with modern times. He and Ciara have a connection, but after their initial run-in, she doesn't quite trust him, even though she really wants to keep him safe while simultaneously easing him into the modern world.
While she may be a con artist at heart who normally takes advantage of people, Ciara is trying to be better. And she quickly develops feelings for the vampires....all of them. She wants to help and protect them and is doing everything she can to keep the station safe, even if that means she has to commercialize their "vampireness".
There is most definitely a growth arc for Ciara's character in this book. Her entire life she's been taught to take care of only herself and she's taken that to heart, at the detriment of every other relationship she's ever been in. With these people, she's trying to be better and that leads to her developing bonds with them she's never had with others before.
Shane also had a growth arc. He's very laidback and has never viewed his vampire life proactively. When Ciara comes into his life, she begins to help him see other possibilities...and she does this with all the vampires. Suddenly he's seeing more reasons to truly live the life he has, even if he's not human.
It was a fun book. Like I said, very creative premise. It's a four book series and I'm looking forward to seeing where the entire crew goes from here. There were some major changes in attitudes toward the end of this book and it should be interesting to see how that plays out....