Thursday, September 27, 2007

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

I've always been partial to vampires. Sleeping during the day, coming out at night, biting unsuspecting humans and sucking their blood, having all sorts of powerful abilities...what's not to like about them? I wished I was a vampire more than a couple of times when I was a teenager, and any true vampire fan will have wished the same at least once in his or her life. But unless I meet a vampire who's willing to turn me into one, the only way I can fulfill my vampire wish is to read about them.

Jennifer Rardin's Once Bitten, Twice Shy has definitely given me a delicious taste of vampirism. It's fun, hilarious, exciting, and scary all at once. While the protagonist, Jaz Parks, isn't exactly a vampire, she's a foul-mouthed, wise-cracking, ass-kicking lady who kills bad guys. Besides, she hangs with a vampire: Vayl, a gorgeous, powerful, 300-year-old vampire assassin from Romania. That's almost as good as being a vampire.

Vayl's her boss...well, sort of. She's his bodyguard. Or, at least that's how it starts out. Amidst all the action and ass-kicking, there's a love story that unfolds beautifully. Jaz and Vayl find time to fall in love with each other while saving the world from a lethal virus and a soul-feeding Kyron known as Tor-al-Degan. The Tor-al-Degan is one scary demon who can destroy the world at the bidding of the Deganites. She (yes, it's a she) had been bound years ago, but the Deganites plan to bring her back, and Jaz and Vayl have to do everything they can to foil the Deganites' plan.
Rardin has done a wonderful job with Once Bitten, Twice Shy. Jaz Parks is a delightful character with a strong spirit, and the more I got to know her, the more I liked and admired her. Vayl is simply so delicious that I just wanted to sink my fangs into him, and the rest of the cast are so colourful and full of life that I wished I could meet them all for real.

What I liked most, though, is Rardin's humor. The narrative and conversations are filled with irony, sarcasm, and wit, and sometimes the things Jaz says and thinks to herself sound a lot like what I might think or say to myself. I laughed out loud at so many of the passages, and cringed more than once when the characters had to face the terrible Tor-al-Degan.

Rardin is a terrific writer, and I look forward to the second and third book in the Jaz Parks series. Another One Bites the Dust will be coming out this December, and Biting the Bullet will be out in February next year. More adventures with Jaz Parks? Count me in!


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