Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Hellforged by Nancy Holzner

Hellforged (Deadtown, Book 2)
by Nancy Holzner
Release Date: December 28, 2010
2010 Ace Books
Trade Paperback Edition; 340 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-441-01980-9
Genre: Fiction / Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

4 / 5 Stars

After Vicky banished her demon nemesis to the fiery depths of Hell, she thought life would return to normal.  But considering she has a werewolf lawyer boyfriend, a zombie apprentice who's angling to become a pop star, and an eccentric vampire roommate, what is normal anyway?

Then the supposedly banished Hellion starts to trespass in Vicky's dreams - just as several of Deadtown's zombies are viciously attacked and become really dead.  When Vicky realizes she's the only connection between the realms, she suspects that the demon is somehow working through her dreams to become Deadtown's living nightmare.

My Thoughts
When I first started reading this novel, I was afraid that I would find it difficult reading as I had not read Deadtown, the first novel in this series.  Like all sequels, there is always the chance that starting with the second book is never a good thing as you would have no idea what is going on, or who the characters are, or some of the background.  Luckily, this was not the case with this novel, and while I didn't feel like I needed to read Deadtown in order to understand the events in Hellforged, I enjoyed Hellforged so much that I want to read the first book just to get a deeper undertanding of this new world in which I find myself embroiled.

Apparently having saved the world from the evil demon Difethwr, Vicky has resumed her normal job as a professional demon-hunter, hunting them in both the living world and in the world of dreams.  To her utter amazement, Difethwr appears to her in a dream-state, uttering a prophecy about the end of the world.  Scared, unsure, and unable to sleep without someone getting hurt, in particular her zombie friends with which she has contact, Vicky seeks out the one person who can help her, Aunt Mab, an exceptionally strong demon-hunter living in Wales, and her own personal trainer. 

There were some really enjoyable elements in this novel.  First of all, I loved the characters and their zany quirks and personality traits.  Deadtown is a really imaginative place where people with paranormal abilities must live; they also have limited rights in some states and almost no rights in others.  I was trying to imagine what this would be like for people who can't help the way they were born and really struggled with this concept.  The political flare-ups and the discrimination seemed very realistic as many people who believe in monsters don't necessarily want them showing up on their front doorsteps or in their faces.  It's okay to believe in something, but put that something in front of you and it's a whole different thing. 

Vicky is a kick-ass heroine, but I also loved her vulnerability and her flaws as it made her very someone with whom I could connect on a lot of levels.  I liked her character development and how she grows throughout the novel, become more connected with herself as the story develops.  Aunt Mab was perhaps my favourite character thus far.  Anyone who has secrets such as she has is bound to be interesting, and we are given only a few hints and teases here and there as to her story; I really wanted to know more about her and I seriously hope we see more of her in forthcoming novels.  And Kane?  What can I say?  I love werewolves!!  I hope he sticks around as well.  And I say that with trepidation as I was seriously beginning to wonder if some major characters were going to be killed by the end of the novel.  This simply adds to the suspense of the events.

Hellforged was full of suspense, drama, romance, and action; it was pretty much the complete package for me.  There are secrets waiting to be discovered and characters waiting to be flushed out and developed.  The only limitation I found is that it was your typical urban fantasy fare, fun, interesting, zany, and quirky, but for those who are not drawn to this type of genre, I don't really think Hellforged is the type of novel that will make you a fan of this genre.  For those who already love this genre, this novel will certainly be an asset to your collection.  I am looking forward to book 3, Bloodstone, when it is released in September.


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