Sorry to disagree with all of the other reviews but . . . I HATED this book. The beginning was really good but I could hardly finish it - I just didn't care about the characters by the end. The whole Zodiac fighter thing felt a little cliched and the plot was just too drawn out. I don't think I could force myself to buy the next one. However, to be fair, I think that Pettersson is a promising writer with great style and an excellent mastery of the written word - she could just use better editors.
Extremely promising paranormal series! Strong characters, well developed mythos, solid plotting - a terrific debut. There was substantial world arc development while managing a complete and satisfying storyline - no sense of "the rest" coming in future entries, but enough possibilities to make the universe compelling. Even the most startling twists and turns were foreshadowed well enough to be plausible.
The Scent of Shadows is a book I'd classify as dark urban fantasy. It's set in Las Vegas, there are monsters and heroes and superpowers in it and there are a lot of horrifying and violent elements to it as well. I think the series I'd compare it to in the darkness scale is maybe Lilith Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series. This book wrung me out, but I did find the ending somewhat satisfying and I am looking forward to book 2, The Taste of Night. This book was also long - 455 pages, which I'm not sure everyone will like. It did feel long to me when I was less than a hundred pages in and was still wondering what was going on. It got faster about 100-150 pages in. The world building was slow at the beginning and then revelations came in doses as Joanna seemed to be kept in the dark about many things until she absolutely had to know. The explanation of the Zodiac is something that will probably continue on to the next book.
Leah (VeganFreak) reviewed The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 11
A fresh and interesting paranormal story with a comic book-type twist to the characters and world. It is very imaginative and different than the other paranormal stories that I've read.
It is set in an alternate Las Vegas where a battle between good and evil is happening, but the regular citizens don't know about it. The lines between good and evil -light VS shadow- are very clearly drawn until our protagonist, a tough and damaged young woman, is brought onto the scene. She is part light and shadow and is believed to be the person who has been prophisized to come along and tip the balance and change things forever for whichever side she ultimately chooses to be on.
It is the first book in a series that will be at least a trilogy. I thought that it was a nice change from the vamps, witches and werewolves that are dominating the paranormal market these days.
Pettersson delivers one of the best paranormal stories I've read this year. Joanna Archer has been through hell. At 16, she was attacked, raped and left for dead in the desert. Years later the physical wounds have healed, but mentally she is still fighting her attacker. That fighting attitude will be the only thing that gets her past her 25th birthday.
The suspense, action and surprises continue until the very last page. I'm not sure if there is to be a sequel, but if there is I'll be standing in line the day it comes out.
The first of the series; this one's a keeper. While the overall tone of the book was dark, there were bits of humor sprinkled in appropriate places. The main character, Joanna, is what my grandmother would call "a real pill"; full of cynical, sarcastic, get-out-of-my-way at-i-TUDE.
There are touching moments, there are kick-butt moments and there are "eeewww" moments. This one was hard to put down. When I finally did finish it, I went straight to the computer to find out how to get the next one in the series.
Great new series. Joanna is the new "Archer" in the battle of Light vs. Shadow. She is more powerful than she knows. Great story which introduces us to Joanna and her family and her lost love as well as the people who will help her learn her potential. This is set in Las Vegas which is perfect for good vs. evil. Looking forward to the next in the series.
Let me be clear about this. I enjoyed this book. I looked forward to the second book. I am looking forward to the rest of the books.
However this book is not a keeper. I am a fan of the urban fantasy genre. I loved Danny Valentine, and I bought her as a necromance. I loved the EARLY Anita Blake and I bought her as a executioner et al. I love the Otherworld series.
For some reason, this 'superhero' thing really throws me. It's all put down in comic books beamed into some nerds head? Really?! (I love graphic novels too, so the bias isn't there either!) At one point I just started thinking please let them stop saying the word SUPERHERO. They're all suspicious and cranky and petty. They do mean things to each other and that's the good side. I just wish it was all explained in some other way. Superheroes indeed. It just seemed kid-like to me.
So, all that being said: if you like the urban fantasy genre then read this series by all means. If you're new to it, start with something else. Then come back and read these.
This is a terrific debut novel for a promising author. I was really taken by surprise with how much I liked the characters and the storyline. It's an unique and fresh addition to a genre that has too many of the same ol' tired plots and recycled characters.
In the begining it felt like I was being dogpiled with plot twists before I could even begin to care about the characters, and then the middle parts just dragged on and on and on. I don't think all 400+ pages were entirely necessary for the first book: it is supposed to draw you in to the world, not annoy you out of it.
In the end I was reading just to see if my guesses were right, and to enjoy a bit of the heroine's wit, rather than being absorbed in the story or actually caring about the characters.
I have no problem with the darness or gore, but the story simply wasn't on par with Kit Harrison or Jim Butcher. This might just be an indication of first-time-writer issues, and the second book might be much better, but I'm not sure I want to spend a credit to find out.
What a dark, edgy new heroine we have here! Joanna, amateur photographer, has grown up in a wealthy family in fabulous Las Vegas. Unfortunately, her dad's a complete asshole, she endured a horrific event as a teen and now her future is looking pretty damn grim. Joanna, lucky gal that she is, finds herself in the middle of a war of the signs of the Zodiac. Yes, that Zodiac. Think Horoscrope, or Horrorscope, in Joanna's case. The war is between the Light and the Shadow, signs at opposite ends of the spectrum. Once Joanna hits her 25th birthday, she transforms into one of them. Comprised of equal parts Light and Shadow, no one truly trusts her, and she damn sure doesn't trust herself. However, there is much buzz about a foretold savior...
So, which side will she choose?
Joanna is an interesting character. She has a broken spirit and psyche (some serious psychology occurs in this book!) and she's in a constant battle with who and what she is in this war between good and evil. Joanna ends up in some dark places, at times, from the tragedy she has endured and the ultimate choice she needs to make. However, as typical with our book heroes, Joanna uses that dark misfortune to unleash a can of whoop ass upon the evil bastards. Her character is the epitome of the struggle between good and evil that takes place inside people. And for this, she is very relatable. While most of us aren't sadistic murdering fiends like Joanna's nemesis, Ajax, we do struggle with not-so-angelic thoughts. Joanna's issues are a bit heavier than how-am-I-gonna-write 5-massive-papers-this-week?, but you get my drift. I can relate to her, and I like her for feeling real. Plus, we share some very serious heartache with her, of various degrees. Darn it - this girl deserves a break!
Pettersson includes some really cool abilities of the Agents of Light and Shadow. There is some sort of genetic 'scent' that each person possess and they have an intense sense of smell, which they use to track one another. This unique scent makes it pretty damn hard to hide! However, they can mask and change these smells through various techniques. This sense also serves other purposes, as Joanna learns when she finally awakens.
Conclusion: 5/5 stars! Is there a new Vicki Pettersson fan out there? Why, yes - yes there is! Kudos to Pettersson's ability to write some original content/world/magic/plot. I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on the next book.
This book is a great read. I could not put it down and have already placed a hold on the second. It is adult, fast paced, action packed, suprising, and exciting. Even for the less sci-fi knowledgeble type like me I got it and want to read them all. Happy reading!
This is not a bad book. It is a different book. I was reading it during what became a hard time in my life. It was not the right book for me at the moment I guess. I think if the timing had been better I would have totally loved this story because it was so different from all the other imitation stuff out there trying to be like the best seller list.
This author dares to write different. She dares to write a story that is uniquely hers and hers alone. If you love super hero stuff like Iron Man Etc, then you will love the world that this series delves into. I think some details perhaps could have been done differently. Of course the story would not have developed as it did. Perhaps in future books we will understand better. So far its a decent start to a very unique plot line. I think everyone should give it half a chance.
This book was a surprise (what they call a sleeper in the movies). I bought it a while ago and only recently picked it up to read it. This turned out to be a great book. Its a story of the age old battle between good and evil or dark and light with some unexpected twists along the way. The story is centered around a young women with a dark past (she was beaten, raped and left to die at the age of 16). In the beginning of the book we see how she kind of hides from life and herself to deal with her "demons" (pun intended). The rest is a surprise well worth a read if you like fantasy, horror and books that you just can't put down.
Carlie (carliej) - , reviewed The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Hm, this was a book that was hard for me to decide one way or another whether I liked it or not. Some parts in the beginning had me thinking it was pretty cheesy (the normal human relations seemed the least believable to me in the beginning) until I started looking at it from a different perspective. It has a little different sense of humor than I was expecting and was, in some parts, a little gorier than I first anticipated. However, expectations aside, it was an interesting read, and I'll probably give the sequel a shot.
I tried really tried to finish this book, but just couldn't. I couldn't follow what was going on, how the people got through her dreams, in whole i was just plain confused. After reading 3/4 of it i just couldn't drag myself through it. I have the other two in the series and wont read them. Just to much information not enough story.
A great book! It was more than what I expected it to be! Joanna Archer knows she is different from most people in that she was raped and left for dead in the desert when she was 16 years old - Now at 24, she stalks the night looking for the man that did this to her. Now on the eve of her 25th birthday - she finds out that she is even more different than she even thought possible - she must decide if following her family legacy is more important or if being "normal" is...
I recommend this book if you are looking for a great story - action with twists and turns, back story and a heroine who kicks butt!!!!
Kathy G. (tinkykat) - , reviewed The Scent of Shadows (Sign of the Zodiac, Bk 1) on
I really enjoyed this book. It's a creatively written and interesting read. I love the city of Las Vegas, and that was one of the things that drew me to this series. I really love the main character too, she is a great heroine. It's not just another paranormal series to me, it was much more creative than that, the world of thew Zodiac pulls you in and makes you want to lean more. Def a great read! I am looking forward to #2.
I read a short story by the author that was the story of how Joanna Archer's parents met and how she came to be. Didn't like the style and couldn't get into the whole super hero world. I'm finding all 3 of the Zodiac books I have TBR and posting them.
I found this a very entertaining begining to a fatastic series. I love how super heroes and super villans seem to be straight out of a Marvel comic book. Very imaginitive and I thouroughly enjoyed reading it.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Most books I usually have to give about 50 pages before they get past the exhibition phase and start to get interesting. This one however grabbed me from the very first page. Vicki Pettersson's writing was sharp and witty and made me literally laugh aloud on multiple occasions.
One of the most interesting things about this book were it's characters. They were both strong and flawed, all with stories behind them, well motivated and interesting. It was refreshing.
Anyone looking for a great read with a dynamic storyline and engaging characters won't be disappointed.
this book was really good! I cant wait to read the 2nd one.. and its a great premise but the 1st two chapters didn't flow well and I think she went into introspection a little too much at first but once it got going it flowed well and was really good! She really surprised me a few times too! really a different story.
Joanna Archer is the daughter of a Light Zodiac Warrior (Zoe, aka the Archer) and Tulpa (leader of the Shadow Zodiac Warriors). She is what they call the Kairos and all the fates hinge on her. She is made up of both sides and can choose her destiny. Warren (a Light Zodiac Warrior) is her guide during her metamorphosis. Ajax is Shadow Zodiac Warrior sent to kill her during her metamorphosis.
This book is more fantasy than what I normally read. That does not mean I didn't enjoy it. It just means that it helped A LOT to write things down. I compare this book to The Matrix. You have Joanna (Neo), Warren (Morphius) and Ajax (Agent Smith). You also have the traitor among the good guys, who I won't reveal and ruin the entire book for you. Once I put it in this context the book smoothed out a bit. It is the basic good versus evil.
If you can get through the beginning chapters you will find a good story that Pettersson created. Joanna is a very strong character. She likes to kick ass and ask questions later and yet you see her soft side with her love for her sister Olivia and childhood sweetheart Ben. Warren is the fatherly figure that guides Joanna through this journey and will go to the ends of the earth because he believes she is the one. Ajax is the typical bad guy that just keeps coming back again and again until you just can't stand it. Plus there are a lot of other characters that are introduced that have potential. I am looking forward to reading the next book.
Awesome book!! If you like Kit Harrison or Charlotte Harris...you will LOVE this new series.
" The battle of light and dark battle over Las Vegas in this very exciting series debut. A missing mom, evil father, and a butt kicking heroine, to say noting of assorted superheroes, that power this bullet train of a book!"
I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the second, A Taste of the Night, ISBN 978-0-06-089892-2
From the back of the book:
When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead.
Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset--a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow--seeking answers to whom or what she really is and revenge for the horros she was forced to endure.
But the nightmare is just beginning--for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own...