Author: Heather Brewer
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Rating: 3/5 stars
Summary (from Barnes & Noble): Joss McMillan’s perfect life crashes down the night he witnesses his sister’s murder — at the hands of a vampire. He then finds out his family’s secret heritage: They are part of the Slayer Society, a group whose mission is to rid the world of vampires. Joss is their new recruit. As Joss trains, bent on seeking revenge for his sister, he discovers powers that could make him the youngest, strongest Slayer in history. But there is a traitor in the Society, one whose identity would shake Joss to the core . . . if the traitor doesn’t kill him first.
With over a million copies already in print, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is still sinking its fangs into new readers every day. Now, bestselling author Heather Brewer brings us the other side of the story, from the perspective of Vlad’s former friend turned mortal enemy: vampire slayer Joss McMillan. This is the first in a series of five books that can be read alongside Vlad Tod or entirely on their own.
Joss is a character that I have longed to know more about since reading the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and Heather Brewer is certainly granting my wish. And when I picked up the book I so wanted to love this book as much as I adored the Vlad Tod stories. I wanted to love Joss as much as I loved Vlad. And while neither of those things came true, I did enjoy the book a great deal and felt it was a nice distraction from my school work and work commitments.
From the beginning you understand Joss’ motivation, as anyone who witnessed their sister’s murder at the hands of a vampire would be itching to get revenge. It serves him well as he ventures off for the summer to train as a slayer under the watchful eye of his uncle. The training is tough on the pre-teen boy and you can feel his pain, anger and frustration radiate from the page. However, while I felt that the training at times was too rough and too painful, it was clear that there was a point behind pushing Joss to his absolute limits and Heather Brewer does a fantastic job of going just far enough over the line without reaching a level that would make it unreadable.
One thing that disappointed me about this book, in stark difference to Vlad, was how weak and un-interesting I found the side characters. None of them jumped out at me or appeared half as interesting as Henry, Nelly or Otis. I felt that they were there merely to serve a single purpose, to train Joss, and that you were not supposed to get to know them as people. I hope that if we see any of these characters again that they will be more fleshed out and make me care about them more.
When the book wrapped to a close there were a few questions that were left unanswered, and while I suppose that is fitting of the first book of a series, I felt unfulfilled. I suppose I shall have to wait til the next installment arrives before I will be able to fulfill my curiosity!