Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie 5 of 5 stars.
THE ULTIMATE BATTLE.
THE ULTIMATE LOVE.
For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain's Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun.
Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers San Francisco is now a vampire stronghold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated--and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose.
Then Jen is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she has held as true. (Book blurb)
The hunters of Salamanca are an unlikely band of warriors, mix-matched in more ways than they could have ever thought possible. Some joined the team in hopes of finding their place in a topsy-turvy world, some casting their lot for the new Holy Crusade. But most--are in it for revenge.
As vampires take over nation after nation, spilling innocent blood, there are few who are willing to stand up for what is right. And fewer still who have the skills to do it. Those few would be the Hunters, banded together and trained hard in the art of killing vampires. Armed with holy water, wooden stakes, and crosses they wage a shadow war against the enemy of humanity. Even against their own countries.
Crusade is a bloody thriller. Action and suspense combine with mysterious and complex characters to set the stage for an amazing novel. Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie have done it again creating a magically written story that will keep the best of us flipping pages late into the night.
The interesting thing about Crusade is that it could almost be a sequel. The training is over, the relationships are already formed, and the battle is on. The way it is written informs you of all you need to know in order to follow the story, while still keeping you guessing. The first half of the book seemed to shine a suspicious light on almost all of the characters. I wasn't sure who I could trust and who I couldn't. Through changes in point of view and a series of flashbacks from the different characters, the pictures became clearer toward the end. These characters can't be called anything if not complex.
The writing is the perfectly paced and characterized voice of experienced authors who know how to tell a story. They bring light to several dark time periods (including their fictional one) with the use of well-made and greatly varied characters. One of my favorite parts, strangely, was Aurora's flashbacks. She has such an atmosphere of evil around her it was interesting to see how hard she tried to resist it all during the Inquisition when she was imprisoned as a Jew. She reminded me a bit of Katherine from the Vampire Diaries, one of those complex characters that really make you think.
The religious aspect in the book was also very nice to me. It wasn't just Catholicism, but so many other religions stewed together within the story. They all served to add even more depth to an already winding plot.
Overall, Crusade is an amazing book. If you like prissy, sparkling vampires it might not be for you. But if you like a fast-paced story full of action and an incredibly complex plot... You would love it! This is definitely one of my most suggested books of 2010.
For fans of: Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
Many thanks to the publicist for sending me a copy for review!
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