I was fortunate to receive an ARC of a new young adult novel by Lili St. Crow. Lili St. Crow is a pen name of Lilith Saintcrow, so if you've read any of her work, you know you're in for a great read on her new young adult novel.
The novel is Strange Angels. It features a sixteen year old, Dru Anderson who has been traveling around for years with her father learning about and hunting supernatural "baddies", such as wulfen (werewolves) suckers, (vampires) and zombies. Dru is a pretty tough teenager who has learned from her father how to fight, and from her Gran how to deal with "hinky". She has "the touch", something that is passed along the family. When the book opens she has lost her mother at an early age, and her Gran more recently.
The book starts off with a bang. She dreams of an owl in her room, this owl she refers to as Gran's owl. It usually appears to her when something bad is about to happen. She never gets a chance to tell her father about seeing the owl, and in fact that morning is the last time she sees her father alive. There is a very tense 24 hours of her waiting for her father. During this 24 hours, she goes to school and comes home to an empty house. Her father ends up coming home as a zombie and she ends up having to deal with that.
Dru ends up having to rely on a boy from school, who helps her out when she needs it the most. They end up attacked by wulfen. Her new friend ends up bitten, and Dru has to decide whether to automatically shoot him or take a chance on his not turning.
The entire book is full of action and terror. Dru and her friend Graves have to do some quick growing up, making decisions that no normal teenager has to deal with. The suspense was pretty good. I started reading this book on Friday night, and didn't want to put it down, even when my eyes were closing on their own. When I finished the book, I already was wondering what was going to happen next in Dru's life. There is a sequel planned, this is the first in a new series. I'm am looking forward to the continuing story of Dru.
Lili St.Crow has an awesome way with words. As you're reading you can almost smell what Dru is smelling, feel the intense cold, and picture in your mind what is going on around her. You can get lost in her books. Not one time was I bored - sometimes, no matter how much you like an author's style, there is usually slow bits, but I didn't get that with this book. Dru's character was strong, even though she was terrified of what was happening to her. Glimpses were given of her earlier life without info-dump moments, and even though Dru has obviously not had the most wonderful childhood, there is a strong sense of her family's love - which is refreshing. A lot of authors tend to bog down their characters with horrible childhoods, and bitter family members. There was a tough childhood there, but no bitterness and angst.
Great book, great plot, lots of scary moments and I'm looking forward to any sequels to Strange Angels
Strange Angels will be released in May 2009 as a trade paperback, young adult by Lili St.Crow.