- Title: Seven Kinds of Hell
- Author: Dana Cameron
- Series: Fangborn #1
- Genre: UF, Fantasy
- Format: eBook
- Source: NetGalley
- Reviewed by: Soo
- Rating: 3 out of 5
Description: Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.
Review: 3.5 Stars – I had a tough time rating this book. A part of me says that it only deserves 3 stars but I wanted to give it 4 for excellent ideas. In the end, I compromise with a 3.5 stars.
Zoe’s been on the run for most of her life. Her Ma didn’t explain exactly why they’re on the run. She only knows that her father was mixed up in something bad and her Ma took her away when she was a baby to keep her safe. Most people get to live in one town or two while growing up. Zoe has grown up all over the U.S. and under several aliases. She gets ready to take off again but it’s totally different situation now. Ma falls prey to cancer and leaves her with two commands before she dies. The most important:
Don’t let her father’s family find her.
The world that Dana Cameron weaves together is striking in its unique mix of legends, paranormal, shape-shifters and mythology. It’s like looking at the world with cool shades. Everything is familiar and the same but everything has a layer of meaning that has been left unseen. What if all those pictographs and cave drawings of half man and half animal beings were true? What would the world be like then?
The first book of the Fangborn introduces us to an unlikely group of characters. In the lead is Zoe, a socially awkward young woman who isn’t comfortable in her own skin and used to a life of secrecy. She can count the number of real friends on one hand, but she’s willing to leave them all behind to keep everyone safe. She’s not just running away from an unknown danger that haunts her family. She’s running away from everyone to hide from herself.
She can’t control the Beast. What if the Beast takes over and she never turns into a human again? What if the Beast attacks the people she loves? She can’t take the chance. She won’t take that chance.
It doesn’t matter. Everything Zoe knows and believes in will be challenged. The very people she least expects to be a part of her insane journey across the world will be at her side. How does she know who is a friend or enemy? How will she know who to trust? What is this prophecy that says she’s the chosen one? With every step forward, there are two taken sideways.
Instead of leaving town and starting a new life in a new city, Zoe finds herself stalked by those who bear a striking family resemblance. Danny, an old childhood friend, becomes bait to lure Zoe into a dangerous game with nefarious characters. With heart pounding and terror trapped in her throat, Zoe dives into the rabbit hole to save her friend.
The story grabbed me full tilt at the beginning. I became confused when the pace slows down to a near crawl, and I felt like I was thrown into an info dump with long mental digressions into the past. I realize all of them are important for the story but I felt rather disappointed in the pacing. It’s like starting a roller coaster ride. Instead of getting ready to go down that first hump into speedy reckless exhilaration, you find out that you need to ride around for a while, go up another few hills and THEN you get the adventurous yeehaw drop.
I love everything about the Fangborn, the hints about where they’re from, what they can do and how they are an integral part of society. Even if they’re a hidden part of it.
As a lover of history, mythology and relics, I find myself equally put off and attracted to the archaeological aspects of the story. Parts of it is really interesting and parts of it throws me out of the story. As a reader, I never came to terms with Zoe being an archaeologist. If Zoe was still a student and working as an intern, it would be easier to accept. Most of the time, I would forget she is one until the book reminds me that she is.
The climax of the story is MOST EXCELLENT! I wanted to give the story 4 stars just for the climax. It was very well done! It wasn’t exactly what I expected and the unusual mix of events was awesome! I may have jumped up and down a little in excitement during this part. Okay, it was really a sit down chair dance but it still counts.
I want to preface my next comment with this: I’m definitely team Zoe & Will. I want them to work. However, the love making scenario felt really out of place. I’m glad they got together. I just think the description could have hinted more and said less. That small bit of the book felt really out of place in the way it was written. Not by that part happening but because of how it is written. It’s not because I don’t like explicit love scenes. I do. I just felt that this part was an odd duck out with the rest of the book.
I would have liked more time to get to know the other characters and a little less time in Zoe’s head.
The bones of the story are great and I can’t wait to see what story the second book will tell.
I know I didn’t give the book 4 stars. It doesn’t matter. You should read this book. The reasons why I would mark a book down to a 3.5 stars may not be your reasons. This book is an excellent start to a new series and I am definitely going to be in line to read the next one.