**I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**
Series: Colbana Files #1
Published by Author on August 1, 2012
Genres: Urban Fantasy
AMAZON • B&N • BOOK DEPOSITORY • Goodreads
Kit Colbana - half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades - has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.
So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters - especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.
Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails - she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee...
When Blade Song by JC Daniels was first released, I was surprised to see so many mixed reviews on some of my favorite blogs. Some people absolutely loved it while others absolutely hated it. Many of the negative reviews called Blade Song derivative of the Kate Daniels series while others thought its heroine was strong and the romance steamy. I have to admit, I’m a bit torn about this book. One the one hand, I was totally absorbed by this story of a modern day Amazon warrior woman and on the other, I couldn’t stand her love interest for about half the book. And I found that both annoying and fascinating at the same time.
I think it’s pretty standard to say that an urban fantasy heroine is “strong yet vulnerable.” But I can honestly say this description has never been more apt until Kit Colbana entered the UF world. She’s a half human and half Aneira (or Amazon) assassin/private investigator. In the dangerous world of Orlando’s supe community, her half human status pegs her as weak. Orphaned as a young girl and left to the guardianship of her sadistic grandmother, it is precisely the human half of Kit that made her childhood…difficult. And that’s an understatement. This woman is damaged, she suffers from PTSD symptoms; she has had to fight and survive and stay alive since she was eight years old. Kit’s past is dark, dark, dark and tragic. She fights every day to stay above the tragedy of her past and uses her ability with weapons to provide both a sense of comfort and security. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a heroine I felt so much compassion for. Her struggles feel so real especially when she experiences a trigger that sends her back to her childhood and the terrors she faced at the hands of her family. Couple that real sense of vulnerability with some interesting powers (invisibility, strong intuition, luck, and tracking abilities, and a facility with weapons that happen to “sing” to her) with a smart mouth and a wicked sense of humor, Kit had me hook, line, and sinker. I liked her lots.
Now here comes the fascinating part: Kit’s romantic interest was a real asshole. I don’t mean that in the “he’s a jerk but it’s just his sexy alpha nature” sense. No, Damon is an ASS. He nearly chokes her to death when they first meet and then proceeds to bully and demean her at various stages of their acquaintance. He’s a shifter who works for the alpha of the local cat clan. The alpha’s nephew is missing and Damon hires Kit to find him. If she doesn’t find him, she’s dead. Right off, Kit doesn’t, and can’t, trust him. So Damon is violent, untrustworthy, and calls her stupid and foolish all the time. How the hell is Daniels going to make me like this dude? But dammit if she doesn’t succeed in warming me up towards him by the end of this story. He’s got his reasons for who and how he is; he’s genuinely sorry for the physical harm he’s caused her, he’s also got a dark past, and sees something in Kit that speaks to him. But I have to be honest, while by the end of the book I felt a bit warmer towards Damon, I still could not stand his constant infantilizing of Kit, his constantly calling her foolish. And the fact that he calls her baby girl all the time wouldn’t be so annoying if he also wasn’t continually pointing out her foolishness. I mean, she’s an Amazon assassin for crying out loud. Give her some respect.
Secondary characters were strong. I love the witchy world in Blade Song. The powers are strong, the organization interesting, the characters a little frightening. Jude the vampire is also ambiguous and represents one of Kit’s bad decisions. He’s powerful, creepy, and manipulative. .
The worldbuilding in Blade Song is also pretty compelling. I usually walk away from a UF world thinking how cool it would be to be a part of it, with some great supernatural ability. At the end of Blade Song, I can honestly say, no thanks. I would not want to be a member of Orlando’s supernatural community. It’s violent, full of power plays and crazy alphas and vampires. If you don’t have friends, you don’t have protection. Humans are aware of supes and for the most part they don’t like them. The law tends to look the other way if a non-human is killed. Kit’s a loner but she has witches at her back (they’re pretty powerful) and she has her foot in the human world as well where she has some friends in law enforcement. It’s a complex world of supernatural politics and dark powers. I loved it.
Bringing all of these components together is a plot that kept me interested in its resolution. Missing non-human children. Where are they and why have they been taken? It keeps you on your toes and you stay emotionally invested in it. There’s a bit of a convoluted twist at the end but I just went with it.
I think I fall firmly in the camp of liking this book. Hell, I immediately bought the next one. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to support a Damon-Kit relationship but then there’s another part of me, the one that loved it when he said this to Kit, over and over, “Nobody hurts you when I’m around,” that understood the appeal and made me curious to see how their story turns out. In the end it’s my investment in Kit — in her past, present, and future — that makes me want to read the next one in the series and ultimately recommend Blade Song. 3.5 howls!