The Scent of Shadows: The First Sign of the Zodiac

Vicki Pettersson, Author . Avon $6.99 (455p) ISBN 978-0-06-089891-5

Despite its romance pedigree (Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris contribute advance praise), this moody, fast-paced debut falls into the growing "dark fantasy" category, which blends fantasy, comic book superheroism and paranormal romance, but holds no promise of a happily-ever-after. The book's heroine, Joanna Archer, has spent the years following a brutal attack learning martial arts and trolling Sin City, Nev., for trouble. On the eve of her 25th birthday, she finds it in the form of a peculiar date who looks like a gaunt banker one moment and like hell spawn the next. Joanna fights her way out of his grasp, but her close encounter is only the beginning. Before long, she finds herself caught up in a world where a superhuman few—the Light—fight evil from the Shadow realm, a world in which she's recognized as the "Kairos," a prophesied warrior made up of both Shadow and Light who's destined to help Light prevail. Pettersson centers her story around the signs of the Zodiac, putting an imaginative spin on a familiar setup. Though graphic scenes (in which tongues are severed, heads ripped off, etc.) will repel some readers, others will embrace Pettersson's enduring, tough-as-nails heroine and anticipate gleefully the next volume, due in April. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/29/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 455 pages - 978-0-00-727021-7
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-133541-9
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-133601-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 464 pages - 978-0-06-133544-0
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-0-06-173671-1
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