cover image Crusade


Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié, Simon Pulse, $16.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9802-0

In the first of a trilogy, the authors of the Wicked series serve up a mishmash of X-Men and Buffy, layered with Christian symbolism. In a near future in which vampires and humans are in a stalemate over world control, vampire hunter Jenn is insecure, despite being trained as part of a legendary team—a motley assortment of human and supernatural creatures—at the University of Salamanca. In love with Antonio, a self-loathing Catholic vampire and fellow hunter, she is also tormented by reminders of his intrinsic nature. When Jenn is called home to California for a funeral, where she faces parental betrayal and her sister is kidnapped, the other Salamancans go on the trail of an experimental vampire virus, leaving Jenn as a lone hunter while San Francisco is under siege. The authors effectively convey the cross-species tension burgeoning among the other Salamancans, which include a witch, werewolf, priest, and girl with elixir-granted powers. While the book isn't free of clichés, including sophomoric poetry initiating chapters "Though our flesh is pale and cold/ We are beautiful to behold"), the cinematic writing and apocalyptic scenario should find a ready audience. Ages 14–up.(Sept.)