Author: Sam Kadence
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press May 2013
Blurb: A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.
Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.
Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.
Review: This was a good start to an interesting, engaging, and dark new series. Full of a plethora of supernatural beings and the politics and complications that come with them, including the human hate groups that target them for for being different.
I really liked that there were some nontraditional types of paranormal beings in this story. Not so many that it gets confusing or too much time is spent explaining them, but a nice variety that kept things interesting and fresh.
The story is smoothly told in alternating first person between the two main characters Genesis and Kerstrande. I enjoyed the bonding it created for me with both men. Gene is absolutely adorable and I loved the growth and maturity that he showed as the story progressed. While he has always been able to see and communicate with the spirits of the dead he finds out that there is even more to his powers and connection to both sides of reality. I won’t spoil it for you, but when you find out what kind of supernatural Gene is, so much of his story will make sense to you. Poor tortured Kerstrande, as the story progresses I found myself understanding his appeal to Gene. Kerstrande has also had a rough life and I began to see why he had such a tough shell and snarky front that hid a sweet heart. I loved that it is Gene who does most of the saving in this story.
While Gene just wants to sing and make music he feels that he has to comply with the demands of his bandmates and the record label. Which can be an issue when you’re having to try to hide that you’re an adorable gay boy who fought to come out and live life on your own terms. And is an absurd expectation when you got the record deal because the tabloids caught you with your new lover, who is a mega music star legend, and is secretly a vampire that loves the taste of your blood.
There are some serious and difficult issues brought up in this book. For those of you with sensitive triggers to bullying, abuse, attempted rape, forced consent and references to torture. Most occur either in the past or off page. Gene is sexually active as a minor with adults. He is also sexually active with a supernatural being or two who look his age but aren’t. I’ll be honest, this tripped me out a little. I know that he’s only a little shy of the eighteen year mark but it made me a little uncomfortable, especially in a Young Adult book.
I really liked this book. I am excited to read the next book. I am counting on the author allowing enough time to have passed that Gene is eighteen years old. That way I can enjoy the book without anything holding me back. Because this book really is an interesting, well written, fun, layered and different beginning to a great new fantasy series.
Reviewed by Nina
Posted on May 15, 2013, in Nina and tagged B List, Coming Out, coming-of-age, Contemporary, DSP, fantasy, fantasy in modern times, Gay Club, love triumphs over all, M/M, Musicians, Nina, paranormal, romance, Song Writers, Supernatural, Teenagers, Vampires, world building, Young Adult. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.