Friday, June 8, 2012

REVIEW: Vicki Pettersson's The Scent of Shadows

Book: The Scent of Shadows

Author: Vicki Pettersson

Series: Signs of the Zodiac (Joanna Archer)

Publishing stats: February 27th 2007 by Eos (USA)

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Cover Blurb: The First Sign of the Zodiac

When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.

By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset – a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow – seeking answers to whom or what she really is … and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning – for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful Shadows want her for their own…

First line: He didn't look dangerous, not at first glance.

What I liked: This book's heroine, Joanna Archer, is an interesting blend of strength of vulnerability. After a childhood trauma, she goes out of her way to take control of her life and develop the necessary skills to ensure she'd never be anyone's victim ever again. Unfortunately, the shadow of that first trauma never truly dissipates and its effect can be seen in so much of who and what she is. Overall, she's a truly complex and intriguing character and I loved seeing her layers unfurl chapter after chapter.

What I didn’t like: The story of this book seems to be incredibly drawn out. It was a lot like reading a story about a viking who starts out telling you he's going to die the next day then takes about a hundred and fifty pages to work up to it. You then spend the next hundred and fifty pages waiting for the Valkyrie to show up so he can go to Valhalla where you hope the story's going to pick up. In the meantime, your viking is essentially stuck in some kind of Snakes and Ladders game that gets him caught up in some sort of deranged cycle. It was frustrating to say the least.

Overall: It was not a bad book but it wasn't a great book either. I loved the characters. I loved the relationships and interactions that went on. I especially loved the whole premise of the story; Pettersson took comic book mythology, shook it up, and remolded it into an exciting and intricate mythology all her own. Her incorporation of the Zodiac signs into the battle of good versus evil - referred to as Light versus Shadow - was more than skin deep and infused not only the story but the characters as well. Most of my displeasure with the book, as stated previously, derived from the pacing and redundancy of the plot.

Would I read this author again: Yes. This is the first book in the series, after all, and it wasn't horrible. I would want to read at least the second book before passing judgment on the merits of continuing.

My rating: ♥♥/5

To purchase the book for yourself, you can find it at,,, or Barnes & Noble. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Totally understand where you are coming from and actually agree with you, but I PROMISE it gets MUCH better! Hehe