So, who is Roxanne? Well, beyond the fact that she’s young, and female, and has some…interesting features and powers, the author doesn’t really explain what she is, at least, not until somewhere near the back third of the book. (Yes, that was a bit frustrating as well, but all of the non-stop action kept me distracted, for the most part.) Here’s what the reader does learn fairly early on. Roxanne is being hunted. At first, we only learn about the PSS (Paranormal Scientists Society), who apparently had had control of her from her twelfth birthday, until sometime around her twenty-first birthday. Then, she escaped.
When the story starts, she is holed up in some small, mid-western type town, working at a diner and living in a Bed & Breakfast. The reader is fed just enough information to understand that she is the kind of person always looking over their shoulder, and we find out why soon after. A vampire has found his way into the room she rents, and he’s there to take her back to the PSS. After a well-crafted and thoroughly detailed struggle, she gets free, and is once again on the run. The only problem is, this time, it doesn’t stop.
New characters are brought into her world, including one of the other main characters, a young man named Logan. We learn through Roxanne’s ability to read other’s auras that Logan is a ‘were’, though it is not clear if he is werewolf, or some other blend of human/animal phantasm. The author teases us with tiny glimpses of his powers (as well as the same teases for Roxanne’s powers), but never really grants the full picture. (Another item I found frustrating with this read…the author never truly shares enough about any of the characters for the reader to understand who (or what) they are.
And, while I’m at it, I’ll list one final thing that frustrated me during this read. It seemed, regardless of where in the Unites States the characters found themselves, it was always described as ‘desert’. In the big scheme, it doesn’t really affect the story, but as an avid reader and as a self-published author myself, it feels like cutting corners, and it devalues the author’s credibility. (And, yes, I did deduct the final rating for this.)
Finally, the end of the story felt a bit flat to me. After spending such a long time getting to the ‘who and what’ Roxanne is, when it all finally came out, it didn’t live up to the hype. There was really no reason to hide this part of the backstory for so long. And the same is true for almost all of the other characters that impact Roxanne’s travels in a major way – they come, and they go, and we really don’t get a chance to fully learn who and what they are, or why they’re treating her the way that they do.
On the plus side, the characters and situations are very well crafted, and there are some absolutely magical and colorful narrative buried inside all the action. This is an author who can craft some powerful sentences.
So, for my overall rating, I deducted one full star for lack of depth for the characters, far too much time spent detailing the captures and escapes, and a lot of flat dialogue. I also deducted .25 of a star for waiting sooooo long to start sharing some of the history and backstory to this absolutely creative story. So, 3.75 stars total, and, in my opinion, still a novel that is well worth the time.