Today I’m participating in the blog tour for Kait Ballenger’s debut novella Shadow Hunter. If you like paranormal romance, you’ll definitely like the world Ms. Ballenger has built for us!
After Dark: The Darkest Angel / Shadow Hunter (Lords of the Underworld #4.5, Execution Underground #0.5)
By Gena Showalter & Kait Ballenger
Published June 25th, 2013
Source: Received from author in exchange for an unbiased review – Thank you!
About the Book:
A timeless seduction A unique temptation And a whole world of dark desires…
From New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter
The Darkest Angel
Winged warrior Lysander has been alive for centuries, and yet he’s never known desire-until he meets Bianka. Spawned from the bloodline of his enemy, the beautiful but deadly Harpy is determined to lead the untouched Lysander into temptation. He may try to evade her attempts, but even the most iron-willed demon assassin can resist for only so long….
And from debut author Kait Ballenger
Vampire hunter Damon Brock’s first assignment with the Execution Underground is Rochester, New York, a city crawling with the undead. But he isn’t the only hunter in town gunning for vamp blood. Tiffany Solow is fierce and ruthless when it comes to slaying the monsters that destroyed her family-and she works solo. But being alone is no longer so desirable when she meets the mysterious hunter who wants more than just her turf. As they work to massacre the local covens, the line between good and evil blurs when they are forced to decide between their lifelong beliefs… and their newfound hearts.
I’m reviewing the story Shadow Hunter only.
I love paranormal romance! I actually started reading urban fantasy novels but for me, UF was missing the extra bit of romance I was looking for in my books. Give me a book that’s 50% urban fantasy and 50% romance and I’m completely ga-ga over the moon and I won’t be out of the house for days.
I’m a big, fat fan of long running series such as Larissa Ione’s Demonica, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark and Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld. So when a call went out for help promoting Kait Ballenger”s debut story, all I had to do was see that she’s published with Ms. Showalter and slam dunk, sign me up!!! I’ll help the cause. Because if the story is even close to the greatness that is Ms. Showalter, I’ll have no problems standing behind a review for Ms. Ballenger’s story.
So wasn’t I totally surprised by the depth of story and the world building Ms. Ballenger managed to squeeze in to this introduction to her new world, Execution Underground? This novella was a spectacular way to start off her series. A sweet, shorter story so readers don’t have to invest too much time into the world. But I was completely sucked in and left dangling at the end screaming, “More!! Don’t stop now!!!” Here’s my reasons why I’m loving this debut PNR author…
First, let me share with you a very cool thing that Ms. Ballenger did when she sent out the uncorrected proofs of her story for review. She wrote a little letter entitled “Dear Reader” that explains how she came about structuring the series and why the stories are the way they. Here’s the letter, reproduced with Ms. Ballenger’s permission, in its entirety:
[note color=”#D3BDAF”]Dear Reader,
In the upcoming pages you’ll find a prequel to my paranormal romance series, the Execution Underground, about an international organization of elite men, hunters of the supernatural who fight to protect humanity from the evil lurking after dark. The prequel, SHADOW HUNTER, is the story of Damon Brock, vampire hunter and founder of the Rochester division of the clandestine organization. When the hunters of the Rochester division first came to me, the attitude I received from Damon’s character simply said: “piss off, lady”…not surprising that Damon became the last member on my roster for the order of the six novels.
In September 2013, TWILIGHT HUNTER, the first full length novel in the series featuring werewolf hunter Jace McCannon, debuts. I intended TWILIGHT HUNTER to be the beginning of the series, but when Harlequin approached me with the offer to fill the remaining section of this anthology with a prequel I jumped at the chance. With the help of some whom had already read TWILIGHT HUNTER, the thought of a prequel, the pre-story of Damon, the elusive badass we see brief glimpses of within Jace’s novel arose. Though I never wanted to showcase Damon’s soft side which you will see in this short novel, the more I told Damon’s origin story, the more his character opened up. Now, I can’t wait to tell the rest of his story and I hope once you finish reading his prequel, you’ll be equally as excited, too.
Though his full novel will still be last in the series, Damon’s metamorphosis is intertwined within the stories of his fellow hunters. I hope that reading SHADOW HUNTER before the other novels in the series will reveal that to you in the way I’ve always seen it, and I hope Damon’s story brings you all the smiles, laughs, gasps, and tears it gave me. Thanks so much for reading. I’m blessed to be able to share this with you.
Sincerely, Kait Ballenger[/note]
So we have Damon, who has just arrived in Rochester, NY to avenge the death of his best friend. He blames himself for his best friend’s death but ultimately, it was a vampire who killed Damon’s fellow hunter on the Execution Underground. Damon seems to be one of those guys who has always had a tortured soul and blames everything wrong that happens around him on himself. He’s a big, tall drink of sexy and pretty much lives a loner existence.
Damon runs into Tiffany at a nightclub where he’s trying to apprehend the vampire who killed or played a part in killing Damon’s best friend, Mark. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you’re looking at the whole mess), so is Tiffany and they end up running into each other quite literally.
Tiffany is great as a protagonist because she’s both young and gutsy but at the same time intelligent in her hunting skills. She doesn’t have any of the super human strength that Damon has but she can think quick on her feet. She is vulnerable and sensitive, too. She’s never kissed a boy before, let alone done “other things” with them. She’s been too busy hunting vampires, avenging her family’s death, and going to college. A girl’s gotta have priorities I guess 🙂
Story / World Building / Tempo
The story behind this couple is quite cool – Damon and Tiff have “met” in the past but have never “met” in person. Damon figures out who Tiff is and tries to steer clear of Tiff but of course that’s impossible for young love *sigh*. Through a series of “not telling the entire truth”-s, their lives become more and more wrapped up and it all comes down to that final battle every reader wants in a great PNR story.
Honestly, this ending threw me for a loop and a half . We’re talking non-stop story, no lulls, all the way until we’re down to the very last sentence in the story. So much story for such a little “story”, novella style. So worth it!!
About the Author:
Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, professional bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity alongside the powerful women they seduce.
With a B.A in English from Stetson University, Kait is currently a student in Spalding University’s M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, where she studies dual-genre in screenwriting. She writes dark paranormal romance with drool-worthy heroes and kickass heroines as Kait Ballenger, and sassy YA urban fantasy under her maiden name, Kaitlyn Schulz.
When Kait’s not preoccupied with paranormal creepy-crawlies, she can be found slaving over endless amounts of schoolwork or with her nose buried in a book. She lives in Florida with her husband, their doggie-daughter Sookie (yes, like the heroine in Charlainne Harris’ books), and two mischievous cats Elliot and Olivia (yes, like the Law and Order characters), near the love and care of her supportive family. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she will be a bestseller and have people name their pets after her characters too.
Other Books in the Series: