Title/Author: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Purchased through Amazon
Favorite character: Ciara & Shane
Favorite quotes: “But moments like this last only as long as a pop song, and bear just as much truth.”
“Neil Young’s slow, reverbating guitar mourns with a keening violin. They hold each other up like siblings at a funeral.”
Synopsis: Ciara, a marketing intern, is given the task of raising the revenue of a radio station or it will be sold to a communications conglomerate. She soon finds out that the DJs are vampires that specialize in the era when they were turned. Ciara is a former con-artist and comes up with a plan to utilize the vampire angle to boost ratings, justifying that hiding in plain sight is the biggest con of all. Things get complicated when she develops a romantic relationship with one of the DJ's and another group of vampires wants to stop their marketing campaign.
All in all: Awesome!
What I liked: When I was little I re-read books all the time. As I grew older, I didn’t do this as much because there are simply so many books I want to read. But once in a while, a story comes along that I can’t stop thinking about and I want to get lost in it again. Wicked Game is one of them.
I had read this book a few years ago and the story and characters lingered in my memory. I was thinking about a scene in the book a few months ago (the part where Shane plays a song on his guitar for Ciara) and then I went to the Book Blogger Convention Reception and met the author. Very serendipitous! I didn’t realize there was a sequel (and the 3rd one is coming out July 27). I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the first novel before I read the next ones and I also wanted to visit that world again.
Not every book lets you live vicariously through the main character, but I really connected with Ciara and I loved imagining myself in her shoes. She is clever and funny and shows this when she goes head to head with an enemy from college, when she drops a box of pencils to thwart one of the vampires and when she pulls cons. When she opens up about her parents and her upbringing she exposes her vulnerable side, her flaws and her dark past. She admits the mistakes she has made, intentional and unintentional. Definitely not a Mary Sue. Eventually (and ironically) she has to draw on her skills from the past to save the day. I love her voice. It was clever, funny and snarky. I even loved the last sentence of soooo many chapters. Whether they were humorous, sad or ironic, even reading it a second time, they had me turning the page with anticipation.
Shane, her love interest, is not your typical heroic vampire. There’s no uber-seductiveness and over the top vampire clichés. He’s believable. Hot, but believable. I love the fact that he doesn’t play games with Ciara, he lets her know he wants to be with her. He tells her, “I’d rather do whatever it takes to get you and keep you. That’s what I’d rather do.” (Sigh). He’s honest and caring, but not syrupy. And, he has his funny moments too. The heat between him and Ciara is irrelevant of the fact that he is a vampire. And speaking of sex scenes, I felt they aren't too mushy or too graphic and at the same time, provide just enough rock and roll to be steamy.
The other vampires at the radio station are great characters as well and the way that they are stuck in the era that they were turned give them their quirky traits in today’s world. A Rockabilly dude from the 50’s and a Hippie from the 60s, among others, must cope and live in the present. They are funny, at times loveable and at other times very dangerous. I felt the vampire mythology was original and kept me interested.
I enjoyed that each chapter title is the name of a song or band and that the theme of music is so important to the author she includes a playlist in the beginning of the book. The descriptions of Ciara’s feelings when listening to certain songs and how she described live music brought it alive for me.
Oh and also, is it just me or did this kind of cover come out before all the other female protagonist covers? This cover shows a normal looking woman, not a bombshell holding a crossbow, not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s just something I noticed.
What I didn’t like: That I can’t be Ciara.
I give this book 5/5 stars, obviously since I took the time to re-read it.