by Sherrilyn Kenyon
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.
Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.
But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.
As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?
*** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***
This is the first book in the Chronicles of Nick series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I seen or heard much about this series, even though the fourth book just recently came out. It must be popular somewhere, right?
I started out absolutely loving this book. For the first 75 pages or so I thought I'd found my new favorite book, and I was sooooo excited. And then it all just went weird. The plot got crazy and things seemed inconsistent and a lot of times I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be serious or a dark comedy. For a while I fell to the other extreme of absolutely hating this book, thinking it was a joke, a very weakly written rush job of a story. But as it went on I started to like it again. I think (hope!) a lot of the chaos in this first book was to help set up the series and each of the following books will slow down a focus a bit.
This story started off solid, letting us get to know main character Nick and his mother and his rough upbringing. Fairly early in the book, Nick is involved in a mugging and is almost killed. He is saved by a mysterious rich man who takes him under his wing, and this is where the first signs of the paranormal side of the story show up. A couple weird events after than and suddenly -BAM!- the story explodes into chaos. You know I hate overly busy storylines, right? Well, this one ended up there. There were so many characters being thrown at us, so many things happening, so many side characters and side plots . . . ugh! Some things seemed related, some I'm not so sure of yet.
Zombies was the focus of this first book. While Nick is learning more about zombies as they find a way to fight them, we (and he) also find out there have always been vampires, werewolves, demons, etc. in Nick's life. We knew from the beginning that Nick's father was not a very person and is in prison for murder. Eventually we find out there is much much more to his father than anyone realized. And I'm still not quite clear on that whole part of it. Then there is mysterious Uncle Ambrose, who Nick never knew existed. There is some weirdness about him too, as in he might actually be Nick's father who might actually be Nick himself. Huh??? Yeah, exactly. There is something going on about Nick reliving his life and trying to make different choices or something . . .
Then there is something about these ancient characters who are trying to help Nick, or guide Nick, or win Nick to their side. I'm not clear on all that either. I know there are two sides battling for him but I got lost on who was on what side, and just what each sides represents. And I couldn't really see what any of that larger story had to do with the almost comical zombie plot we had throughout this first installment of the series. Oh, and add in the hot girl that Nick has a major crush on, the hot girl that mysterious Ambrose is worried about because he can't 'sense' her. We're given enough bits of information to know that she is supposed to be an enemy of Nick, but we also see the forbidden romance starting.
I like that this series is from the guy's point of view for once. I like that there isn't the obligatory love triangle, at least not yet anyway. I like that the romance is starting out rather cute and harmless instead of the usual love at first sight after one saves the other type thing we always seem to have.
While there were a lot of times through the middle of the book that I was cringing at the really lame dialogue and unnecessary running around, and while I am somewhat confused on some plot points, and while I was disappointed that the book started out so great and then just went weird . . . I am looking forward to the next book and seeing where things go. I do like a few of the characters quite a lot and want to know their stories. I know this is a spin-off series of author Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, so now I'm even curious about those books.
As for my overall opinion of did I love it, did I hate it . . . I'm undecided at the moment. I think if I were to read it again things would fall into place much easier. I'm also really holding my decision until I see how and where the next book goes.
(I don't know why this post won't format like my other book reviews, with the pic on the left and the text wrapping around. I've tried numerous times to get it but for some reason, today it just won't work.)