Author: Wynne Channing
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
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A few months ago it seemed like reviews of this book was all over the blogosphere, and everyone loved it. So I was super intrigued, and when I got my kindle last week it was the first ebook I downloaded.
What Kills Me is seriously fantastic. Off the top of my head it is definitely the best YA book I have read this year, and I can not wait for the sequel, which Wynne Channing has assured me (via the power that is twitter) is currently in the works. Seriously, I was reading this on the underground and missed my stop because I was so involved in the story (despite my concerted efforts to occasionally check what stop I was at).
On a summer trip to Italy with a language school, 17 year old Axelia (Zee) thinks that a summer romance might be nice, especially when she meets the mysterious and ridiculously good-looking Paolo. Instead, she gets attacked by a vampire, falls into a well of ancient vampire blood, and dies, reborn again as a vampire. Not your usual summer fling by any means. Unfortunately, her change into a vampire is highly irregular, even amongst the blood-sucking undead, and that makes Zee a target for assassination by the monarchy (them being the Vampire bosses, led by The Empress, who needs a slap). Zee has to adapt to being a new vampire whilst on the run, but luckily she meets Lucas, and finds in him a begrudging ally. So now all she needs to do is convince everyone that she is not the vampire girl that prophesy has decreed will take down the entire vampire race... Which should be easy, right?
I really love the characters in this book. The dynamic between Zee and Lucas feels really authentic, and they both stand up on their own as well. I love that Zee says "Seriously?" just as much as I do (and this makes me wonder if Wynne Channing is a Grey's Anatomy fan, which is another thing that uses the "Seriously?" to great effect). Zee notices the oddest little things in her descriptions of her surroundings and the people she meets, which is really nice as it makes Zee's voice more unique. She describes one person's eyebrows as being like tadpoles, which I thought was such an a-typical thing to point out. Channing's fight scenes are also fantastically graphic, and varied. I find that its often easy for numerous fights in one book to all have repeating elements, but Channing really mixes it up. One guy gets sliced in half by a car door being thrown at him frisbee style. I mean, seriously! That is pretty awesome.
The whole book is written really nicely. Channing has this really graphic style that paints the most beautiful picture of the characters surroundings, and makes it so effortless to imagine it all, and yet this doesn't detract from the pace of the book either. Being an avid reader of books featuring vampires, it was nice to see a mix of some fairly standard vampire tropes (like the dies in sunlight thing) along with some elements that are clearly just applicable to the vampires of Zee's world. I thought the monarchy, and the blood being supplied by the monarchy were really interesting concepts, and I hope that these are looked at in more depth in the sequel.
Overall, a 9, and I'm reserving an excited squeal for the sequel. Bargain at 77 pence on the Amazon store for the ebook, and it's now also available in actual book form for all you page-strokers out there.