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Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
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M.J. Hearle
Cynthia Hand
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First Kill - Heather Brewer Final Thoughts: First Kill was a great start to this spin-off series. Get ready to witness lots of killings, decapitations, and blood…and blood…and more blood. I was craving for more after the final book in the Vlad Tod series, but unfortunately I wasn’t as crash-hot about First Kill as I had hoped I’d be. Considering how well the Vlad Tod series turned out to be in the end, I have no doubt that the Slayer Chronicles will bask in that same glory and fate in future instalments.~I very much enjoyed the last couple of books in the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod despite an initial rocky start with the series, so I was intrigued to see how Heather Brewer moves beyond Vlad and his not-so-big-vampiric nature to Joss and the slayer way of life. It was interesting learning more about Heather Brewer’s slayers: their history, rituals, and whatever else we really didn’t get to know about through Vlad’s perspective. We also learn more about Joss – obviously – which made for sentimental times.In First Kill, Joss Macmillan finds his sister dead in her bed, a monster standing over her body. Joss accepts an offer and gets recruited into the Slayers, and there is really only one reason why he does: to get vengeance for his sister’s death. The first kill is always the hardest. But after that it just gets easier and easier, and for Joss that’s a good thing. Guilt destroys your pride.In the first few chapters we see the close and inseparable relationship between Joss and his younger sister. This provides a basis for Joss’s motivation in getting vengeance. For me, Joss was the only dimensional character in this entire book. Heather Brewer toyed with his emotions, thoughts, and actions effectively to drive this story forward, and to keep us sympathising with him. At times I felt nothing for Joss as his motivations seemed like a broken record, continually being brought forward to the reader. Yes Joss suffered a lot (having no friends, witnessing his sister’s death, detachment from his parents, the treatment of his uncle), but it just got too much. In Vlad Tod and even initially in First Kill we understood that he suffered such things (loss, mistreatment, and threats of harm) making us feel so compassionate to him, but I went from that to having a “I just don’t give a hoot about your sufferings anymore” kind of feeling.Most of the other characters (for example the Slayers) who have significant roles fell flat. To make this novel more interesting, I would’ve liked to have got to known about the individual pasts of the other Slayers in this camp, or even their motivations for slaying vampires. This may have been done purposefully to not weigh the reader down in details. It did feel rushed though, and I just wanted that extra bit more from each of the characters.Heather Brewer packed a punch with some of the twists. I was sincerely surprised about what she was able to deliver. You just have to read it to believe it because I am sure you will be just as surprised as I was. There are some which you may doubt and disregard, but they all created conflict for a satisfying conclusion. In terms of Heather’s writing itself, I don’t believe it has improved a whole lot. It all seemed rather monotone and the same, and I found no distinction between Vladimir and Joss because of it. Hopefully when we come across Vlad in the next instalments via Joss that the characterisations and the prose will be lifted in regards to execution.