Saturday, January 01, 2011

REVIEW: "Spiral X" by J.J. Westendarp

Cheryl is a Hunter. A Vampire Hunter. Not only that, but she's so good at what she does that the Underworld has a contract out on her. She has the best percentage of Vampire kills in any district and, if that weren't enough, she's about to become drawn into a big, secretive drug deal that has the ability to change the world as she knows it. Not only does Plast have a detrimental and violent effect on humans, it's central to a heinous plan to create a new breed of Vampire that won't succumb to the usual weaponry. In addition to her usual sidekicks Tank and Virgil, Cheryl meets a mysterious Hunter with an unusual past and some interesting connections, who joins them in the never-ending battle against the Underworld and the drug that's fueling their leader's plans. 

J. J. Westendarp has created in Cheryl a woman who can kick butt and take no prisoners, yet, even with that sense of duty, has a softer side for the human "victims" who have chosen to serve Vampires. Cheryl is very likable and sympathetic, even as she exudes power and control. She's reminiscent of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," with some "Blade" thrown in. I could easily see this story as a movie or a TV action series. Cheryl had all the elements you'd expect in an action hero: a tortured past that gave rise to her current profession, a few trusted associates, a true devotion to saving the world, and the ability to kick ass while still keeping a sense of humor. Overall, all of the characters fit nicely in the mold of typical action figures, and I really found myself rooting for Cheryl in the story. 

Although an enjoyable and fast-paced read, it was a too neatly tied up for my taste. The surprises are a little too predictable, and the connections between people and events a little too convenient and simplistic. Neat, but a little too neat. Much of the dialogue was trite, with explanations and events that seemed too perfectly organized. They fit the mold of an action story, but there wasn't anything extraordinary or special that got me excited. Instead of feeling like I was immersed in the action, I felt like I was watching a play onstage with everything perfectly scripted. 

The story is nicely written and the writing style was very readable and interesting, with no more than a handful of obvious typographical errors. For the most part, it was nicely formatted. I noticed a font size change several times, with smaller font for a paragraph or so every so often. I'm not sure what causes that, or if it's able to be reproduced in anyone else's experience (I had a Smashwords ePub), but it didn't detract from the overall experience.

A perfect read for those who love fast-paced action stories with a paranormal basis. 

3.5 /5 stars

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1 comment:

Wrighton said...

A very nice review, I enjoyed the book as well. I have become a new follower. Stop by if you get a chance, I have also listed a review on Spiral-X