Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: Deadly Descendant

Deadly Descendant (Nikki Glass - Book 2) by Jenna Black

Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 368pp.
ISBN-13: 978-1451606805
ISBN: 145160680X

(Received for an honest review from Pocket Books)

Jenna Black on the WEB: Webpage, Twitter

Books In The Series: Dark Descendant(2011), Deadly Descendant(2012)

Coverart: Click on the image for a clearer,larger picture of the books in this series.

Excerpt from Deadly Descendant courtesy of Amazon's Inside Look Feature


As a living descendant of Artemis the Huntress, private investigator Nikki Glass knows how to track someone down. But when an Oracle shows up, warning the descendants about wild dog attacks in Washington D.C., Nikki is afraid it might be a trap. The Olympians believe the “dogs” are jackals, controlled by a blood-crazed descendant of the Egyptian death-god Anubis. Whatever. . . . If Nikki hopes to muzzle Dogboy, she’s got to catch him in the act. But when she stakes out a local cemetery, she ends up face-to-snout with a snarling pack of shadow-jackals whose bite is worse than their bark. These hellhounds are deadly—even for an immortal like Nikki. “Dog” spelled backwards may be “god,” but that won’t stop Nikki from teaching these old gods some new tricks. Like playing dead.


Author Jenna Black continues the Nikki Glass series with her latest book, Deadly Descendant. Nikki, an immortal huntress, doubles as a private investigator and joins an elite group called the Liberi who are fighting for justice against the Olympians. Black's take on Greek mythology is complex and full of surprises. Her characters shine as she delves into Nikki's new life and all the complications that come with it. Black's world building is excellent but her major strength is her attention to detail and descriptive abilities. A good addition to the series.

I have always been a big fan of Greek mythology since studying it for the first time in high school. The Greek pantheon of gods from Zeus and Hara all the way down the line was interesting and different and really sated my need for fantastic beings and magic. Artemis the hunter was a favorite of mine and when I first heard about this series that was the first thing that caught my eye. Nikki is a descendant of Artemis, which means she is a hunter in a sense, she can track and take down her prey. Giving her a day job as a private eye really fit with the profile of what a descendant of this particular god would be like. 

Black has obviously done her homework with this series. Not only has she researched the Greek gods, but for this book in particular she needed knowledge of the Egyptian god, Anubis. After watching Stargate SG-1 for years, Anubis was somewhat familiar to me and I thought Black did a wonderful job of incorporating his story into this book. I enjoy the whole premise of the series, that is based on a group of Olympians that are hunting down the descendants of the gods. It's interesting and very imaginative. I liked all the interaction of the different gods and how they were used in both books of this series. 

The characters are definitely a high point in Deadly Descendant. In the first book readers learned a lot about the set up for the series, how everything was connected and the main character Nikki. In the second book, we start to get more information about secondary characters. Their stories start to filter into the action and become more important. For example, Anderson's tortured wife. Readers know that she has been imprisoned by the Olympians and tortured beyond imagination, she has now returned to the Liberi, but she is has basically lost it. She is insane and a very big torn in Nikki's side. I enjoyed finding out more about her and how her mind worked. She's one wicked adversary.

Black has a knack for detail. She describes a lot of things in this series, that some authors might leave to chance. The small things are often what makes a book or a series memorable and I think that's the case with this one. Black's descriptions of Nikki's hit or miss attempts to learn how to use her powers are priceless. The way she shows readers the developing relationship between Nikki and Jamal is simple, yet moving. I liked the way she wrote about Anderson and how he came to be the leader of this motley crew. I think the little things are very important in this series and Black seems to understand that and play on it. 

The plot of this one was particularly interesting. It's not often the enemy comes to talk business with the opposing faction. When an Olympian Oracle shows up to ask for help, it's nothing short of a miracle. The Olympians have discovered a serial killer in D.C. that has to potential to expose the existence of both the Liberi and the Olympians and it is imperative he be stopped. What they didn't count on was the fact that this killer is a descendant of the Egyptian Death God, Anubis. The new villain was not quite as present as Konstantin was. He doesn't show himself to be quite as maniacal or threatening as the old villain was. Luckily, I don't think we've seen the last of Konstantin and I think the new bad guy will get badder LOL! Black may have slightly missed the mark with this new foe, but that doesn't mean the next one won't be even better.

This is a great series so far and I think fans of Urban Fantasy should definitely give this one a try. Jenna Black is a great author and readers would be coming into this series early on if they start now. I think there is a lot to be said for reading a series in order and close together, but it's also a lot of fun to have that anticipation of the next book coming out so you can devour what happens next as well. I look forward to seeing where Nikki goes from here. Will she learn to control her new powers and accept what she's become? Will her relationship with Jamal continue to form or is there someone else out there for her? Lots of questions left unanswered and lots of possibilities!

Deadly Descendant is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.
Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.
Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. Among her other experiences . . .
  • Ballroom dancing.
  • Traveling all seven continents. Yes, even Antarctica.
  • Becoming a Life Master in Bridge.
  • Singing in a barbershop chorus.

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