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The Scent Of Shadows The First Sign Of The Zodiac [Mass Market Paperback]

Vicki Pettersson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 8 2007

When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert.

By rights, she should be dead.

Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its romance pedigree (Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris contribute advance praise), this moody, fast-paced debut falls into the growing "dark fantasy" category, which blends fantasy, comic book superheroism and paranormal romance, but holds no promise of a happily-ever-after. The book's heroine, Joanna Archer, has spent the years following a brutal attack learning martial arts and trolling Sin City, Nev., for trouble. On the eve of her 25th birthday, she finds it in the form of a peculiar date who looks like a gaunt banker one moment and like hell spawn the next. Joanna fights her way out of his grasp, but her close encounter is only the beginning. Before long, she finds herself caught up in a world where a superhuman few—the Light—fight evil from the Shadow realm, a world in which she's recognized as the "Kairos," a prophesied warrior made up of both Shadow and Light who's destined to help Light prevail. Pettersson centers her story around the signs of the Zodiac, putting an imaginative spin on a familiar setup. Though graphic scenes (in which tongues are severed, heads ripped off, etc.) will repel some readers, others will embrace Pettersson's enduring, tough-as-nails heroine and anticipate gleefully the next volume, due in April. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The Scent of Shadows came out of nowhere and slapped me silly. … You’re going to love this.” (Kim Harrison)

“...Read at your own risk —it’ll keep you up past your bedtime.” (Charlaine Harris)

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book One. Excellent. March 14 2007
By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every generation twelve men and women are born, raised, and trained to keep order in their part of the world. When all twelve positions are filled, there is peace and cosmic balance. Every major city in the world has a Zodiac troop, though the suburbs are patrolled by independents (rogue agents). Think of them as the paranormal police force.

Joanna and Olivia Archer maybe sisters, but they seemed to be complete opposites. Olivia is the socialite and favorite of their father, Xavier Archer. Xavier owns the casino-hotel Valhalla in Las Vegas. He represents the city's finest in business. Joanna's life has been rougher. Since she was attacked as a teen and left for dead, Joanna has turned to photography and the art of dirty street fighting. But everything changes on Joanna's twenty-fifth birthday. She dies.

The next day, Joanna learns that there is another world beyond the glamour of Sin City. Warriors of the Light and of the Shadow battle in an immortal war. The good news is that Joanna is The One, the first real sign of the zodiac. She is half Light and half Shadow. She may very well be the city's greatest warrior. The bad part is that she wants nothing to do with any of it.

***** Paranormal Romance gets no better than this! Author Vicki Pettersson actually gives life to her characters! My heart ached whenever Joanna grieved and I even gave out a loud "YES!" as she fought the Shadow Warriors. I was pulled into the story without even realizing it. I can hardly wait for the next installment of this bright new series! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Book one was good Feb. 6 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was good and possibly the best in the series. I enjoyed it. Joanna Archer learns she is a superhero and her parents were superheroes from opposing sides of light and dark. Joanna watches her sister die and then must become her to hide her identity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! June 15 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a well developed and engaging story. A new favorite author without question! I can't wait to read the next book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  167 reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Captured my attention May 15 2010
By E. Hodgson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked up this Kindle download because it was free and it sounded interesting. When I was finished reading it I searched out the next three books in the series and bought them, which shows that giving away a free book can really lead to MORE sales for the author and is excellent advertising.

The story isn't exactly fresh and original. If you've read urban fantasy you have seen the underlying themes explored in this book dozens of times. But the execution of the book, the writing and storytelling are well-done and engaging. If not exactly a new take on urban fantasy as a genre, it's at least an excellent example of it. You have your standard kick-ass heroine with super-powers, big baddies who are her nemeses, a world that exists alongside but hidden from the real world, and lots of angst. I really enjoyed the book and felt engaged enough to pay to read the continuing series, and I feel that is a glowing recommendation in itself.

The world-building didn't work terribly well for me. The story is told first-person from the heroine's point of view, and since she is thrust all unaware into the world of the Zodiac the reader is as well. Joanna has no idea what is going on half the time and information is doled out to her (and the reader) in dribs and drabs. I can't think of a good way for the author to avoid this other than an info-dump due to the constraints of the narration being from Joanna's point of view. Perhaps it is intentional, a way to build suspense and keep the reader guessing along with Joanna as to exactly what's up with the Zodiac and how it works.

The dialog felt natural and the characterizations felt real. Though it is an ongoing series, this book has a satisfying ending that doesn't force you to continue reading the series unless, like me, you really enjoyed it and wanted to continue reading about The Archer's adventures.

Kindle formatting was good.
85 of 95 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre writing, but keeps you hooked to the end March 3 2007
By Christina Ravens Bridges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book at a bookstore, not knowing what to expect. It sounded interesting, but the back cover didn't really tell you what it was all about...girl gets abused, girl gets angry, girl hunts the night.

This book is much more than that, much more ambitious. While the ideas are big, if a little on the hackneyed side, the writing is so-so. I've read romances, and am not hostile to them; I've read fantasy, sci-fi, dark fiction, and this was a mix of all but not enough of any. The romance bits felt uncomfortable and stiff, the fantasy felt like a retread, and there were some chick-lit moments that made me wonder why I was still reading.

And that's it. I was still reading, even though I could see the flaws. In spite of what feels like an overwritten first novel, the ideas and characters were intriguing enough that I still wanted to finish. And I did, in one day, sitting in the bath. Even as I huffed and muttered I needed to know what happened next.

Best book ever? No. But a good book for the bath or beach or when you want a relatively easy read with dark undertones. I haven't decided if I'll read the next one yet.
58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark and Edgy New Superhero! Feb. 27 2007
By SciFiChick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Joanna has grown up living the high life in Las Vegas. But she's had a troubled past and an even scarier future. Whether she likes it or not, Joanna finds herself in the middle of a war of super-powered beings. And if she makes it to her 25th birthday, she'll become one of them. The war is between the superheroes called the Light, comprised of people from the different star signs of the zodiac, and the Shadow, their evil opposites in the spectrum. Half Light and Half Shadow, no one truly trusts Joanna. She doesn't even trust herself.

While there are aspects of romance, Joanna faces more heartache than happiness. Pettersson weaves several elements from different genres: urban fantasy, violence, intrigue, superheroes, and myth. Pettersson has created an incredibly fun character in Joanna with many facets and layers to her personality.

This dark and edgy superhero story was a long novel at 464 pages. But I read it amazingly fast, as I literally couldn't put it down. I'm itching to get my hands on the next in the series that, thankfully, comes out in just a little over a month!
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like it , I really did April 18 2008
By Laura C. Hohman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Honestly, I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so and thought it had great promise. Then the major plot flaws started popping up. Top secret information available in the form of a comic book? Hiding the main character's identity through major (whole body) plastic surgery? And why couldn't the bad guys figure out her identity? Seemed like it could have been figured out with some basic logic. The Zodiac? A bunch of fools. I'm rooting for the bad guys this time - or I would be if I planned to keep reading.

By the way, this has the distinction of being the only book that I've ever given up on with only 30 pages to go. I just couldn't make myself care enough to finish.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun to read. May 17 2010
By D. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wasn't expecting much but it was free and I was in need of some light reading. I was pleasantly surprised to find it much better then I had anticipated. I liked the heroine's sarcastic banter and the dialogue between characters was believable. The story was intriguing and it very successfully rode a line between very dark and oftentimes funny.

Except for the protagonist, there wasn't a lot of character development but since it was written in the first person by her that is understandable.

All in all it was an enjoyable tale and now I am off to buy the second in the series.
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