Memory Zero is a fantastic start to an urban fantasy trilogy. It feels like I haven't read UF of this kind in a long time, and I loved every page.
I really enjoyed this vision of the world - with supernatural creatures of a few different types out and about in a kind of nonchalant way. I also liked that it was set in Australia - I haven't read much UF set in Australia!
Character-wise, we follow Sam and Gabriel, but there's a host of intriguing characters around them. Sam is delightfully kick-ass, and I was very glad to see her holding her own throughout the book. I liked that while it's clear she's not exactly what she thought she was (plain Jane human), she also wasn't developing new skills left and right to save herself! Hopefully we'll find out what the deal is with Sam and what the limits are on her powers in the next book! The amnesia thing felt a little familiar - I'm going to cheat here and say that the reasons around this weren't what I thought they were, and I think the series handles it very cleverly.
Now, Gabriel is a pretty powerful guy in terms of both his role in the special investigations bureau (spook squad) and his own skill set. There's some chemistry between him and Sam, and I want to see this explored in more depth. This feels like a slow build, but hopefully we'll get some pay off in the next book! I think it as very smart to give us his perspective because, ignoring that this allows us to follow the investigation without having Sam and Gabriel tied to each other, but because it gives us important insight into his behaviour.
The supporting characters are colorful. Gabriel's family is vast and not all loveable people. I want to spend more time with them, getting to know more of them, and how the Federation relates to them.
Otherwise, I loved the depth of distrust in this book. Everyone's playing their cards so close to their vests, and it seems like it's smart to suspect everyone of playing for the wrong side.
I was completely hooked by the mystery of this book. I want to know more about Sam's past, and to see how she'll deal with the 'spook squad'.
After putting this book down, I immediately started reading the second in the trilogy (even though it's not scheduled to be reviewed until late September!) - I could not wait to find out what happened next.
I would definitely re-read this one - I know there were details that I missed or didn't attribute enough significance to the first time I read through this.
Why had I never read Keri Arthur before? This is the exact kind of urban fantasy that I love - kick-ass main characters, dire threats, a world that's mostly familiar with some preternatural twists, and enough sexual tension/romantic subplot to have me crossing my fingers for an ultimately happy ending for the couple. Grab this one if you're into urban fantasy / action stories.
* received via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
While investigating her missing partner, Sam Ryan is suddenly charged with murder and no one left to trust, but she gets some unexpected help from shapeshifter Gabriel Stern, who is concealing startling secrets in this riveting paranormal fantasy.
This fast paced and smooth flowing plot keeps readers shivering in anticipation with suspense, action and drama. The well written scenes and details capture the imagination and the well orchestrated suspense and drama arouses the reader’s curiosity while the action scenes lots of thrills and excitement. The characters are strong compelling, easily related to and grab the reader’s attention from the beginning.
There’s not much in the way of romance in the story, though there is a little flirtation and some hints of a maybe romance – one day? The story is more about the greed and evil of beings where paranormal or not. Spine tingling tension builds throughout the story as the evil plot thickens and the more the reader learns the more engrossed in the story they become. The story starts off with action and excitement and continues throughout as the danger escalates and several attempts on Gabriel and Sam’s lives…or are they really trying to kill them both. The story has lots of twists and surprises to keep the reader’s on their toes and while the main character is Sam, all of the characters involved are fascinating and add spice and drama to the story.
Sam’s past and the secrets that are being slowly revealed builds curiosity and adds depth to her present situation and the reader can’t help but get caught up in her story as she not only learns things about herself that rocks her world, but she learns the meaning of betrayal.
The author has created a fascinating world and characters that is enjoyable and entertaining and I can’t wait to read the next one.
4 ½ STARS
I spent my birthday with a new series (for me) that I was really enjoying. The Spook Squad by Keri Arthur. The premise and story are fascinating, involving a close-to-us parallel world where nonhumans live alongside normal in an uneasy balance. They are policed by the SIU, a shadowy group set up to police nonhumans.
The main character in the book is Sam Ryan, a State Police Officer. As far as Sam is concerned, she is fully human – but is she truly? With no memory of the first 14-years of her life, Sam is an exemplary officer, but she is also a haunted woman, searching for her life before she awakened in a foster home at 14.
zero In Memory Zero we first meet Sam as she is set to meet with her partner, Jack, in a dark and stinking back alley of Melbourne. Jack – who has been missing for over two weeks, supposedly the victim of an unknown cop killer. Called to the alley by the missing Jack, having promised to tell no one, Sam finds much more than she expects as the Jack she meets is no longer human, but instead is a vampire. And something else – something much, much worse. Killing the man who is her partner, and yet not, Sam is pulled into a whirlwind of terror which begins to pull her history from her own mind, opening doors that should have stayed closed.
18Generation 18 is the second in the series, and continues Sam’s story. Now a member of the SIU, she is partnered with Assistant Director of the SIU, Gabriel, the two are neck deep in the investigation of a serial killer who is targeting a seemingly unrelated group of victims, whose only link is that they are all adopted, and all have red-gold hair. We learn a lot more about Samantha in this volume, and I really came to admire and like her, though not Gabriel, a cold and isolated man, determined to shake Sam off as his partner. He is determined to never have a partner again after the death of his former two partners, one of whom was his mate, Andrea. That loss, when he was 18, has set in his mind that he will never allow anyone close to him again, not even his twin brother. Struggling to catch the killer, the invisible Sethanon, Sam has to fight not only her growing memories, and her jackass of a partner, but also a growing threat against herself and who she may, or may not, be.
pen Penumbra is the third book in the trilogy, and builds up the series to a massive head, as Sam finally realizes who, and what she is. And who Gabriel is supposed to be to her – though he desperately fights it. Tracking a mix of clones, shapeshifters and shapechangers, the murders come fast and furious as the military comes closer and closer to achieving their goals of an unstoppable army, and Sam comes to realize that her dreams of her twin are not only real – but that they are much more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.
I was really liking this series. I mean, really liking it – enough that I sat other things aside and continued reading through all three books without stopping, other than to do what I absolutely had to.
EDIT TO REVIEW:
It appears that the whole "won't be publishing any longer" wasn't actually Keri's fault. Here is a note from here. I really loved the books, Keri, and will be updating all my reviews. I also just finished Full Moon Rising and will be writing a review on that one too. Loved it.
Sorry I’ve upset you by not finishing the series…but the reason is not as simple as I didn’t feel like finishing it. I had planned a 4th book, but the Riley Jenson series came along and given it was my first major book contract (along the publisher’s decision to release the first 4 books in one year), I had to give priority to that series rather than the Spook Squad novel. And I’m afraid that several years away from the Spook Squad world meant I was no longer immersed in it. I’d rather leave a series unfinished than make a total and utter mess of it.
However, with Bantam re-releasing the series in paperback in the US, I did write a brief (5 page) epilogue that gave some closure on the relationship aspects. The rest of the plot (and the war) does remain unfinished.
Again, sorry to upset and disappoint you. I wish I could finish the series, too, believe me, but there’s just too many other books I have to write.
So, now we know why Spook Squad was never finished – the demands of Publishers! I am updating and reposting my reviews everywhere to take her note into account.
So, my apologies to Keri for losing my temper and being a snot!
on November 16, 2006
For Sam Ryan, life began at the age of fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her past. All she has is a crayon drawing of a woman with the word "Mommy" scrawled underneath in childish handwriting.
For the ten years Sam's been with the State Police, she's used their resources to search for any clues to her identity. But it's as if all mention of her family has been deliberately wiped off the system, and no one seems to know why.
Everything changes the night she agrees to meet her missing partner, Jack, and barely survives his attempt to kill her. Charged with his murder and suspended from the force, Sam finds herself accepting help from Gabriel Stern--a shapeshifter with secrets of his own.
As Sam delves into her partner's death, she discovers more than she ever bargained for. Because not only is her partner very much alive, but he's involved in an organization that plans a war on the human race. Worse, someone knows the truth about Sam's past, and it appears that they'd rather see her dead than have her uncover it.
The deeper she digs, the more the danger grows. It soon becomes clear that the key to surviving the present lies in unraveling the threads of her past--and in discovering not just who she is, but what she is . . .