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Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Author: Jaye Wells
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V4, S3, H3
Publisher and Titles: Orbit
    “Vampsploitation” in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, Volume 2 (prequel, Running Press, 2009)
     Red-Headed Stepchild (4/2009)
     The Mage in Black (4/2010)
     "Violet Tendencies" (e-novella, 2011)
     Green-Eyed Demon (3/2011)
     Silver-Tongued Devil (1/2012)
     Blue-Blooded Vamp (6/2012)
     "Rusted Veins" (e-novella, 10/2013)

     This post was revised and updated on 7/13/12 to include a review of the fifth novel in the series: Blue-Blooded Vamp. That review appears at the very end of this post and is preceded by an overview of the world-building and brief reviews of novels 1-4:  

     In this world, all vampires have red hair, while mages (magic users) have various shades of brown or black hair. Because Sabina has red-streaked black hair, the world knows that she is of mixed blood—a half-breed and, therefore, an outcast. Contributing to Sabina's isolation is the fact that her aristocratic vampire grandmother, Livinia, has raised Sabina to be a mage-hating slayer who hunts down and kills at the behest of the Vampire Council. 

     Sabina’s primary love interest is Adam Lazarus, a mage from New York City, but an old flame—Slade, a fellow hunter—turns up in book 2 to complicate matters. Near the end of book 1, Adam unveils to Sabina the secrets of her mysterious birth and the mage family she never knew she had. In each book, Sabina and her friends fight against political and personal enemies in both the vampire and the mage world. Another group that causes problems for Sabina and her allies is the Caste of Nod, a secret society of humans who seem to hate most supernaturals.

     There is a prophecy involved, too: that Sabina is the Chosen—the one who will unite all of the dark races (i.e., vampires, mages, fae). This prophecy complicates Sabina's life because there are many among the dark races who want to get rid of Sabina so the unification can never occur. Although humans are included in the series, they serve mostly as a backdrop to the supernatural happenings. 

     An interesting note: applewood stakes and apple-juice-filled bullets can kill these vampires—a connection with the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve’s downfall. Some of the characters in that biblical story also play major roles in the later books of the series, including the villainous Cain. Comic relief comes in the form of Giguhl, Sabina's sarcastic and randy Mischief demon minion, who turns into a hairless cat when he's not in full demon form

     I love this series. The story lines are compelling and the characters are well developed. Even Giguhl gets some depth by book 4. Sabina can be a bit whiny and angsty at times, but she gets marginally better by book 3 and is fine in book 4 (even though her life is falling down around her most of the time). Adam makes a great heroflawed but courageous. He has Sabina's back most of the time, and when he doesn't, he's still trying to do what he thinks is right

     Click HERE to read free on-line stories by Jaye Wells that are part of the SABINA KANE series, including a prequel to Red-Headed Stepchild

        BOOK 1:  Red-Headed Stepchild        
    In the opening book, we meet Sabina, Livinia, Adam, and other support characters, so there is the usual amount of first-book exposition. Livinia orders Sabina to infiltrate a group run by a devious demon/vampire named Clovis that poses a threat to the Vampire Council, which puts Sabina in a very dangerous position. Adam enters the scene with two purposes: to convince Sabina that she should accept her mage heritage and to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a huge number of mages. Along with Vinca, Sabina's fae roommate, Sabina and Adam combine forces to take down a whole host of villains. For the first time in her life, Sabina finds herself questioning Livinia's authority. Click HERE to read chapter 1.

        BOOK 2:  The Mage in Black        
     In this book, Sabina meets her mage family and begins her training so that she can use her magic skills. Unfortunately, the Hecate Council, which is the mage equivalent to the Vampire Council, has its own plans for Sabina as the hostilities between the vamps and the mages heat up. The relationship between Adam and Sabina is still simmering on the back burner, but in the meantime, Sabina's old partner, Slade, is now one of the most powerful vampires in New York City, and he's still feeling attracted to Sabina. As the story progresses, Sabina finds herself submerged in mage politics, and she soon finds that mages can be just as cold and hard hearted as her grandmother Livinia ever wasClick HERE to read chapter 1.

        BOOK 3:  Green-Eyed Demon        
     In the third novel, Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl head to New Orleans at Halloween to rescue Sabina's twin sister, Maisie from the clutches of their evil grandmother, Lavinia. As the story progresses, Sabina's group of allies begins to grow, until eventually it includes vampires, shifters, fae, and mages. But will it be enough to defeat the villainous Livinia? Sorry, but I won't reveal that tiny bit of infoyou'll have to read the book, and you'll enjoy the story, I promise. We do get one level-4 sex scene in this book (finally!), but I'm keeping the sensuality rating at 3 because the focus in this book is absolutely not on the sexit's on the action scenesClick HERE to read chapter 1.

        BOOK 4:  Silver-Tongued Devil        
     As the book opens, Sabina is sharing a New York apartment with Adam, Giguhl, and Giguhl's "girlfriend," Pussy Willow (aka Brooks, a trans-sexual exotic dancer whom we met in the previous book). Sabina is trying to suppress her vampire side so that she and Adam can live the mage life that he craves for her. Unfortunately, that confrontational vampire nature just won't stay hidden, and it eventually surfaces just enough to interfere with their romance. Adding to their relationship problem is the fact that Sabina failed to tell Adam about a very brief fling she had with her old partner, Slade, a few months ago. Here, Sabina reflects on her vamp/mage problem: "From the start, Adam had encouraged me to get in touch with my mage side. Until he showed up, my mage blood had been a source of shame, something to ignore and hide. Because of him, I realized I had power I'd never conceived of before. Because of him, I found my sister and an extended family....But all of these wonderful things had a darker side. Because even as he was pushing me to get in touch with my magic, he was also pulling me away from my vampire side. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I'd missed her. She wouldn't let anyone push her around. She went after goals with the stubbornness of a mule. She was strong and brave and confident. All things I'd lost when I left her behind..." (p. 293)

     The primary plot line follows the time line of events leading up to the all-important peace treaty that will end the ongoing conflict that has existed among the vamps, mages, and fae. Shortly before the big treaty-signing day, someone murders a human and a mage and makes the killings look like the work of a vampire. Sabina and Adam are assigned to track down the killer, along with a young female vampire from California who's out to prove that she can out-bad Sabina. (No chance of that!) Meanwhile, Sabina's sister, Maisie, is having nightmares about the monstrous Cain, and so is Sabina. Maisie has not yet recovered—either emotionally or physicallyfrom the ordeal she suffered in the previous book when Livinia captured her and starved her. As the climax approaches, Sabina must travel to another plane of existence to rescue Maisie and confront Cain. The ending is a cliffhanger, with Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl off on yet another quest. The humor in this book again comes mostly from Giguhl, who is coaching a supernatural roller derby team at Vein, Slade's vampire nightclub. This is another great book in a fantastic UF seriesClick HERE to read chapter 1.

     Wells has a great way of sketching a scene with just a few words. Here, Sabina and her friends have just walked into a punk-rock concert: "The audience clogged the dance floor like arterial plaque. Humans, mostly. Kids dressed in black with multiple piercings and enough angst to power the Eastern seaboard." (p. 163)   

     One last thing: On Etsy, you can buy jewelry that is based on the SABINA KANE series. Check it out HERE.      

        BOOK 5:  Blue-Blooded Vamp        
     The series conclusion begins just 48 hours after the climactic scene from the previous book in which Cain murdered Maisie. Sabina is reeling with grief and burning with rage. Remember, this is the real, original Cainthe one from Genesis 4 who murdered his brother—the oldest living human. Cain wants to use Sabina's Chthonic magic (aka earth magic) to help him kidnap Lilith. Here, Sabina explains, "In addition to being the man who invented murder, Cain was also the psycho ex-boyfriend of the Great Mother. They'd created the vampire race together before Lilith kicked him to the curb to marry the demon Asmodeus and become the Queen of Irkalla [aka the Underworld]. Cain was convinced he and Lilith belonged together, and most of his plots revolved around getting her back. But according to the prophecies...if any of the dark races gained power over the other races, Lilith would return to the mortal realm and kill us all....Cain's obsession would have been sad and desperate if succeeding didn't mean the destruction of all the dark races." (p. 17)

    As the story opens, Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl are in New Orleans, where they enlist assistance from an old acquaintance as they get ready to head for Italy to track down the mage who calls himself Abel. Sabina is obsessed with vengeance against Cain, and she is sure that Abel will help with that, since he has dedicated his life to keeping Cain out of circulation. (To review, just before Maisie was killed, she was forced to release Cain from Abel's long-term captivity.) 

     The plot follows Sabina and her gang as they head for Rome to confront Abel, whoshockinglyturns out to be an important person from Sabina's past. With Cain in hot pursuit, the team must enter the depths of Irkalla to prove to Lilith that Sabina is really the Chosen. Because the Chosen is the only person who can kill Cain without dire consequences, Sabina wants to make sure that she actually is the Chosen before she strikes Cain down. While in Irkalla, Sabina meets many dead people from her pastsome friends and, unfortunately, some enemies (including, of course, her old nemesis, Livinia). If you've been reading the series, you'll recognize many of them from earlier booksall the way back to Clovis and Vinca from book 1.

     This book is all about balance. Sabina has always had to deal with the two opposing sides of her genetic heritage: mage and vampire. As payment for passage through the five gates of Irkalla, she must sacrifice parts of herself in order to save the world from Cain, and she comes to understand herself in a way that she never has before. Sabina's relationship with Adam is, by now, solid and loving. He has made peace with her vampire nature and even seems to enjoy being her blood donor. They still have their disagreements, of course, but their long-term relationship appears to be a sure thing. At one point near the end of the story, Adam gives Sabina a lecture on her tendency towards heroic martyrdom: As much as you don't want to admit this, you are as vulnerable to the vagaries of fate as the rest of us. But you're so determined to control everyone and everything that you take the blame for every bad thing that happens." (p. 404) Go Adam! You should give that lecture to every guilt-filled, angst-ridden, mea-culpa-chest-thumping UF hero and heroine in the paranormal fiction world (and that includes most of them)!

     As the book reaches its conclusion, (with its requisite climactic battle between Sabina and Cain), Sabina becomes the key to an alliance that will keep the dark races safe and secure for the foreseeable future. By the time the Epilogue rolls around, almost everyone has found their HEA, including Giguhl. Except for some mildly confusing details about Irkalla, this book is a satisfying ending for the series, as its heroine finally achieves harmony in her personal life, and the dark races live on in peace—still hidden from the human world.


  1. There's a short story novella "Violet Tendencies" released on 04/18/2011.

    Also the next book scheduled to be released is "Silver-Tongued Devil" on 12/28/2011.

    The author has several free short stories/flash fiction available on her web site under Extras.

  2. Not all mages, in this series have black hair as it is written that Adam has Sandy coloured hair. The black in Sabina's hair comes from her father.

  3. i love these books and I don't normally like to read, charliie