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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sheep Book Review: Darklands by Nancy Holzner (ARC)

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.

“You know how after a nice, long, restful sleep, you wake up to find things don’t seem so bad after all?
Me either.”-Vicky Vaughn

There are many reasons I read Urban Fantasy; I love kick-ass, snarky female women like Holzner’s demon-exterminating heroine Victory Vaughn. The second reason is the alpha male hotties that tend to hang around said kick-ass women <G>. And the third is kick-ass (yes, I use this adjective a lot when talking about Urban fantasy) world building.

Darklands is the fourth book in this series, but you can easily read this as a stand-alone because the first two chapters catch you up on what has happened in the previous books. Of course that means you will run into some spoilers from the previous books if you are a new reader, while longtime followers of the series might have the urge to skim, but don't because Holzner does a great job of weaving in the backstory and new material with big dose of humor. The story opens with Vicky as a speaker at Tina’s (Vicky’s teenage zombie ex-apprentice) High School for Career Night and an uninvited visual aid shows up. I did mention that Vicky’s job is a demon exterminator <G>?

Vicky’s life has been shaped by the tremendous amount of guilt she has been carrying around. Not only does Vicky feel guilty about her father’s death, but also for embracing her Cerddorion (shapeshifting) abilities and the friction that causes with her mother and sister. Then there is Kane, Vicky’s werewolf boyfriend who wants to take their relationship to the next level, which conflicts with her Cerddorion lifestyle. All this guilt sits on her gut like a giant quivering maggot…oh, wait! It really does in the form of an Eidolon demon that Vicky gives the nickname “Butterfly”. I sure hope we get to see more of “Butterfly” in future books.

I was impressed with Holzner’s world of demons and the supernatural after reading book one, Deadtown, which is based on Welsh mythology. In Darklands she created a new and fascinating place that lies between the human realm and the afterlife called the Darklands, once again twisting Welsh myths and the legends of Arthur into something original and clever. I can’t stress enough how much I admire intelligent world building and Holzner delivers with this series.

And if I want to get all smarty-pants about the book I can say the title not only refers to a physical place Vicky must venture in order to save the world, but also an emotional place where she must save herself from guilt. But, that hurts my brain too much so I will stick to thinking about that smexy werewolf (growl) Kane and where I might be able to find one…I wonder if he has a brother…

This is another home run in the Deadtown series with page turning action, humor, clever world building and a twist at the end I didn’t see coming. Love it when that happens.

5 “Creepy ass cloak wearing” Sheep

SharonS (edited by BAK)

Nancy Holzner

Nancy Holzner grew up in western Massachusetts with her nose stuck in a book. This meant that she tended to walk into things, wore glasses before she was out of elementary school, and forced her parents to institute a “no reading at the dinner table” rule. It was probably inevitable that she majored in English in college and then, because there were still a lot of books she wanted to read, continued her studies long enough to earn a masters degree and a PhD.

She began her career as a medievalist, then jumped off the tenure track to try some other things. Besides teaching English and philosophy, she’s worked as a technical writer, freelance editor and instructional designer, college admissions counselor, and corporate trainer. Most of her nonfiction books are published under the name Nancy Conner.

Nancy lives in upstate New York with her husband Steve, where they both work from home without getting on each other’s nerves. She enjoys visiting local wineries and listening obsessively to opera. There are still a lot of books she wants to read.


  1. Nancy is a fab author and this series is on my top five UF list. Great world building, plenty of snark and boatloads of action.

    1. exactly! and don't forget the hottie werewolf lawyer she gets to boink!

  2. I love the Deadtown series and Darklands has been on my radar for a while now. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. =o)

    1. worth the read, hope you get a copy soon! We have an interview with her coming up on Aug 2 and there will be a chance to win a copy! Thanks for stopping by :)

    2. After I commented here yesterday, I went ahead and ordered a copy. Should be in my hot little hands next week. =o)

  3. WOW I do love a 5 sheep rating! Makes me want to run out and grab this one. Plus when you add some creepy ass cloaking wearing peeps to the mix it just adds to the boiling over pot of goodness! Woot!

  4. Another awesome review for this book! The series is on my wishlist, but I have to read some other series first before I am allowing myself to buy new ones.

    1. yay! you will love it...wait till you meet the guy with the creepy ass cloak! :shudder: