4 out of 4 stars
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Invasion by Roxanne Bland is an engaging dark urban fantasy/science-fiction novel set in a time where zots (exotics, humans that are different) exist, but they are viciously hunted down. In a way, the book reminded me of the currently running TV show The Gifted, where the hunt for mutants is just as fervent as it is in this book.
Kurt is an old and powerful vampire regent and Master of Seattle. Well, he used to be powerful, but something happened that made him lose most of his powers. And they are gradually still dissipating. Now, he is in such a weakened state that any vampire regent of other colonies could easily challenge him and take away his colony and kill him in the process. All because of a particular “tryst,” a spell he took part in with two other zots (the werewolf Parker and the mage Garrett), which went terribly wrong. Now, all involved got powers from each other but lost some of their own. And, especially for Kurt, this can quickly become a death sentence.
When I picked up Invasion by Roxanne Bland, based on the rather cheesy 80s-style cover, I expected something equally cheesy. Well, for once, I was glad to be proven wrong. The book turned out to be a fast-paced adventure story with lots of twists and turns. The action scenes flow smoothly, and the characters are well-fleshed out. Kurt, based on his history with the other main protagonists and some of his own flashbacks, seems to be an evil, bad-ass vampire. Yet, he ended up being my favorite in the book. There is just something about a tormented soul that is endearing and heart-warming. Also, I have a weakness for vampires.
Then we have Parker, a werewolf, and leader of the Seattle pack, who is in love with an alien and is constantly on edge. Not to mention that he has an ax to grind with both Kurt, who hurt him in the past, and Garrett, for screwing up their tryst. Garrett is a powerful witch and mage who is always in love with the wrong person, a trait that will, eventually, put her in grave danger. And let’s not forget about our alien, Melera, who comes from a faraway galaxy and whose English is adorably broken. And she loves Parker back.
This book breaks every stereotype that we have about supernatural beings. Generally, vampires and werewolves do not get along (see Twilight). And aliens simply aren’t in the picture in any of the urban fantasy novels I’ve read so far. They are strictly sci-fi material. Yet, in Invasion, the mix of these very different people (creatures?) oddly works. With Invasion, the author created a book that easily transcends genres.
The writing style is clear, with good grammar and proper formatting. In fact, I haven’t found a single major grammatical error within the pages. I think the only issue I came across once was an extra space between two letters of a word. It has been a long time since I have read such a clean copy, devoid of errors that would distract from my enjoyment of the book.
After reading Invasion, I noticed that there is a prior story in the series called The Underground. Usually, I am reluctant to read books out of series, but here I didn’t feel at a disadvantage. The author added enough background information about the characters to make them work well in a standalone setting.
I only had positive experiences while reading Invasion, so I give it 4 out of 4 stars without hesitation. I can recommend it to any reader who loves both fast-paced urban fantasies and sci-fi novels.
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