Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (August 30, 2011)
Read: Chapter 1
There is a fine line between love and sacrifice…. Antonio would do anything for his beloved fighting partner Jenn. He protects her, even suppresses his vampire cravings to be with her. Together, they defend humanity against the Cursed Ones. But tensions threaten to fracture their hunting team and his loyalty—his love—is called into question.
Jenn, the newly appointed Hunter, aches for revenge against the Cursed One who converted her sister. And with an even more sinister power on the rise, she must overcome her personal vendettas to lead her team into battle.
Antonio and Jenn need each other to survive, but evil lurks at every turn. With humanity’s fate hanging in the balance, they must face down the darkness…or die trying.
I first became acquainted with the plot of the first book CRUSADE upon reading the short story in the vampire anthology, THE ETERNAL KISS: 13 TALES OF BLOOD AND DESIRE. If you haven't read this story, entitled Passing, and you've started CRUSADE anyways, you don't have to worry about being lost. But, I would highly recommend reading it anyways --it really is a fantastic short story and provides a good amount of background for this series. CRUSADE was a 5-star read for me (read review here) and DAMNED did not disappoint. Though the first book is definitely my favorite of the two (the foray in Damned with monster-ish hybrids lost me a bit), DAMNED still packed one heck of a punch. For me, the strength of this series lies within the complex relationships and motivations of the supporting cast as well as Jen Leitner's journey to becoming a confident, self-possessed leader.
All the vampire hunters had interesting and well-drawn out personalities. In fact, I could see future spin-offs centering around each of the characters-Jamie, Holgar, Eriko, Skye and Antonio. Skye, with her witchcraft and dark secrets fascinated me the most. Holgar, the fierce hunter with supernatural tendencies, was a close second. Antonio, the ex-priest turned vampire was utterly fascinating and at times, heart-breaking in the way his conflicting desires weighed upon his conscience. As a vampire hunting his own kind, I was immediately drawn to his character and found myself looking forward to any and all scenes involving him. The scenes in which Antonio veered from his normal persona were the best though. It was a great way to change things up and get the heart racing. I'm glad they did it--it showed another layer to his personality and endeared his character to me even more.
With non-stop action, DAMNED is sure to make your heart race while you battle alongside the hunters as they take on some truly frightening vampires. I look forward to the next installment in this thrilling series and highly recommend CRUSADE and DAMNED to both adult and teen readers who enjoy scary, action-packed vampire books.
Nancy Holder has published sixty books and more than two hundred short stories. She has received four Bram Stoker awards for fiction from the Horror Writers Association, and her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. She has written or cowritten twenty Buffy and Angel projects. Her books from Simon Pulse include the New York Times bestselling series Wicked and the novel The Rose Bride. A graduate of the University of California at San Diego, Nancy is currently a writing teacher at the school. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and their growing assortment of pets. Visit her at nancyholder.com.
Debbie ViguiÉ holds a degree in creative writing from UC Davis. Her Simon Pulse books include the New York Times bestselling Wicked series and the Once upon a Time novels VIOLET EYES, SCARLET MOON and MIDNIGHT PEARLS. She lives in Florida with her husband Scott. Visit her at debbieviguie.com.