January 31, 2012

The Truth About Vampires • The Scarlet Dagger

The Scarlet Dagger book cover
The Scarlet Dagger by Krystle Jones
Series: The Red Sector Chronicles #1
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October 23, 2011
Source/Format: Author (Thanks!) || e-galley
[I received this from Krystle Jones. This in no way affects my review.]

Sloane McAllister lives in a world divided into two places: the White Sectors, security-heavy cities where humans live, and the Red Sectors, which are areas infested by vampires. Having been taught to fear and to fight vampires, Sloane makes it her mission to retrieve her twin brother, long considered dead and lost, from the Red Sector.

During her mission, she encounters Aden, a vampire who challenges all her notions and assumptions about the entire race of vampires. After he turns her, she discovers more about the vampires and a secret that may just destroy the lives of all the ones she loves.

Simply stated, I could not put The Scarlet Dagger down. Every single time I had to do so (in deference to work or my friends and family), I was always itching to pick it up again and forge ahead. I was hooked from the very beginning, which is no easy feat for a writer to accomplish, and I was always dying to find out what would happen next. I thought I had grown weary of the whole "vampires in novels" bit, but Krystle Jones definitely presents the lore with a fresh twist that had me utterly captivated.

The Characters

Sloane is one incredibly badass heroine. This is the most suitable description I can come up with, since she ranks right up there with Katniss and Eona. Sloane is intelligent, observant and quick on her feet - all of which are characteristics that help her survive. Her tough girl exterior seems to be firmly in place, but it's also heartwarming to see that also has a softer side to her personality, which is inspired by her loyalty to her family and friends and her budding romance with Aden. 

Speaking of Aden, I haven't fallen this hard for a vampire since Damon Salvatore. It's hard to resist him. Like Sloane, and typical of many bad boy characters, he has his heart of gold hidden under a stony exterior. Aden is a commander, his position and appearance commanding respect and emanating power. But he's also incredibly sweet, really kind and so understanding in some crucial bits. This potent combination of qualities was enough to make me swoon. All in all, it definitely makes him a great hero (or anti-hero, as may be the case) to cheer on!

The Story

From the very beginning of The Scarlet Dagger, when Sloane does something crazy and heads into the Red Sector in search of her twin Orion, I found myself completely invested in her character and wanting to learn more about her story. Krystle Jones managed to lead me along a path fraught with twists, turns and unexpected moments, colored by fast-paced action scenes and tempered by completely tender ones.

The vampire lore was presented well, as well with a refreshing twist, in The Scarlet Dagger. Some of the typical characteristics of a vampire were maintained, while others were challenged or completely turned on their head. I thought this definitely help set it apart from other vampire novels I've read.

The romance between Aden and Sloane was built up beautifully. I, like many other bloggers and friends, am not too big on the whole I-met-you-two-hours-ago-and-I-already-love-you-and-you-love-me sort of relationship (unless it's explained in a satisfactory manner). In The Scarlet Dagger, we see the eventual transition of Aden and Sloane's relationship from complete hatred, to friendship, to something (since it's not even really identified as "love", though that's what I think it was).

Apart from the romance, the fight scenes were a lot of fun to read too. I felt like most of the scenes featuring conflicts were described so well that I felt like I was there. The attention to detail wasn't overly done, but it was enough to draw you completely into the scene.

The Writing

One of the best things about the writing of this novel is how Krystle Jones manages to show us things instead of telling us about them. She shows us how Sloane comes to hold affection for Aden and her other vampire friends. She shows us just how tough Sloane is, as well as how up to par her battle skills are. I like how there are never really any open declarations about how Sloane loves the vampires, or how she's an incredible fighter, or how Aden is in love with Sloane. All of these things are predicated on seeing the characters live and interact with one another.

Another wonderful thing about her writing is that Krystle Jones has the ability to keep me on my toes! I love it when a book doesn't throw a predictable scenario at me. It may have been in part due to my very relaxed mindset while I read, but I have to say that I never really knew what was coming next (until nearly the end). There were always things I didn't expect happening, and this definitely helped me stay interested in the novel. It was definitely an incredible pleasure to just sink into the page and let the author's words guide me from moment to moment.

Personally, I say you should...

... definitely read this novel, especially if you're a fan of paranormal YA novels with great characters and interesting lore. I can't wait to see what happens in the next book!


  1. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. And I'm dying for the next book to be written :)

  2. This really sounds like an interesting read. I feel lately most vampire novels have gotten softer, not as dark as they probably should be - this one sounds like it's gotten back to what vampire books should be!


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