Title: The Scent of Shadows
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Signs of the Zodiac #1
I am always on the look out for new Urban Fantasy Series to start, and on twitter I jumped into a conversation about this series, and was convinced to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. While I had a lot of issues with the story, I can't wait to get my hands on book 2. This is one of those books that there are so many twists and turns that it's almost impossible to review it without giving something away-but I will do my best not to spoil anything!
Joanna Archer is a member of the powerful and wealthy Archer family. Her father has built an empire from the gaming industry in Las Vegas and is a big fat jerk. Joanna has always been a disappointment to him. His disappointment in her started from a horrible event that happened when she was a teenager, and continued into an adulthood when she chose to photograph the seedier side of Las Vegas that only comes out at night.
One night while taking pictures Joanna hits a homeless man with her car. He tells her this crazy story of how he is the leader of the zodiacs, a group dedicated to protecting Las Vegas from the bad guys. She thinks he is crazy and forgets all about his ramblings until she gets caught up in the forces of good and evil and has to make some painful choices in order to survive. Joanna discovers that she's apart of the Zodiac group that fights on the side of everything good, light and innocent. She's managed to make a few enemies both on the evil side-a guy named Ajax who just won't go away, and on the good guys side. She just can't convince her new Zodiac team members that she really belongs with them.
The world created in the Scent of Shadows is a complex one filled with characters who have amazing superhero abilities, and evil guys who can tell who the good guys are just by their smell. Joanna is a tortured heroine. Past events have made her trust very few people in her life, When the walls she has built around herself come tumbling down, she's forced to face her past that she's hidden away for years.
One of the hardest parts of reading this book are all the events that happen to Jo make her walls come down. I felt like I was going through them with her, and honestly I didn't understand why some of those things had to happen and almost stopped reading the book a couple of times in the middle of the book. I'm glad I preserved with the story because the second half of the book is where all the action is. Once Jo joins the Zodiac team, things that happened in the first half of the book begin to make sense and you see why they had to happen.
There were a few things that bothered me about the story. One was the way some people where seen at the very beginning of the book only to be forgotten about once she became a member of the Zodiac team. The romance part of the book felt like it was just kind of thrown in there. I have a feeling this was done on purpose and the guy will play a bigger part in the second book. It was such a fleeting part of the book that I really didn't care if he stuck around or not. Which is really unusual for me. I have to admit though, that I am looking forward to seeing more of the members of the Zodiac Team in the upcoming books. There powers are pretty cool and there are some personalities that have stories to be told. While this book is much darker then what I'm used to, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books. No meters as this isn't really a romance!