Publication Date: June 6, 2012
Finish Date: June 29, 2012
Source: copy for review from author
From Goodreads: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.
So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.
How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
When I got the mail from the author who asked if I wanted to review this I almost instantly decided I would review this. The book sounded original and interesting and the cover looked beautiful. Well I wasn’t disappointed
I want to start with the story, normally I don’t care about the story that much when the characters and the world building are good. But in this case the story was so good that I didn’t mind it too much that there was almost no character development and world building. The story starts off very fast paced and even felt a bit rushed at times. Constantly there is something happening. The events follow each other quickly, but due to the fast paced I also was intrigued and wanted to keep reading. There was no good point to stop reading and this book really had that keep reading feel. All in all I think the story is great and it really forms the foundation of this book. The story is original, fast paced and interesting.
On the other hand I couldn’t really connect with the characters, especially at the beginning. We just get to know Zee, the main character, but so much happens that I didn’t really got a feel for who she was. In the rest of the book I did get a better feel of her, but I still think that I would’ve liked this book better if there was more character depth. I just couldn’t get a feel for the characters until the last 25% of the book. I did think the characters where interesting and that’s why I wanted to know more about them.
Well the world building also lacked, but if I didn’t always put it in my review I wouldn’t have noticed it. Okay so there is little world building, but we get to know most of the things we need to know. It never got confusing or annoying. So the main point why I would’ve liked more world building is because I love world building, not because the book really needed it. There were a few times where I would’ve liked more explanation, but those were few. Most of the times all the relevant information was given.
Another thing I want to mention is that I think the story is a bit too short. I think it could’ve easily been 100 pages more and it would’ve been an even better book. Now there were some times the book felt a bit rushed and it seemed like there just wasn’t time to get to understand the characters.
And at least I want to say that the ending was really good, it was really original. I kept guessing how it would end and totally guessed wrong every time. I like it when a story surprises me and this one certainly did.
To conclude: I love the story, it’s great. I would’ve preferred to have more information about the characters, because I had difficulties getting a feel of who they were. Also I would’ve liked a bit more world building, but this certainly isn’t necessary. Also the pace was a bit too fast and the book a bit too short. The story surprised me a few times and I really like that.
Here is a bit of information about the author:
“As a journalist, she interviewed everyone from Daniel Radcliffe and Hugh Jackman to the president of the Maldives and Duchess Sarah Ferguson. The closest she has come to interviewing a vampire is sitting down with True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard (he didn’t bite). As a crime reporter, she used to wander neighbourhoods investigating murderers and terrorists. Once someone fired a gun on a busy downtown street and while everyone else fled and dived into doorways, she was the one running toward the sound.”
Ways to find Wynne: http://wynnechanning.com
And I am really glad I had the chance to interview Wynne Channing. So here is the interview:
Hi Wynne, and welcome to K-Books!
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me!
You always were a journalist, what made you decide to try writing instead?
I covered court trials and elections and business so some friends and co-workers were totally surprised that I would publish a paranormal YA novel. Try having this conversation with a local politician: “Hi, how are you? Yeah, everything’s good. Oh, I’m writing a book about a girl who falls into a well filled with blood...”
But what most people don’t know is that the fiction writing came first. I’ve been writing dark fantasy, dystopian and horror stories since I was a little girl.
You have experience in both journalism and writing, are there similarities between the two professions?
Definitely. They’re both about story telling and strong writing. And both require lots of caffeine!
Are there things you learned while being a journalist that you can now apply to writing?
I’ve had the fortune of meeting a lot of amazing people who’ve done and endured incredible things. That informs my writing. Readers have told me that there is a realism to What Kills Me, which is gratifying because so many parts of it are borrowed from real life. For example, the words that are spoken when my heroine Zee is captured by the vampire empire, are the ones police used after bringing down a notorious serial killer.
Now a bit more about your book
Why did you decide to write a young adult book?
My teen years were not the easiest. Bullies used to stuff my backpack into garbage bins and pelt me with snowballs. (Well, thank you bullies because from that, I honed the art of writing revenge stories!) I used to escape into books. I loved them. This is me paying it forward. I wanted to create a strong, brave heroine that young readers could relate to. One that doesn't need to be rescued by some prince.
Why did you decide to write a book about vampires?
I was always a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. And who doesn’t want to live forever in a young and fab body? (Maybe without the desperate thirst for blood part...ew.)
How did you come up with the idea for the story?
I was having a serious bout of insomnia and lay in bed, imagining all sorts of ridiculous things. The image of a girl crawling out of a well, soaked in blood, was what started it all.
I really love the cover, it’s beautiful! I also think it really fits the story. How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
Thank you! The designer, Liliana, and I went back and forth about it for weeks. The first cover she came up with featured a girl sitting on a rock with a sunset over calm waters. I liked the layout but it said: “I’m being hunted to death by an army of vampires, let me relax here a moment and ponder life.” So we talked about Zee’s fight to survive, and her inner struggle of trying to be a “good person” while everyone is telling you that you’re a dangerous monster, and Liliana came up with this cover. I use butterflies as a recurring symbol in my novel for change so the butterflies exploding from her chest represents transformation.
We do not learn much about Zee’s past in the book, maybe you can tell us a bit about how her life was like before she came to Italy?
Sure! She’s led a pretty sheltered life growing up in Winnipeg, Canada. Her parents are doting but have taught her to always be considerate and caring (which is what sets her apart in a world of murder and deceit). Her younger sister has diabetes so Zee developed this habit of trying to make her laugh to distract her from needles; her humour is what helps her get through the dark times — though it’s super annoying to her only ally, Lucas. Zee’s a “stay at home and play Scrabble with the parents” kind of girl since she only has one best friend. So she arrives in Italy, looking for adventure, looking to prove that she’s brave enough to have an exciting life. But what happens to her is not what she had in mind.
Zee doesn’t has much free time in this book. But I would like to know what kind of things Zee likes to do in her free time?
We catch up with Zee at the moment that her life is destroyed. But if we spied on her a month before the story begins, you might find her hanging with her parents, taking photos around town (her dream was to work for National Geographic, now the dream is to not get beheaded) and being the third-wheel to her best friend, Ryka, and her boyfriend.
How did you experience writing this book?
I saw every scene very vividly in my head and heard the dialogue. My favourite scenes to write were the ones where Zee and Lucas are arguing. (I loved irritating Lucas who was so unhappy to have to babysit some newbie vampire. I know. I’m mean.)
I also have a few questions about your writing habits
Where do you prefer to write?
I like to write in coffee shops without the distraction of the internet (What? Someone Tweeted a video of Channing Tatum dancing without a shirt?). But I mostly write on my couch, laptop in lap.
Do you prefer drinking coffee or tea?
I’m obsessed with loose leaf tea. If everyone bled Earl Grey Cream Tea, I’d be a vampire.
Do you have any habits when writing?
I read everything out loud. It helps me hear the flow and the rhythm of the prose which is very important to me. The reason why some books are “a fast read” is because the author was the architect of this smooth road paved with words.
How long did it take you to write “What Kills Me”?
Five to six months. It’s the first in a series so it serves to introduce the relationship between Zee and Lucas which is organically evolving, and the world of the vampire monarchy. I wanted to gauge how readers felt about What Kills Me and they’ve asked me to continue the story. So there is more adventure and death, and twists to come.
Now one last question for fun, how is it to be the one who get’s interviewed instead of the one doing the interview?
Haha! I’m happier asking the questions to be honest; but I’m always very thankful when strangers tell me things about their life and their work so thanks for the opportunity to give back.
Thanks for the interview Wynne!
And I also have a fabulous giveaway. Do you want to read what kills me? Well Wynne is giving away 5 copies of her e-book What Kills Me! So enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win this original Vampire book!
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