Wednesday, 28 November 2007

‘Another One Bites The Dust’ – Jennifer Rardin (Orbit Books)

Last month I read ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’, a fast paced and fun book about a vampire assassin (and his feisty assistant) working for the US government. It reminded me of a more light-hearted (yet more hard hitting at the same time) version of ‘Blade’ and it made a nice change to the ‘urban fantasy’ that I’ve read so far this year. When its sequel, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, came through the door I was looking forward to some more of what I’d read before. I didn’t quite get what I was after but I had fun anyway.
After some time off (following the events of ‘Once Bitten’) Jaz and Vayl are hot on the trail of Chien-Lung, a dragon obsessed vampire clothed in invulnerable armour and looking to start a war with America. How do you kill a vampire whose armour makes him impervious to assault? Jaz and Vayl are about to find out and along the way will also get to grips with a new breed of monster and dreams that can kill…
Although ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ builds on some of what is learnt in ‘Once Bitten’ it doesn’t do a lot that is new. It’s very formulaic and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing in a series that is only two books old. Having said that though this series is shaping up to be very much like a supernatural James Bond and ‘formula’ seems to work just fine there…. I think the best way to put it would be that Rardin’s books are very unpretentious and ‘up front’ about what they offer the reader. You definitely know what you’re getting for your money but, at the same time, you also know what you won’t be getting as well. I’m still up for reading more but these are very much a ‘commuter’ read rather than a ‘curl up in front of the fireplace for several hours’ read.
The story itself is just as entertaining as the last but there was a lack of intrigue (no treacherous moles here!) which made it feel as if there wasn’t that much actually happening. Don’t get me wrong, there were fights, car chases and plenty of explosions but very no moments where I thought, ‘oh, so that’s what’s going on!’ Sometimes I like to be told stuff and sometimes I like to puzzle things out for myself, maybe I was just in the wrong mood to read this book.
While some things about Jaz are made clearer, it felt that not enough was said. This meant that when she got ‘supernatural help’ from Raoul it just felt like Rardin was bailing Jaz out rather than things happening for a reason. However, enough hints are dropped to suggest that we’re going to get proper answers soon; hopefully things will make sense when placed in a wider context.
One thing that I’m still enjoying though is the gradual development of relationships between the people in Jaz’ new ‘crew’. Jaz’ character in particular shows depth in her struggle to accept new friends so soon after losing old ones. However, I’m a little bit wary of the ‘little bit more than just friends’ thing that is growing between Jaz and Vayl and I’m hoping this one doesn’t go down certain paths…
If you liked ‘Once Bitten’ then I reckon you’ll have just as much fun with ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ but it didn’t quite work for me this time round. Maybe I was after a little more this time, I don’t know. There’s still enough here to make me want to try the next book though so we’ll see how that goes…

Six and a Half out of Ten

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