Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review : Crusade by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 480
Source: ARC Tour

The Story:

The ultimate battle. The ultimate love.For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated—and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself—and her heart.

--via Star Book Tours

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!!

My Review: One word: SATISFYING

Who told you vampires don't exist?

Well guess what? They were dead wrong; pun intended. Because the Cursed Ones do exist and they are thirsty. For blood. For power. And for control.

Six Years Ago: It was a Valentine's Day like any other until vampire spokesperson, Solomon - a hot, young, red-headed vampire - was seen on national television standing by the U.S. President revealing that his fellow mythical creatures of the night weren't only restricted to nightmares. Lying to viewers all across the country that vampires don't rip out the throats of their human counterparts. That vampires can be sustained by the blood of animals. That vampires can only "convert" humans to brethren by permission.

Two Years Ago: Not long after the vampires outed themselves after many centuries in hiding, humanity found itself at war with the far stronger, far more ruthless, far more manipulative species. And that is when the Church stepped in. For thousands of years the Church has trained and prepared lone Hunters to protect the innocent, their villages from the bloodsucking creatures. But Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie's CRUSADE isn't about any group of hunters.

Two Months Ago: CRUSADE is about the Hunters of Salamanca headed by their unconventional Master, Father Juan; Jenn, Antonio, Holgar, Skye, Jamie and Eriko. Stationed in Spain at the Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones, this makeshift so-called team - which is by the way a new concept - is not only armed with Krav Maga training and each of their personalized vendetta but with loads of stakes, holy water, garlic and crosses as well . . . Which they don't seem so adverse to using on one another.

Jenn Leitner, or 'just Jenn' as she commonly likes to refer herself as, who has rebel blood - courtesy of her grandparents if giving her grandfather that nickname of Papa Che after Che Guevara is any indication - decides that living in denial and under vampiric dictatorship isn't for her. Fleeing her "safe and protected" life in Berkeley, California, at the age 16 to Spain Jenn joins Sacred Heart Academy to become a hunter. But after two years fighting alongside her comrades she realizes that she just may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Antonio de la Cruz is a Spanish native as well as Jenn's hunting partner. A seminarian, Antonio is studying to be a priest, he fasts, prays and mediates very often in an effort of serving God. But being a man of God isn't as easy as it once was. Now he must prove himself worthy of forgiveness for the sin of what he has become. And having fallen in love with his partner Jenn, she has such a firm grasp on his being that causes his control on his inner beast to slip. But he can't give her up. Instead he vows to always keeps vigil over Jenn and never leave her. Their love is rare. An anomaly. One that could be the death of them both. How long will their love last? Will their love conquer the trails and tribulations the chaotic world throws at it?

Though the Scandinavian werewolf doesn't trust anyone, Holgar is jovial, nice guy. Every full moon he locks himself in a cage so as not to hurt others or himself. No one knows why he chose to become a hunter when werewolves, although few and far between, are generally the accomplices of vamps. He licks his wounds, make noises of a wolf and laps at water while still in human form; during his transformations loneliness eats aways at him. He is half wolf. And that means that the pack dynamic, the communion between its member is an important part of who he is. But never asks any of his teammates to stay with him, not even his partner Skye.

The English White Witch - also known as a Wiccan follower of the Goddess - Skye York may not be who everyone thinks she is. Her teammates believe that she's pure and whole but they're wrong. For unbeknownest to them, Skye is harboring a dark secret - or rather a black secret ... lover - that has haunted her since she was was fourteen. How long will it take for that particular brand of Black magick from her past to catch up with her. Like a predator stalking its prey. And to make matters worse, Skye's self-destructive fondness for bad boys still doesn't hinder. What will her love for Jamie cost her this time?
Jamie O'Leary is yet another foreign transplant in Spain. Born and raised in Ireland, he has "ferocity and [the] fighting skills drilling into him by his family during his childhood in Belfast" [Crusade, Page 20]. Driven by the death of his entire family by the hands of werewolves, Jamie is a vicious hunter who has animosity towards his two teammates Antonio and Holgar. But his armor has one kink in it. His fighting partner. Eriko.

Eriko Sakamoto is a former vampire groupie Japan turned Buddhist. Her initial purpose for becoming a hunter was to avenge the death of one of her best friends. The fiercest of the Hunters of Salamance, bestowed upon her was an special elixir that gives her superhuman strength, speed and healing power. But being the Hunter comes with a great and painful price.

Present: Together the splintered team of hunters must fight against the vampires who are infesting the world and taking it into their stronghold. Together they must uncover the traitor in their mist. Together, with the help of their new acquaintance, The Resistance, who are group of human rebels, they must lend hands - preferably holding stakes and holy water - to a fellow teammate in need. Vampire queen Aurora has kidnapped Jenn's younger sister, Heather, while she was back in California for a family funeral. Heather, the sister who begged her sister for an escape. For the chance to fight against the vampire oppression, father's denial and human slaughter. Heather, who has been given a deadline of Mardi Gras - literally - to be saved by her sister. Heather, whose capture, Aurora, has an agenda that doesn't just entail the luring of Jenn and the hunters. But one hunter in particular. Antonio.

Together the Hunters of Salamanca must save the crumpling world from the bloodthirsty vampires ... without killing each other first.

Here is some of my favorite quotes from Crusade:
Jenn & Heather:

"'Why did you go?' [Heather]
'To get my own room.' [Jenn]
A pillow sailed through the darkness and landed on Jenna's head. Fortunately, she had been expecting it. She suppressed a laugh as she hurled it back at Heather.
Jenn threw it a little too hard and felt guilty when Heather grunted at the impact." -- Page 103.

Holgar: "On Father Juan's desk sat a copy of Bernini's statue of St. Theresa of Avila in mystical ecstasy, head thrown back, lips parted, as a chubby cupid of an angel grinned at her, preparing to stab her with the little burning spear in his hand. On other occasions Holgar, a modern, lusty Scandinavian, had inwardly chortled at the rampant sexuality of the piece. There was nothing mystical about what she was feeling. Catholics, as a group, were tremendously repressed. Look at Antonio." -- Page 117

Antonio to Jenn:
"'I know that I would die for you.'
Then he turned toward her, and gazed at her, his crimson eyes filled with love. His fangs lengthening with bloodlust.
'Before I let anything happen yo you, I would die first.'"-- Pages 298-299.

***Check out Nancy Holder's website for more information about her and the Crusade: HERE
***Check out Debbie Viguie's website for more information about her and Crusade: HERE

Happy Reading!


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