This book was awesome. It was very entertaining and action packed.
In this book Anala is a hunter and part of the hunters society whose job is to kill the Cursed Ones (vampires). The book starts in England in the 1406 with Anala being 10 years old and being trained by her father. Anala's parent are the head of the hunters society and are the best hunters. A few years later Anala is 18 years old and patrolling the village with Thomas, her friend and love interest at the time. While she is out patrolling she gets bit by a cursed one. She becomes kind of a hybrid where she has the fangs, the vamp eyes, their strength, speed and heightened senses but she keeps her personality, her sense of self and he ability to think and speak. (In this book, at Anala's time, the cursed ones are mindless animals who cannot think or talk, eventually they evolve to be able to speak and think.) Her parents decide to try to cure her instead of kill her (as is the code of the hunters society), enlisting the help of her father's former apprentice Bernard, who is sketchy. Anala is allowed to go out hunting wearing all black and a cloak that covers her cursed eyes and she becomes what people call the Cloaked One. Anala's parents are murdered before she is able to be cured. The story now moves to California to the present day, where Anala is enrolled in high school. Bernard is still alive and tells Anala that the cursed ones are still alive and making an army (Anala had destroyed all the cursed ones during her 600 years). He charges Anala to find current hunters and train them. Anala finds the hunter teen in her high school and she trains them to fight the army of cursed ones and kill the vamp maker. Of course in comes Sam who is a descendant of Thomas and a romance is added to the mix.
I loved reading the mythology of vampires in this book. Each author has their own perspective on vampires which makes it interesting to read different vamp books. I loved the vampires in this book with the exception of them being mindless. They have super strength and speed and heightened senses. Staking doesn't kill them, only incapacitates them and put them to sleep until the stake is pulled out. The only way to truly kill them is decapitation or setting them on fire. Sunlight doesn't kill them, only thing that can happen is that their powers are reduced but still more than a human. They are also able to compel humans to their will. The vamps who are in transition to become vamps but are still part human are called hybrids. They are not as strong as full blood vamps but they still have the enhanced powers. I have to say that I did not like the mindlessness of the early vamps but they evolve to be able to think, plan and speak. I loved the vamps in this book.
The mythology of hunters is very interesting too. They are humans who have special innate abilities that allows them to fight the Cursed Ones and hybrids. Each hunter has different abilities: some have strength, some have fierceness, some have the ability to sense vamps and hybrids. They train all the time in hand to hand combat as well as with weapons, especially swords.
I loved Anala. In the beginning she is head strong, unfocused (which causes her to get bit), and impatient to begin hunting. She is young, naive and wants to prove herself. Later on in the book in the present day, Anala is more cautious with the hunters she's training and at times still unsure of herself. She is more experienced but she still has a fierce anger and she unleashes it to her hunters at times. She still struggles with the craving for blood and fights the cursed one in her all the time. She still holds fast to the code of the hunters and makes her new hunters adhere to it as well. She is weary about love but she does fall in love. She loves her hunters as well and cares for them very much. She is also trusting. Not to mention that in both eras she is totally kick ass! She is an expert in swordsmanship and combat. Reading about the fights she's in and her moves are awesome and make me wish that I could do that stuff.
The other characters are awesome as well. Amanda is hilarious and is Anala's best friend. She is a descendant of Thomas (as is her brother Sam). She seems selfish, bubbly and kind of an airhead in the beginning. However when she becomes a hunter she is strong, observant, selfless and caring especially to Anala. She trains hard and is an exceptional hunter, also doing the fighting moves that make me jealous. Sam is another character as well that I like. He is very protective of Amanda and becomes that way to Anala as well. He is not a teenager like the rest of the hunters. He is older and is a cop. He is also one of the best hunters and he and Amanda have the ability to sense vamps and hybrids. The other hunters are awesome as well. Not much is known about them and I hope we get to learn about them more in the next book. Some of the other hunters were surprising. Jenna is the captain of the cheerleading squad, Jeremy is a football player, Erica and Emily are twin sibling fencers and Zac is one of Anala's friends. Its interesting to see all these personalities thrown together and how they become a family. Its very touching.
The one thing I wasn't too fond of was the romance. First, to me at lease, its seems like it came out of left field. First Sam and Anala don't really get along, the next thing you know they're sleeping together. Also to me it seem more just about sex than love and the love was thrown in after the fact. It doesn't seem real to me and I don't feel the love between them. But that's just me. Maybe it will be different in the next book.
I loved this book and recommend it for everyone to read. I can't wait for the next book!
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews