Monday, May 24, 2010

Cheat the Grave: Seeing the Big Picture

Cheat the Grave
Sign of the Zodiac, Book 5
Author: Vicki Pettersson
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Eos (May 25, 2010)
Available at Indie Bound, Powell's Books, Barnes & Noble and Amazon

Summary: Las Vegas socialite and otherwordly avenger Joanna Archer gave up everything when she embraced mortality—abandoning her powers and altering her destiny to save a child . . . and a city. Now her former allies are her enemies—and her enemies have nothing to fear.

Yet still she is bound to a prophecy that condemns her to roam a nightmare landscape that ordinary humans cannot see and dare not enter. And a beast is on her trail—an insane killer blinded by bloodlust, who's determined to rip much more from Joanna than merely her now-fragile life.

Cheat the Grave is the fifth book in Vicki Pettersson's Signs of the Zodiac, and I am totally in awe of her talent as a writer. It's obvious to me that Vicki has a plan. She knew what her characters were going to do, and she brought the reader along for the wild ride in the fight against evil in Las Vegas.

Vicki Pettersson has taught me a lesson as a reader: trust the authors we love. The fourth book in her series had a huge cliffhanger, which left me stunned and sad for Joanna, the main character. I thought about it, and realized that Vicki must have a plan, and I was not privy to the big picture she had in her mind for Joanna. I put the book aside, and waited. I ended up winning an ARC of Cheat the Grave, and was BLOWN AWAY by the turns in the plot, the new characters, and that "big picture" I mentioned.

There are times, especially with a dark fantasy series, that a reader has to trust the author and look at the series as a whole, rather than one book at a time. When things look bleak, and we fear the characters will never resolve things, we need to remember that the author has a plan. Cheat the Grave is a prime example of this.

Fans of the series will without a doubt LOVE Cheat the Grave. I'm sure many feel like I do, and have been sucked in by Ms. Pettersson's gripping story, her rich characters and the world of magic and mayhem she has created.

You could read Cheat the Grave as a stand alone, but I think the series as a whole is so thought provoking, creative and emotional that I can't imagine not having read all of the books. If you enjoy Marjorie M. Liu, Lori Handeland or Caitlin Kittredge you'll love Cheat the Grave and the other Sign of the Zodiac books.

The Scent of Shadows, the first book in the Signs of the Zodiac, can now be downloaded FREE for a limited time. Bonus material includes the first three chapters of the newest release. It's available for the Sony Reader, the Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook and iPad.

Signs of the Zodiac:
1. The Scent of Shadows (2007)
2. The Taste of Night (2007)
3. The Touch of Twilight (2008)
4. City of Souls (2009)
5. Cheat the Grave (2010)