Of Scions and Men by Courtney Sloan #Review

Of Scions and Men by Courtney Sloan #ReviewOf Scions and Men by Courtney Sloan

Series: #1 American Scion
Genres: Dystopian Romance, Fantasy Romance
Published by Curiosity Quills on February 22, 2016
Pages: 298
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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five-stars      two-flames

This was one of the To Be or Not To Be…Read voter choices.  There was a tie, folks.  Ha!  Yep, so I pretty much flipped a coin and here we have our winner.  Fabulous as always when the readers pick for me.

I love vampire stories, but I’ve read many and it’s hard for me to find a refreshing take on them.  Not only did this gem of a story offer me just such a story, but it included a fantastic cast of characters and a gritty post-apocalyptic urban fantasy plot that captivated me from beginning to in.

The story opens with vampire scion, Rowan Brady, going about her day job policing the prets (preternaturals) by hauling in a vamp who abused the laws by taking blood from an unlicensed source- namely small children- making her feel especially glad to get one more bit of scum off the dangerous streets of post-reclamation Chicago.

Rowan is a survivor and has done what she had to do to keep her and her little brother alive.  Humans look down on her choice to become the scion of a vampire in exchange for basic needs and a home, but her brother is worth it and it doesn’t hurt to finally not be starving and living on the edge all the time.  She might get irritated with having Devon constantly in her head and to be at his beck and call for blood and social events, but he’s not a bad sort.  He allows her more freedoms and puts up with her attitude more than most would.  At least her status allows her to do a job that fulfills her unlike some scions who are vampire pets and more.

Things start to get interesting when a vampire and her scion from Canada arrive looking to convince America about a radical change in the way the blood laws are writing, gruesome serial killings start happening and Rowan with her partner must investigate, and a person from Rowan’s past shows up with a hidden agenda.  And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Rowan and the others have managed to catch the dangerous eye of the Vampire King.  At some point, she might have to squeeze in some time for sleep.

Alright, so this was a book that grabbed me from the beginning and kept me right there through the whole thing.  The reader is slowly trickled the details of this darker, grittier world where humans discover that the monsters are real and now they’re in charge.  Blood is the new big commodity and a loaf of bread can cost the price of a car before the Reclamation (when vampires ended the last world war when humans had nearly annihilated their own race).  The big wars have decimated the world and returned the outer extremes of the country into the wilds and the only protection and help is in a few heartland cities.  Life is hard and daily survival is the goal.

The blend of dystopian and urban fantasy with vampires, shifters, mediums, ghosts, and the human hybrid, Scions makes for an action plot that is balanced with the character growth and development of the sole narrator and heroine of the story, Rowan Brady.  It paces out with a variety of fast and pulse-pounding scenes and some steady ones.  There is a lot going on and at first the reader has little idea who is who, what is what, and what is going on.  But this wasn’t a bad sort of confusion.  I loved slowly having this story unwrap the details and explain itself as it went.

Rowan is rough and snarky and hides as much of herself as she can.  Even in the end, I had a sense that there is more to come as she is a deep character.  Becoming a scion is considered by most humans to be the act of selling herself.  Her fiance’ trashed her in her community and then turned his back on her.  The human police and others she encounters through her job give her a hard time as well so now she hides the hurt behind a wall.

She has a conflicted relationship with the vampire, Devon, she is bonded with.  He wants more than she is willing to give, but surprisingly he doesn’t force her to cross important lines she has drawn.  He irritates her most of the time except that he is also a generous and warm person who protects and makes her and her brother’s life easier because he cares.  As the reader, I understood more about Devon than Rowan did and he is also another one with more reveals to come, I think.

When her ex returns with a tantalizing offer, the confusion and conflict inside grow.  He seems to have had a change of heart, but she is not oblivious to the fact that he has also changed a lot.

And then there’s her investigation which provides a suspense element to the plot.  There is a serial killer loose and the investigation is showing that there is a tie-in with the very secret scion-making process that has the vampire hierarchy wanting the case solved and are pressuring Rowan, Devon, and their Canadian counterparts to tidy things up quickly.  Rowan’s policing partner, Lyle, a bird shifter, is a bright and shining note whenever he’s about and they make a good team with their own style of bond like two battle buddies share.

The books story arc is tied up with a nail-biting climax scene, but I was excited to see where the series seems to be headed.  Some interesting things came out at the end and already there are new tantalizing mysteries to ponder while I wait for the next installment.

Urban Fantasy and dystopian lovers who like gritty, absorbing plots and tough yet engaging characters should snag this one for a lot of book loving.

My thanks to Curiosity Quills Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #295 UF
New to Me #119 author/series
Blogger Shame #42

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • that’s true that it’s difficult to find something original in vampire stories after so many of them but it’s great that it’s the case here. It’s been a while since I haven’t read a book like that

    • Yes, it was neat to start reading and realize that I had no idea what was going on or what these vampires were like. Usually I have it pretty much figured out because vampires stories are alike many times. So nice! 🙂

  • I just read a book where the authors take of vampires was so refreshing! May have to try this one. Great review Sophia!

  • ohhh, fantasy romance and with a 5 star rating. Haven’t read a book like this one but if I ever start to read one, this book will be number 1 in my list. Amazing review Sophia!

    • Yes, it was an intense vampire suspense, Vanessa. Hope you like it if you get to try it. 🙂

  • I really like the sounds of this book. The cover looks very romantic suspense. I love dystopian and vampire books, so this is right up my alley. *runs to see if it is available on audio* LOL

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • I think you’ll like it, Melanie. 🙂 I tripped over it a while back and was glad to finally read it. The cover does look more RS, you’re right, but there is an RS feel to this story, too, because Rowan works as a cop for the non-human crimes.

      Good luck on your audio book hunt. 🙂

  • Flipping a coin sounds like a good way to pick a winner in case of a tie. I don’t read as many vampire stories anymore, but there was a time when i read a lot of them. It’s great when you find one that takes an original spin on the topic. This one sounds very good with the suspense element thrown in. And I like the sound of the romance and that’s good to hear Devon doesn’t force her into anything even though he would like more. Great review!

    • Haha! Yes, I had plans to try to read both- and I have by the time of this post, but at the time, I couldn’t squeeze them both in so coin toss it is. 🙂

      I still love vampire stories, but I don’t usually pick them up now unless it is a long standing series I love or if the new one seems to have a fresh take. And yes, the suspense element and the worldbuilding were strong so I gave this one a go and I’m glad. The romance was barely there and understated so I look forward to where it goes as the series continues.