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The Mage in Black Orbit 1 edition Jaye Wells

10th July 2013 Literature & Fiction 50 Comments

Sabina Kane doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, the leader of the vampire race, just tried to kill her. When she arrives in New York to meet the mage side of her family, the reunion takes the fun out of dysfunctional.

On top of that, the Hekate Council wants to use her as a pawn in the brewing war against the vampires. Her mission will take her into the bowels of New York’s Black Light district, entangles her in mage politics, and challenges her beliefs about the race she was raised to distrust. And Sabina thought vampires were bloodthirsty.

The target on the back of Wells’ gritty heroine just got a lot
bigger in this take-no-prisoners adventure.Wellsis definitely on the fast track to success. 4.5 stars! –Romantic Times Book Lovers Magazines

Raised in Texas, Jaye Wells grew up reading everything she could get her hands on. Her penchant for daydreaming was often noted by frustrated teachers. She embarked on a series of random career paths, including stints working for a motivational speaker and at an art museum. Jaye eventually realized that while she loved writing, she found facts boring. So, she left all that behind to indulge her overactive imagination and make stuff up for a living. Besides writing, she enjoys travel, art, history, and researching weird and arcane subjects. She lives in Texas with her saintly husband and devilish son. Find out more about Jaye Wells at

The target on the back of Wells’ gritty heroine just got a lot
bigger in this take-no-prisoners adventure.Wellsis definitely on the fast track to success. 4.5 stars! –Romantic Times Book Lovers Magazines

The Mage in Black (Sabina Kane, Book 2)

  • 50 responses to "The Mage in Black Orbit 1 edition Jaye Wells"

  • or not
    3:21 on July 10th, 2013
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    Publisher: Orbit
    Purchased: Bought on Amazon

    What I Loved: The whole cast of characters used in this book. Maisie, Adam, Sabina, G, and V were all fantastic. Though, I have to say Rhea is my favorite! I also really loved Micheal and Slade, they stepped it up when they needed too. I can’t really say what I loved most about this book without spoilers but I want to make sure that you understand this is one of the best Urban Fantasy Series that I have read. Jaye does a fantastic job of weaving all elements: good plot, great pacing, humor, kick *ss but tortured heroin, and an amazing supporting cast that you love almost more than the lead. It was one of those books that you can read cover to cover and not want to put down.

    What I Liked: Demon Fight Club! This was a much needed humor break and to be honest, anything that puts G in the drivers seat is fun. Plus, his last fight was classic!

    Complaints: Next book already please—you can’t just leave me hanging :)

    Why I gave it a 5: This was just such a good read. I laughed, had fun, got frustrated, wanted to strangle some characters, and felt like we got to know all the characters for exactly who they are.

    Who I would recommend it too: UF readers and even PNR readers (though this is a bit more gritty and there is no HEA).


  • Haoting Chow
    5:24 on July 10th, 2013
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    Half breed Sabina Kane has not been comfortable in the world of the vampire that she grew up in with her mom. She has limited knowledge of her patriarchal side of the world of the mage; only enough to despise them. Amongst the vampire brood she grew up with, she is a pariah of sorts even within her maternal family only worthy of the lowly occupation of vampire assassin.

    Her latest mission leads her to meeting Adam who tells her about her paternal family. She begins to widen her knowledge of other species even as her maternal grandmother demands she obey and do her job; the only task suited for one whose blood is half tainted. Her assignment is to infiltrate a rival vampire clan and kill its charismatic demonic guest or perhaps leader. The mission, if successful, may devastate the uneasy peace between the vampires and the mages, but her grandma insists she do the assignment or be an outcast for betraying her family.

    RED-HEADED STEPCHILD is an exciting action-packed urban fantasy starring an intriguing heroine who grew up knowing she is worthless because of her half-breed heritage. In the vampire world of her maternal family hybrids are expendable; a belief her grandmother enforces all the time. The story line follows closely Sabina’s escapades as her latest mission enables her to learn more about her paternal roots. With humorous asides starting with drinking human blood laced with cannabis to the final confrontation in Central Park, fans will relish the adventures of Sabina as she begins to obtain self-esteem.

    Harriet Klausner

  • Conclusion
    6:07 on July 10th, 2013
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    Former assassin, Sabina Kane has decided to travel to New York to meet her long lost twin at the Hekate Council. And being a vampire/mage hybrid, she can begin a more thorough training of her magical abilities. But after a couple attempts on her life, it seems that someone within the haven of mages wants Sabina out of the way. Meanwhile, her demon familiar decides to join a fight club, where the last rule is `no mercy.’

    Sabina is a strong, kick-butt female, who doesn’t easily trust people after the betrayal of her grandmother. Her sister and demon familiar are more light-hearted and upbeat characters that have a great contrasting affect on Sabina. They bring out a different side of her. Sabina also grows in her magical abilities, and is put to the test in several ways. And along the way, we learn that she has a mysterious destiny involving the unity of all the dark races.

    There is no sophomore slump here. This second Sabina Kane novel was even more fast-paced and action packed than the first. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down, and read it in just a few short hours. Wells’ fantastic world of a vast array of magical and mythical creatures focuses more on mages, werewolves and demons in this installment. With mystery, danger, suspense, magic, and a bit of romance, this urban fantasy series has it all. Last year, The Red-Headed Stepchild made my list of favorites, and having enjoyed The Mage in Black even more, I’m sure it will make this year’s list as well.

  • Confacebook
    6:50 on July 10th, 2013
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    The Mage in Black, book two of the Sabina Kane series, picks up where Red-Headed Stepchild (Sabina Kane) left off (picks up with a bloody vengeance, in fact), so if you’re new to the series, you’ll be missing a lot if you don’t read that book first. Yes, you could read The Mage in Black as a stand-alone, mostly because the plot of this one isn’t directly related to the plot in the first, but the characters and backstory are important enough that I wouldn’t recommend that route.

    In Book Two, Sabina is off to New York City (the Big Apple as the major seat of mage power when “the forbidden fruit” is so deadly to vampires…coincidence?) to meet the twin sister she just found out she had, but that’s not the only reason she’s going – she’s not that sentimental – she’s also going because she’s burning with the need to stick one to dear granny Lavinia, the lying, scheming, bitch of a grandmother and head of the Dominae council…and the one woman almost solely responsible for turning Sabina into little more than a conscienceless, fanged weapon. And nothing will get granny’s panties in a bunch quicker than Sabina going over to the dark side and forming an alliance with the much-hated mancies, a vampire’s most reviled enemy.

    But life in NYC isn’t what Sabina was expecting and soon she’s in over her head, feeling lost and totally overwhelmed by a mage philosophy she can’t understand and politics she doesn’t want any part of. To top it off, someone is still trying to kill her…but she’s sort of gotten used to that by now. Will Sabina be able to warm to her long lost family and embrace her half-mage heritage…or will that heritage blow up in her face and take her down, along with everyone she’s just starting to care about?

    There are a lot of things about The Mage in Black that I enjoyed. The plot is stronger and considerably less convoluted than Red-Headed Stepchild. It starts fast and bloody and keeps a nice, hectic pace, with just enough humor throughout to be entertaining. There were some lulls in the action that felt very organic to the story and instead of bogging down the plot or pace, gives the reader a bit of a breather and Sabina a chance for a bit more much-needed character growth. A few of my favorite characters are back, Giguhl, Sabina’s demon familiar, in particular, and the yummy mage Adam we meet in the first book. There is quite a nice subplot with Giguhl that I liked very much. The addition of a few interesting characters, including an old frenemy of Sabina’s, was nice and added depth to the plot as it also developed the world in which these characters inhabit. That’s a good thing, as I felt the first book a bit lacking on world-building and what was there was dished out sort of haphazardly. Not so here. I felt the world really start to snap into focus in The Mage in Black, and I very much appreciated an introduction to some of the other dark races.

    One of the things I neither liked nor particularly understood in Red-Headed Stepchild was the religious aspect of the Dominae – I felt it an odd mythos that wasn’t very well explained or described – so it was nice not to have that problem in this book, as I was worried the mage culture would be similarly structured. It wasn’t, so I was happy.

    My only significant issue with The Mage In Black is actually one of the things I had a problem with in the first book: I’m not sold on Sabina. I didn’t like her very much at all in the previous novel, and in this one, while I saw strides towards growth and healthy development, and a satisfying lessening of her inner sociopathy, none of that came quick enough in the book for me to really warm to her as a character. I understand and am familiar with a character’s development through an arc of a series, so I’m tentatively okay with not being very fond of her at this point in the story, but it does lessen my enjoyment of reading about her. Not enough to stop reading by any means, but enough that this book isn’t a five star read for me.

    I have to give Jaye Wells credit, though, as she’s deftly able to maintain a complex and damaged character who isn’t very empathetic, who has a huge morality issue and a tendency to ignore, distrust, or doubt every ounce of kindness offered to her. Wells is showing the growth of her heroine in fits and starts, and while I may not like Sabina all the time, I find that change and growth to be realistic and well-written, and think the motivations behind Sabina’s feelings and actions are sound. I hope to see continued development in the character in Green-Eyed Demon, Book Three of the Sabina Kane series, when it is released.

  • Grandpa
    7:39 on July 10th, 2013
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    Courtesy of CK2S Kwips and Kritiques

    I fell in love with this series with Red-Headed Stepchild and after Mage in Black, I love this series more than ever! How I will wait for book 3, Green-Eyed Demon I have no idea.

    Mage in Black picks up almost immediately where Red-Headed Stepchild left off, with Sabina and company on the way to NYC to meet her long lost twin Maisie, living with the mage side of her family, as part of the Hekate Council. Before they even get there, attempts on Sabina’s life make her begin to wonder if she’s just running from one mess of trouble to another.

    Upon arrival, Adam is called off on another mission and Sabina is to begin her mage training. Unfortunately, trouble follows Sabina wherever she goes, putting those closest to her in grave danger. Just when she thinks she is adjusting to her new life, Sabina discovers a prophecy that she, a misfit vampire-mage hybrid Mage in Black is destined to unite all of the magical races. How she will manage that with battling werewolves, demons, and an old lover, Hekate only knows.

    Sabina is a tough girl who is wounded on the inside as a result of family betrayals and finds it very hard to trust anyone. Here we see her opening up a little bit more to the few people (or demons) she does trust, and discovering that in spite of her past experiences, not everyone in her life is out to wound her. Maisie is the exact opposite of Sabina and so excited to meet her sister finally that Sabina finds herself drawn to the relationship her sister wants to create. We also see Sabina growing even more comfortable with Giguhl, her trusty demon familiar, whose nickname “Mr. Giggles” so perfectly suits him every time he puts in an appearance. I always find myself laughing out loud over his exploits, most meant to protect Sabina from those who wish to harm her. I also enjoyed the mentoring relationship Sabina develops with her magic instructor, Rhea, who plays a significant role in events unfolding.

    Every bit as action-oriented and fast-paced as Red-Headed Stepchild, Mage in Black is a powerhouse of a book that kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, right up to the dramatic cliffhanger ending. With plenty of battles to keep things interesting, a whole passel of newly introduced magical beings in this universe, and danger around every corner, Mage in Black is a true nail-biter of a fantastical adventure. Jaye Wells is an incredible storyteller whose star is only beginning to rise. I plan to keep a very close eye on her, eager to see where she will take us next.

    ? Kelley A. Hartsell, July 2010. All rights reserved.

  • PuggieSue
    8:43 on July 10th, 2013
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    First, a warning. If you hate cliffhanger endings, don’t read this book. That being said, I really did enjoy this book, just as I enjoyed Red-Headed Stepchild. The main character has flaws, and I love it. She thinks her way of doing things is the right way, she always has to have the last word, and she likes to kill things. There are reasons why she acts the way she does though, and she recognizes her flaws, which I appreciate. My first impression of her in this novel was very negative, but she grew on me, especially as the reasons for her feelings became apparent. The supporting characters were a bit cheesy at first, but they grew on me as well. I still feel that they are one dimensional and shallow, but they are entertaining at least. The plot wasn’t too deep, but there was enough there to keep my interest. Mixed with an interesting, realistic main character, we have all the makings of a good book. So why only three stars? I was prepared to enjoy this novel all the way to four or five stardom when…it ended. In fact, if you take out all of the dialogue there really isn’t much to this book at all. Take away the demon fighting as well and you really have nothing. The main plotline is extremely thin and involves a few attacks on our main character. Sure, I ate the book up, but that’s because it is largely dialogue and banter. I like this series, I like the world, and I like the characters, but I need a bit more for the book to be good and not just ok. The cliffhanger ending really rained on my parade, and there is not enough substance in The Mage in Black to make a complete well rounded novel.

  • Aaron K
    9:16 on July 10th, 2013
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    3.5 stars. “Red-Headed Stepchild” is a debut fantasy novel from Jaye Wells with a good dose of sexual tension. As a debut novel there was quite a bit of world-building and scene setting, but the story still moved along at a rapid pace with not too much lag time. The heroine is a kick-butt assassin who becomes torn between her two worlds as the novel progresses.

    Sabrina is the product of a forbidden union between a vamp and a mage. Her mother died not long after her birth and she was brought up by her Grandmother (note the captial G) who is the Head of the Dominae (vampires) and as cold as they come. Her Grandmother raised Sabrina in an almost-vacuum, while teaching her exactly what she wanted Sabrina to know–all other races are inferior, the Dominae is everything and as a halfbreed Sabrina owes her life and loyalty to those who raised her. And finally, she also raised Sabrina to be a stone-cold assassin who kills the ‘targets’ selected by the Dominae without question. Although Sabrina is frustrated by her inability to receive any kind of warm approval from her Grandmother, she still tries…until the day her target is her best friend and she’s sent to become a spy in an enemy camp.

    I admit to having some issues with Sabrina and her adamant refusal to open her eyes to the reality of what was going on around her. I understand WHY the author began the book the way she did…but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. However, as the story unfolded I began to warm to Sabrina (in spite of her mulishness) and actually feel a bit sorry for her situation.

    As first novels go, this one was pretty good. The action was fast-paced, the world is fairly complex without being confusing, and the heroine is certainly memorable. There were some weak spots where I felt the author was trying too hard to spell things out for me ad infinitum…but I’ll still put the next book on my to buy list. If nothing else, I want to see where all that sexual tension goes!!

  • Jeff Rey
    9:48 on July 10th, 2013
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    Sabina is an assassin, the only career she was allowed to have because of her mixed heritage. The entire vampire race, looks down upon her as if she were contaminated. It has been forbidden for Mages and Vampires to mate. Since Sabina is the result of such a couple, she is continually “punished” for her parent’s sins. She has been trying to make her grandmother, the leader of the vampires, proud of her all her life. But no matter how hard Sabina tries, her stone cold grandmother only has disdain for her because of her mixed blood. She has always taken assassination jobs without question, but her latest assignment and meeting the mysterious mage Adam, makes her start to question her loyalties.

    I really enjoyed Sabina’s character. She’s sassy and strong, as well as an accomplished assassin, but she isn’t overly tough. Some female characters are so “tough” they hardly seem to have a feminine side, but this isn’t the case with Sabina, she definitely has a softer side. She is very loyal despite her rather tough upbringing, She may be a little bullheaded about that loyalty, and refuses to think ill of her grandmother, but ultimately does not stop her from seeing the truth. I love how she realizes the difference between loyalty and blindly following something.

    My only complaint about this book would be the lack of romance, or at least a real possibility of romance in the future. I don’t mind a lack of romance in a book as long as future books seem to be leading towards a real potential between two characters. There was a slight sexual tension between Sabina and Adam, but it just wasn’t enough to get me sucked into the idea of the two of them together. Adam’s very mysterious, and I think I would need to know more about him to really feel a true attraction between the two.

    The book was very good and ended well. There were plenty of twists and turns that kept me sucked into the book from beginning to end. I look forward to seeing where Sabina chooses to place her alliances in the next book.

  • Chewy
    11:12 on July 10th, 2013
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    I liked Sabina Kane, half vampire, half mage. She was one tough woman and I even enjoyed the first chapter of the book. All of the vampires in author Jayne Wells world have different hues of Red hair and it didn’t bother them to feed from humans. Lots of action in this book and Sabina goes undercover to spy for her Grandmother and learns some nasty facts about her Grandmothers side of the family. She also has a sexy mage following her every move and she is about to learn more about the mage side of her family. Pretty soon, Sabina’s life is upside down and only she can make it right side up again. A fun thrill ride. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

  • chucklenatti
    11:58 on July 10th, 2013
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    The Mage in Black was a very entertaining story. Sabina grows as a character and is evolving with her new environment. This book I think is going to be vital for the new book in the series because Sabinas finds new relationships, meets new people, and forms new alliances against her new enemies. Overall this book was very funny, Gighul provided a great amount of humor, had the romance aspect, and had action.

  • hiitch
    12:14 on July 10th, 2013
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    More and more I have little patience for excessively whiney and stupid heroines. I always ask myself, “If I were in a similar situation, would I do this?” In Sabina’s case, over and over I thought a resounding, “No.” She seemed more like a mindeless contract killer than a thinking, strategic assassin. Everything about Sabina was turned off; her conscience, her intelligence, her curiosity were all pushed away so that she could run around town doing her grandmother’s bidding. This is one of the rare cases where the secondary characters were more intelligent and fleshed out than the main character. Sabina seemed more like a angst-ridden teenager who spun her wheels than an adult who was struggling to take control of her life.

    If I knew then what I know now, either I wouldn’t read it at all, or I’d get it from the library. I should have known when she killed one of her best friends in the first chapter that she wasn’t worth an apple-wood stake.

  • Sue Painter
    12:43 on July 10th, 2013
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    Sabina Kane is an assassin for the Dominae, a powerful vampire leadership council led by her grandmother. Sabina has an inferiority complex however, because she is the product of a forbidden relationship between her vampire mother and a mage father, and consequently is never quite good enough in her grandmother’s eyes. When Sabina is sent undercover to infiltrate a group of supernatural beings who are attempting to unite and upsurp the authority of the Dominae, she finds that her blind loyalties to the Dominae may have been misplaced.

    Red-Headed Stepchild is an impressive debut by author Jaye Wells, and the first in what promises to be an original and engaging urban fantasy series. Books filled with vampires are a dime a dozen these days, but Wells creates a world full of her own little twists (e.g. the significance of hair color and the possibility that apple cider could be used as a weapon). The story line is full of surprising revelations, and Wells finds a good balance between action, romance and humor. The next book is not scheduled for release until January of 2010 and I cannot wait.

  • Kenny K Leichester
    14:04 on July 10th, 2013
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    The 2nd book of the Sabina Kane series was a great book! The story picks up with Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl on a road trip to New York, where Sabina is to meet her sister for the first time and learn more about her mage heritage. Of course, things are never simple for Sabina, who is still caught up in the pending war between the vampires and the mages. Right from the start, Sabina is fighting for her life. Sabina’s sister may be her twin by DNA, but the girls are as different as they can come. Maisie, Sabina’s sister, is very sheltered, and wants a close relationship with Sabina. Sabina, having only know about her sister for a few short weeks, has a lot to take in and adjust to.
    In this book, Sabina isn’t the only one fighting, werewolves get involved, demons pop in, even Sabina’s sister, the mage oracle get their fight on. On the steamy side, an old flame of Sabina’s makes an appearance in this book, giving Sabina even more distraction. I was fully entertained by this book. It was a quick, fun read. Here are just a few of the things I loved about the book:
    1. the demon/still hairless cat
    2. Demon Fight Club
    3. Vision art
    4. Sabina in a dress
    All around, this is a great series. I can’t wait to start book number 3, Green-Eyed Demon.

  • Tim McFadden
    15:46 on July 10th, 2013
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    Plot Summary: Sabina Kane has turned her back on the vampires, and she’s traveling to New York City to meet her sister, and embrace her mage heritage. NYC is not quite the haven she imaged, and tensions are running high within the mage council as they debate a declaration of war against the vampires. Sabina must learn how to harness her magic powers fast, or she’ll fall prey to whomever wants her dead.

    I went back and forth on the rating for The Mage in Black. It started kind of slow, but then it picked up by the end. It had some good moments with Sabina growling and barking at people, but the traitor stood out like a sore thumb, so the mystery was lacking. There were some interesting developments on the relationship front, but it didn’t sizzled either. So for every positive, I can name a drawback to.

    This is a good, solid urban fantasy series, but it’s not going to stand out as a star in my memory. I can recommend it whole-heartedly to fellow UF fans, but it needs a punch of something to push it into the upper echelon. Book three, Green-Eyed Demon, will be released in 2011.

  • BI Editor
    17:10 on July 10th, 2013
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    After betrayal by her vampire grandmother, Sabina is no longer an assassin for the Dominae and is off to New York City to check out the mage side of her family and to finally meet her twin Maisie – who welcomes Sabina with open arms and lots of enthusiasm.

    I finally have gotten into the swing of Wells’ series (after one short story and one novel) and I really liked Mage in Black. Probably mostly because Well’s UF heroine is thawing a bit and in this book she’s starting to go through some interesting attitude adjustments – let’s face it an assassin just doesn’t inspire the warm and fuzzies. There also was plenty of action in the book as the mage and Dominae vamps are on the brink of war and someone is targeting Sabina for a prophesy she is supposed to fulfill.

    Back from the previous book – in a limited role, but one that shows promise for the future – is the sexy Mage Adam, also Sabina’s demon familiar Giguhl is back to provide a few chuckles. Sabina’s sister Maisie is almost too good to be true and I liked Sabina’s magical mentor, Rhea, who teaches not by the book but in the school of ‘hard knocks’. Sabina also runs across an old friend in the ‘Black Light Distinct, Shade aka Slade, who you may not recognize if you missed “Vampsploitation” a prequel short story published in the anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 which set up Slade and Sabina’s back-story.

    So, thumbs up from me on Wells’ second story of half vamp/ half mage Sabina and I am looking forward to the next installment Green-Eyed Demon and hoping that Sabina dishes out some major payback to her oh-so-evil grandma

  • QEDMethods
    18:55 on July 10th, 2013
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    I read. A lot. A really lot…and I have to say that this is one of the best new authors I’ve come across in a while. The world Wells has built here is so detailed and interesting, and the mythology behind all of the paranormal stuff…so very original. I can’t wait for the next installment!

  • Brian Gershawn
    19:48 on July 10th, 2013
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    Sabina is like an M&M, hard shell, but sweet inside. You may not get that right away from this book because she starts out being tough, gritty, and a bit unlikable. I don’t mind tough chicks, but this one got to me at first. I also am not really into tough cookies that go soft all of the sudden. So why do I like this book? Well, it has one of my favorite elements, realism. I understood why Sabina did everything she did. The choices she made were for a reason. They might be a little hard to understand from an outsider, but with her history it made perfect sense. Everything in the book fit together well and each character was interesting, even the sarcastic demon and the bubbly faerie. I have to agree with Sabina that a giggling pink flower loving roommate would be a nightmare, but even with her prejudice she is able to make friends. I guess I relate to her in a small way, and that doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the novel at all. Another thing I loved was the little tidbits that were never explained. So you want to know what that shiny gold thing was? Too bad. You better continue the series then. This happened in another series I love, but unfortunately that one is no longer being published, so I will never find out. Here is hoping that we get told about the shiny gold thing in book two. The third element I enjoyed was the vampire race in general. Our main character is a vampire mage mix, and is not human. She is not a new vampire and has no qualms about feeding whenever she needs to. I don’t think that’s because of her character, I think that’s because of the vampire race in general. I appreciate that the author has depicted them as different than humans. Just a small thing, but I picked it out as something I liked. The plot is also interesting, and character driven, which is great. For once I didn’t mind the big showdown, usually they bore me. The only problems I had were Sabina’s quick change from tough to soft and her unflinching loyalty. I understand about being loyal, but at some point common sense has to override that. An admirable trait only if you don’t let it overcloud your reason. Other than that Red-Headed Stepchild is great. I loved the characters, connected to them, and understood where they were coming from. I liked the teasers put in place to make me want to continue the series, and I liked the treatment of the races. All in all, an interesting world that I can’t wait to learn more about.

  • EuroD
    20:08 on July 10th, 2013
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    Sabrina Kane is of mixed blood: She is half vampire and half mage. Her mage father died before she was born and her vampire mother died in childbirth, so she has been raised by her grandmother Lavinia. Vampires and mages hate each other [makes a change from the usual vampire versus werewolves stuff], so everyone treats Sabrina as a second class citizen due to her heritage, punishing her for her parents sins.

    Granny Kane isn’t a sweet, white haired, old lady however, she is the Alpha Domina of the Dominae; Which is the vampires major religion, worshipping their creator Lilith [the followers are known as Lilims]. Lavina – embarrased by her granddaughter – has seen Sabrina trained as an assassin for the Dominae, which is a lowly job, suitable for an outcast which she is seen as.

    Which brings us to…

    The Domina learns that a fellow mixed blood [vampire and demon] named Clovis Trakiya is building a rival religious sect and is preaching about unity amongst the races. He is rumoured to be gaining interest – if not outright support – from the other supernatural races, including mages. The Dominae don’t like the sound of this friendliness between vampires and mages, so Sabrina is ordered to dispatch Clover. Well no, not simply dispatch him. She wants Sabrina to go undercover, infiltrate the cult, uncover any spies, then dispatch Clover, but A: Sabrina knows how to kill people, not investigate and spy and B: Who are the real bad guys here?

    Whilst trying to figure everything out she also has a mage stalker to deal with and the fact that the demon that he sent to ‘test’ her [no, she doesn't know why] is now stuck in this realm, drinking her beer and watching her TV…

    This book was so much fun. I’m delighted by the fact that the heroine is a assassin and drinks from humans, sometimes to the point of death [she hates drinking synthetic blood]… True she does go for drug dealers and would-be rapists ala Dexter, but it’s still a ton better then most of the other “blood is yuck” and “kiss don’t kill” otherworldly heroines many publishers are trying to sell to me. If I’m looking at a book about vampires, cults and assassins I know that I’m going to read about murder and gore, so let the characters be less then squeaky clean accordingly. Thanks.

    Books featuring vampires are ten to a penny post-Twilight and every scenario has been done countless times so I ignored this book when Amazon kept recommending it to me, before coming across it in my local library and biting the bullet. Fortunately author Jaye Wells has come up with a formula that I’ve not come across before; The vampires in this author’s world are descended from Lilith’s affair with Cain, so in addition to Lilith’s blood thirst, all vampires also have inherited Cain’s red hair (God marked Cain with red hair after he murdered Abel) and inability to go out in sunlight. Oh yeah – if you want to stake a vampire make sure you use applewood, or if you can somehow get a vampire to ingest the forbidden fruit it will strip away their immortality and make them kill-able.

    I’m not religious, but the biblical origins of the vampire paired with the inner workings and politics of modern cults was fascinating and the aspects of the uneasy supernatural races also helped lend an air of realism. People not liking others who are different to them? differing cultures? killing people over religious ideals? It is a story that is startlingly relevant and is slightly unsettling. It will stay stuck in your head long after you’ve read it.

    Was there anything that I didn’t like? I wouldn’t depend on my description of the Dominae as being a major religion for vampires as fact in a [unlikely] life or death situation; Whilst I’m fairly sure I’ve deciphered it correctly, it’s never made crystal clear [maybe it was and I'm just a tad slow to catch on].

    ** Book two in the Sabrina Kane series is titled The Mage In Black **

  • aakif
    20:24 on July 10th, 2013
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    First in the Sabina Kane urban fantasy series about a half-vampire, half-mage assassin hated and manipulated by her vampire family.

    My Take
    Wells introduces the traumas and characters of the series in this story. And I am not impressed. Wells is overly dramatic and kept me checking to see how much more of this I had to crawl through. However, I did enjoy the prequel The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 Publisher: Running Press: Vampsploitation so I’ll go on to try The Mage in Black to ensure it’s not just first book jitters. And Wells has created an interesting set of cultures in the vampires, the mages, and the fae with a nice bit of tension and conflict. She certainly has an original theory for the evolution of vampires.

    I wish Wells had provided greater background on Sabina’s career as an assassin at least to equal what was provided in the prequel. What’s a “mancy”? Wells first seems to consider it as a separate species from vampires, mages, and fae but then she goes on to use the term to refer to mages…I think.

    I hope the writing gets better. Sabina is just too easy in her acceptance of Clovis. She’ll make one crack, Clovis calls her on it, and she immediately caves…puh-lease. I can’t imagine a blind and deaf idiot falling for her routine. Wells writes as though Sabina had some smarts and…it just ain’t there for me. Instead of moving in with Vinca, she should have insisted on her own space.

    I’m beginning to think Wells created a macro to automatically paste the same sentence in every few chapters. I’m really getting bored reading “Vinca’s gift of prophecy hand’t exactly been impressive so far.” I’m assuming that if Lavinia is a vampire “alpha” that we won’t be reading of any shifters…

    Wells does provide some good teasers.

    The Story
    Sabina’s grandmother has ordered her to kill her friend and fellow assassin, David Duchamp. For David has gone over to the enemy, a traitor to his people. It’s the confrontation at Sepulchre while Sabina is drowning her unhappiness that provides her grandmother with the excuse to force Sabina to undertake an undercover assignment infiltrating Clovis’ group. And introduces her to Adam Lazarus, a mage sent to find her.

    So much conflicting information is flying back and forth. Clovis’ true purposes and the lengths to which he pushes Sabina. Her grandmother’s actions. The truth behind the blood winery and its ingredients. Adam’s kidnapping. It all clues Sabina in to the betrayals against her.

    The Characters
    Sabina Kane is a half-breed: half-vampire, half mage. Her grandmother, Lavinia, and all other vampires consider her a lesser being and treat her as less. Heck, it’s the only reason a woman of such noble bloodlines on both sides is forced into assassin training. She has spent her entire life, so far, trying desperately to please her grandmother. Her mother’s name was Phoebe–she died in childbirth while Tristan`s body, her father’s, was never found. Giguhl/Mr. Kitty is a fun demon. Sent to test Sabina, he can’t go home again until Sabina finds out who sent him. I sure did enjoy his Shopping Channel exploits!

    Lavinia is the Alpha of the Dominae–”the joke is that she pre-dates the discover of fire”; Persephone; and Tanith are her co-rulers. Ewan is a vampire who owns Sepulchre, a very popular club in Silverlake; he deals in information and considers himself Switzerland. Too bad, grandma didn’t!

    Clovis Trakiya is a half-vamp, half-demon mixed-blood who has started his own little religious cult–think of all the sexual abuses in the real-life cults and polygamy group and you’ll have a good idea of what he’s up to. He’s preaching unity amongst all the races and recruiting vamps, fae, and mages and negotiating an alliance with the Hekate Council [of mages] which is creating problems for the Dominae, the vampire ruling council. Franco Allegheri is Clovis’ second-in-command. Vinca is a nymph, a fae, with whom Clovis insists that Sabina room; naturally, she’s also his spy. Three other faeries come along on the wine ops: Darius, Garrick, and Warrick.

    Adam Lazarus is a mage sent by the mage side of Sabina’s family. Briallen Pimpernel is the fae who provided maternity care to Sabina’s mother and attended the birth; she reveals a mighty secret to reveal to Sabina.

    The Cover
    The cover is certainly bad-ass with the red-haired Sabina swiftly checking over her tattooed shoulder, a gun holstered just forward of her hip.

    The title refers to Sabina’s extreme lack of status amongst her vampire “peers”; she is the Red-Headed Stepchild whom everyone beats on.

  • HenryCandy
    20:40 on July 10th, 2013
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    ***This summary contains SPOILERS for Book 1***

    Sabina travels with Adam to New York, to be with her twin sister and the mages as she has severed her ties with the Dominae. Sabina is attacked on the trip by Vampire assassins, with the thanks to her Grandma. But through out the book Sabina finds she’s under attacked by many different races. Something is a little off here, everyone seems to want Sabina gone…except her sister, Maisie. But Maisie is having her own troubles, not having visions and the mage council is debating about going to war with the Vampires, but they need the support of the faery. Sabina finds she makes some new friends here, and finds an old friend as well. The prophecy of the twins starts to be explained from Maisie and others, but will Sabina and Maisie believe it or not? Sabina is starting to learn more of her Mage magic as well. Will she learn it and accept it?

    Sabina quickly realizes the rules are different here in New York as opposed to LA where the Dominae ruled.
    ~ No fresh catch feeding, with out a tax price.
    ~ There are Werewolves here.
    ~ The Shade and his Laws.
    ~ Hekate Council and their Rules
    ~ And having a sister!

    Sabina came to New York to get back at her Grandmother. But along the way here Sabina starts to grow and things change. Sabina goes through some rough times emotionally and physically but she finds she does have a heart and can care for people, mages at that.

    Jaye Wells has once again done a wonderful book full of action, love (on a few levels), and suspense. The story starts off right where The Red-Headed Stepchild ended and is running fast forward with action, and never stopping. If we aren’t in a wonderful action packed fight scene we are learning more of the prophecy and powers that the mages have, which is still full of action.

    We have many of the same cast of main characters we love here. Sabina’s wonderful sidekick, Giguhl, is back in full force in this book. He really gets to show off his muscles here. And there is even a nice little surprise for him. And we meet many new characters that add to the mix of fun and action.

    The only part I was a little bummed with, and in NO way did it take from the book – it was just me, was that my hunk Adam wasn’t as present as I wanted him to be. ;D But he does have a lovely scene with Sabina. So, now he’s back and with those wonderful eyes, for Sabina.

    I can’t wait to dig into Green-Eyed Demon!

  • Valerie Webster
    21:46 on July 10th, 2013
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    Trained assassin Sabina Kane happens to be a half-vampire, half-mage which is something her grandmother Lavinia, a full-blooded vampire and head honcho of the vampire council, despises since the two paranormal creatures have a long history as enemies. Lavinia is all she has ever known, having sheltered Sabina all her life, withholding any sort of affection and berating her at any chance. This, of course, makes Sabina yearn for approval and love, trying to make up for that part of herself she has no control over. After a conflicting assignment involving Sabina’s good friend, tensions rise as Lavinia clashes with half-vampire, half-demon cult leader Clovis, who aims to bring together all supernatural beings in addition to using Sabina to gain favor from the mages. It seems like a war between vampires and mages is inevitable, leaving Sabina pondering which side she stands on, if she chooses one at all. Throw in a demon cat and a mysterious mage stalker, and Sabina has more than an unhealthy dose of crazy in her life.

    To start off with, I was struck by the world in Red-Headed Stepchild and the way Wells was inspired by various vampiric folklore and myths yet managed to make them her own with some unique spins. The backstory of how vampires came to life and the volatile truce with the mages were both thought out and interesting. As much as I was drawn to the vampires, I saw the mage side of the novel more appealing since, like Sabina, I share an ignorance of those supernatural beings. There were only little bits from them but I’m curious to learn more as the series progresses.

    Sabina is, in a way, a typical main character found in urban fantasies–independent, hard-headed, witty, deadly, and uniquely different. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m drawn to these type of protagonists, especially for the fact that they can take care of themselves and kick ass if need be. But unsurprisingly, she doesn’t come without flaws. The biggest one is her need to please her grandmother. Sabina desperately wants that acceptance and affection but unfortunately while striving for favor, she turns her cheek to any misdeeds that are glaring right at her, as in she is very aware she’s just a pawn to her grandmother but carries on. I understand Sabina’s reasons–who doesn’t want to be loved?–but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to read.

    The battle with Clovis and Lavinia caught a lot of my interest because both were equally distasteful, enough so that you wish you could reach into the story and kill them yourself. It did truly put Sabina in a tough spot as she battles between loyalty to her vampire family or discovering the truth. They were plenty of times where I thought she should put her assassin skills to use and be done with them all. There was so much weigh on her shoulders, I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be.

    Sabina, whether she likes it or not, gains a lovable support system in the midst of all the chaos. It’s one of the great things that comes out of the mess she’s in. They bring in great quips and banter to give the novel a fair slice of lightheartedness. One minor character, for me, stood out among the others. Her demon–sometimes cat–sidekick/minion is undeniably a scene stealer. If you happen to pick up this book, keep a watch of for that one; he’ll charm you one way or another.

    So, I like it. I’m not blown away by this one, but I think it has a lot of potential. The end of the novel is great set up for new adventures, so I will check out the next book in the series.

  • MLaurence
    23:50 on July 10th, 2013
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    This series is read by Cynthia Holloway, who has a very feminine, young-sounding voice with a teenage cadence to it. Cynthia Holloway also narrated the Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series and Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. She has a light sound to her voice that adds to my perception that this book would appeal to the young adult listener. Personally, I was much more impressed with her reading in the Morganville Vampires series. Her voice as Claire, Eve, Myrnin, and even the vampires, was spot-on. For some reason, the voices in this novel seemed too similar at times, even between male and female voices.

    Is it wrong to recommend a novel with so much sex and violence to young adults? I hope not, because I highly recommend this one to the late high school, early college listener. This is one audiobook I would have absolutely loved at 18. Why? It’s fast. The pace is not even a gallop, it’s a full throttle. You just hold on and go for the ride. Sabina arrives in New York, someone tries to kill her. She goes to the park, someone shoots her, and then she gets attacked by wolves. She goes to a nightclub, meets an old flame, and punches him in the face. There are ebbs in tension, but the flow changes every ten to fifteen minutes, which is too fast to become bored with any one scenario.

    Another reason why I would recommend this novel to the younger audience of the urban fantasy/paranormal reader is the tone of the book. Sabina Kane and her twin are 53 years old, but they are consistently referred to as “child,” “girl,” “brat,” and other terms that make them sound like they are 16. And Sabina lives up to it. She is brimming with good old-fashioned teenage angst and related abandonment/acceptance issues. Her internal dialogue is pretty advanced, but everything in quotations comes right out of high school.

    This is a big improvement on the first novel in the series stylistically. Jaye Wells keeps the wonderfully quirky and hilarious characters, like Giguhl, the demon (who can change form into a hairless cat and gets shot in the ass among other similarly embarrassing injuries), and keeps the deliciously twisty and turny unexpected plot revelations. And best of all, she ditches most of the unnecessarily elaborate and passive internal dialogue that was present in Red-headed Stepchild. It still shows up from time to time in Mage in Black, but must less so.

    I did not enjoy the cliff-hanger ending. Cliff-hangers are not that uncommon in this genre. They are found at the end of the first books in the above-mentioned Morganville Vampires series, and also in Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning. However, in those books, the cliffhanger was for a secondary plot development with the primary plot for the book being completely resolved. I suppose Mage in Black is similar because we find out who was trying to kill Sabina toward the end of the book. However, the cliffhanger has to do with the war between the dark races, and it seems that this was something the book was building up toward from the beginning of Sabina’s arrival in New York. I would have liked to have seen it through to the end. Luckily, Green-Eyed Demon was released yesterday.

  • facebookfan
    1:35 on July 11th, 2013
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    In a world when mortals don’t know that vampires, werewolves, faeries, and mages exist, Sabina Kane is an unusual hybrid offspring of a vampire and a mage. Her vampiric grandmother Lavinia the Alpha of the Dominae raised her though she loathed her as an abomination of nature. When Grandma Dearest tried to kill her, she escapes with the mage Adam. They head to New York for her to meet her mage blood side of her heritage especially her twin sister Maise, head of the Hekate Council.

    Maise opens up her heart to her sibling, but as an enforcer and a Dominae assassin, to stay alive she has trust issues. Her goal is to destroy her grandmother, but to do she needs to learn magic. She never expected to get involved with the mages nor anticipate an unknown enemy will come after her, but Sabina has no choice. She must deal with the leader of the pack and try to survive the assault of Eurynome the demon summoned from beyond to specifically kill her. Evidence surfaces that prove Sabina betrayed the mages costing them their alliance with Queen Maeve of the faeries at a time when the mages consider open war with the vamps. Sabina escapes incarceration with plans to go it alone until she finds proof that her heart is right about the mages especially Maise.

    Jaye Wells’ latest urban fantasy picks up where the Red-Headed Stepchild ended, but goes in a different direction as the heroine leaves behind the vamps to connect she hopes with the mages. She holds the exciting story line together as she struggles with backstabbing political intrigue (talk about realism) and making new relationships especially with ever trusting Maise. Filled with plenty of action focused on Sabina as well as humor mostly by her familiar Giguhl who has never found a moment in which he is not causing trouble without trying. The Mage in Black further defines the fascinating unique “Wellsian” mythos.

    Harriet Klausner

  • IQ_smart
    2:58 on July 11th, 2013
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    Sabina, a half-vampire half-mage assassin is meeting her long time friend and mentor David at the grave of her latest snack. David doesn’t know but he is Sabina’s next job. To eliminate him for the Dominae, as they told her he has turned to a growing and potential dangerous group to the vampire community. To prevent this community from growing and potentially killing vampires Sabina finds her next mission is to become cast out by the Dominae and be taken in by Clovis, half vampire and half demon leader. Sabina finds now herself a spy, which she feels she is no good at. While Sabina is fighting for the vampire community that raised her, she learns many things about herself and the different races that open her eyes to different thoughts. Will she remove the threat or create a bigger one in its place…

    I enjoyed the world created by Jaye Wells here. Half-vampires, -mage, -demon, or anything is not accepted in this magical world. Particularly between of these three races. They all are against each other, but have a truce to not bother each other as well. But this truce is stretched with the political games played. There is a separation of the races and cultures here. You get to see the boundaries of them and what happens if they start to blur. This story tells the main story at hand and leaves you with questions in the back of your mind yet to be answered on Sabina and a few other small pieces. This is nicely done as you don’t have to read further in the series, but you want to, to see what those pieces will lead to.

    Part of what I enjoyed in the book where the characters. Sabina is a wonderful main vampire character. Even though you get the feel from her she was not completely accepted by the Vampire community, and more so her grandmother – the leader of the Dominae, she is strong. She grows up independent and ars kicking strong. Sabina is one to be put on a path and she sticks to it. Sabina is sassy and determined. You know she’ll have a sarcastic remark for just about anything and look forward to it. The dry sarcastic humor made me smile and really gave me a great feel for Sabina’s character. But the secondary characters help complement Sabina as they are very different from her. And a potential love interest will catch your heart too.

    The mystery of the mission is a great journey to go on with Sabina. I enjoyed this book very much and would suggest to many Urban Fantasy readers to give it a try. But, you have to love strong, bold, sassy and sarcastic characters.

  • SSmith
    4:45 on July 11th, 2013
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    Sabrina Kane, her character, reactions, and backstory are believable and enthralling. Other characters, not so. The ‘hot mage stalker’ is too coy, given his ultimate motives. Sabrina’s grandmother, the big bad Machiavellian head of the vampire family, takes a personal role in minor skirmishes, a no-no for evil overlords. The personal relationships between minions and leaders are so one sided and skewed that I’m amazed these people are in charge (and that’s not just the vampires). My point here is while I found Sabrina’s characterization and motivations well done, I can’t say the same for the other characters.

    Plot (back cover paraphrased)– “Sabrina, outcast vampire assassin, has a mission that is uncomfortably complex and threatens the fragile peace between vampire and mage races. As Sabrina scrambles in defining her loyalties, she steps in politics, opens doors to find skeletons in her family’s closets, and gets bonus powers. Any of those could be life-changing, but together they could be fatal…”

    Great pace, weak plotting and secondary characterization, but decent world-building. I’ll read the next one, where hopefully the author doesn’t make her villains so dumb. The one shining secondary character was the familiar (funny), though I found his initial loyalty shift strange. Overall a strong main character carries the book, and I’m interested in more.

  • Tyler Cox
    5:54 on July 11th, 2013
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    I read Red Headed Stepchild and followed it up immediately with Mage in Black… partly because they were already on my bedside table but mostly because they *are* enjoyable.

    I can’t give this book anymore that three stars because much of the time I was rolling my eyes or gritting my teeth. Has anyone else noticed how much the word “ass” is used in this book? It appears like six times a page. C’mon, a fifty year old vampire can surely come up with some other line.

    Sabina is always threating to “kick some a$$” or “show that b**ch a thing or two” and yet I never see all that much evidence of her actually doing so. LOTS of tough talk and cliched one liners without any real follow through. I agree with another reviewer, show don’t tell. Sabrina needs to do more and mouth off less.

    Another issue I had, was the fact that Adam was absent for over two hundred pages. I get that this is UF and therefore not romance but to conveniently tuck the hero away with the Faery queen for two thirds of the book is silly and contrived.

    I really don’t get Sabina. She’s all about the gun toting assassin persona and then turns all whiney and immature. She sort of internally pays out everything and everyone and just annoyed me to tell the truth. Too self involved or something.

    On the whole I would recommend this book to lovers of UF but yeah, maybe rent it from the library.

  • Robert Agthe
    7:15 on July 11th, 2013
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    Vamps and Mages and Weres! Oh my! Sabina Kane, ex-assassin for the Dominae, is traveling to New York with her sexy mage partner Adam to meet her long-lost twin sister. To say Sabina Kane has trust issues, would be the understatement of the century! Her grandmother, the only family she ever known, tried to kill her. She is now being hunted by the Dominae and her grandmother. Will her sister be the key to taking down the Dominae? Will connecting with her mage side, make her more powerful or create more issues? And will a powerful ex-fling coming back into her life, drive a wedge between Adam and Sabina?

    I love the way Jaye Wells mixes the preternatural creatures in her Sabina Kane series. Sure she isn’t the first author to do this, but I felt that the was she approached the idea was fresh and different. She brought vampires, mages, fey, weres, and demons into the present, without feeling fake or forced. I also really enjoyed how she examined what it is like to live a dual life. I mean, how many half-vamp, half-mages are there? How does a person associate with a side of herself that she never even knew there? This is also very unique and important storyline.

    Sabina is an amazing, kick-butt heroin! She is a physically, mentally, and now magically strong character. Even after having her love shoved back at her by her own grandmother, Sabina is willing to let her twin sister Maisie into her life. She also has a bit of a stumble emotionally, but she admitted to her downfalls and picked her self up brilliantly. She proveed that she is resilient and amazing, if only she could let open her heart romantically.

    The secondary character in this story take on a life of their own and love them for it! Giguhl is probably one of the most hysterical character I’ve ever read. He’s clever, he lacks social grace, and should never be let loose in high society! Most of my favorite quotes come from him. Maisie, Adam, and Slade also make great additions to the cast. I believe that they have helped Sabina open up emotionally, even after being shut down for so long.

    Cynthia Holloway’s narration of this series is one word, brilliant! She is actually one of my favorite audiobook narrators, and the main reason I picked up this series on audiobook rather then eBook. She has a great variation in voices for each character, and really draws the reader in. Plus, no one does sexy like Ms. Holloway!

    This is audiobook is a fast-pasted, emotionally packed joy ride from page one, with an ending that will leave the readers begging for the next book in this series.

  • china visa
    8:04 on July 11th, 2013
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    Vampires and mages don’t get along. So, with her mixed blood, vampire Sabina is denied a shot at ruling the vampires. Instead, she’s been trained as an assassin. Being assigned to murder one of her few friends makes that job even less appealing than usual. Her grandmother, leader of the vampires, decides to use Sabina’s pique for the vampires’ advantage. She’ll pretend to be frustrated, disenchanted, and infiltrate the outlaw vampire gang that threatens her grandmother’s legitimate rule–and that just might launch the next war between vampires and mages.

    The outlaw vampire leader is half-demon, which means he isn’t offended by Sabina’s mixed blood. Still, there’s something about the being that gives Sabina the creeps–at the same time as she’s incredibly turned on. Then there’s the myserious mage who says he’s trying to track her down with word from the mage side of her family (as if they haven’t ignored her since her birth), a new ‘friend,’ and a mysterious demon who somehow gets transformed into a hairless cat.

    Author Jaye Wells creates a world where fae creatures trace their descent from Cain and Lilith, where blood magic remains a vital force, and where nothing is quite as it seems. Sabina, who is, after all, a hard-drinking assassin, is not your standard heroine. Still, Wells makes her interesting and sympathetic. I would have liked to see a bit more of her growth–as she realizes she’s been lied to–which seemed to me to happen a bit abruptly. RED-HEADED STEPCHILD is not a romance, but it does have a bit of a romance feel with the growing relationship between Sabina and Adam.

    RED-HEADED STEPCHILD is a welcome addition to the vampire literature. Although STEPCHILD is sometimes sexy, Wells gives us a story rather than a string of sexual escapades, and characters who have fears, interests and growth. This is Wells’s first novel and a very promising launch to her career as a fantasy writer.

  • dick pincus
    9:37 on July 11th, 2013
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    Plot Summary: Sabina Kane is the result of a Romeo-Juliet love affair between her vampire mother and mage father. As a half-blooded outcast, Sabina was raised by her vampire grandmother to be an assassin for their ruling body, the Dominae. Her loyalty is tested in a series of strange jobs that begin with killing a former friend, to infiltrating the enemy as a spy, and Sabina begins to question whether her grandmother loves her at all, or views her as just another pawn on the chessboard.

    I now have another series to add to my “seriously-want-to-read-more” list. Since my appetite for all things paranormal knows no limit, I’m always pleased to find a new author who can feed my habit. Sabina satisfies all my favorite heroine criteria, which are probably becoming a tad clichéd with all the kick-butt heroine series floating around, but I can’t help it. I love my heroines strong and sassy on the outside, and vulnerable on the inside.

    As an assassin, Sabina has no problem being cold and objective until her grandmother orders her to kill one of her friends. Maybe `friend’ is too strong a word, since Sabina is a consummate loner, but killing David creates the first crack in her blind devotion to the Dominae. Unfortunately, it takes her a long time to open her eyes, so by the time she realizes who her real friends are, she’s already in danger of losing them.

    The weakest link in this story is Adam Lazarus, a mage who intends to stalk Sabina until she agrees to his demands. Sabina and Adam don’t share more than a make-out session and a couple of intense looks, but clearly this is going somewhere in the next book(s). Since we don’t learn anything about him, it’s hard to feel too excited about their potential romance. While I understand the importance of developing Sabina’s character, I hope that Wells will rectify this issue in her sequel, and give us more on Adam beyond his blond hair and sexy smirk.

    No clue right now when book two is coming. I’ll add it to my Coming Soon page when I spot it.

    Update 5/14/09: Since writing the above, I got an update on the second book (yeah, I emailed the author… I’m a total pest), and she kindly informed me that “Mage in Black” is coming out January 2010. Ms Wells also said that “there is a Sabina story coming out in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance, vol. 2 this fall. It’s a prequel to Red-Headed Stepchild that sets up some backstory for Mage in Black.” Don’t cha just love it when authors are willing to talk to their fans? I sure do.

  • Cuba Libre
    11:20 on July 11th, 2013
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    Sabina spends the majority of this book trying to pick up the pieces after the hard life she was leading comes to a screeching halt as the first book ends. She is in a completely different place and surrounded by completely different people. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the mages, although the ones that we got to see alot of, I did end up liking (Maisie and Rhea). They were all really hard on her, which is understandable, given her background, but still, when you feel safer hanging around a fight club in a bar than around the people who are supposed to help protect you, something is definitely wrong. A couple new characters are introduced and I have to say that I liked the lot of them. It seemed that not a whole lot happened until the last third of the book, though, but when it picked up, it was awesome and left me wanting to know what happens next.

  • TravisD
    11:40 on July 11th, 2013
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    This is a well thought out and interesting story of a strong woman. You are drawn into her struggle with her identity. I would reccomend this book!

  • Joe Progammer
    13:35 on July 11th, 2013
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    I have to be honest that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this series. Adult paranormal tends to be hit or miss with me, but this series has really surprised me.

    I love that Sabina is so unsure of herself during this book. Who wouldn’t be when the only living family you thought you had wants you dead. Add in a twin sister you never knew you had, who was brought up by the very race you were raised to hate. I think it makes for some interesting dynamics in our lead character. I love her back and forth relationship with Adam. It’s very real to me. I LOVE her demon, Giguhl. He is pretty much the perfect sidekick.

    I liked the direction the story takes. Maisie was an interesting addition to the cast of characters. She seems to be the complete opposite of Sabina. I enjoyed the magic lessons. I particularly enjoyed the demon fighting rings and the scenes with Slade. I still like Adam more, but Slade cause Sabina to react in some very emotional ways.

    There wasn’t a lot of interaction with the vampires with this one. Which was ok because we get tension with werewolves, descent within the mages, and some interesting scenes with the fairies. I really liked this book and can’t wait to dig into Green-Eyed Demon.

  • fahed
    14:17 on July 11th, 2013
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    The mage in Black was the sequel to the red headed stepchild.
    Sabina is unsure of who she is.
    Not quite a vampire, not quite a mage. But something in between. She does not fit in anywhere. Her self esteem is low and she’s used to fighting with her knives. But not everything in life can be done with knives. Her relationship with Giguhl, her demon minion, is quite endearing. The character makes real life mistakes: a fling with the wrong guy, running away from the right guy. In this book, you see her grow up and learn to care about others. It’s the most human book about vampires and mages I’ve read in a long time. I loved the book and would recommend it to others.

  • Larissa
    15:19 on July 11th, 2013
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    I purchased this book on a whim at the bookstore because I loved the cover and it was classified as Fantasy/Horror. I find I am getting tired of paranormal romance type stories where the focus definitely seems to be romance. Anyway, what a pleasant surprise I found in “Red Headed Stepchild”. I was worried initially about liking Sabina, because lets face it, at the beginning of the book she isn’t really Miss Congeniality. She certainly won me over and by the end of the book, I was sorry to let my visit with her end. This is a story where Sabina isn’t who she believed and neither is the world as she knows it. She finds that perhaps her loyalty lay with people who didn’t deserve that loyalty. While on a mission from her grandmother, Sabina, who is half vampire and half mage, sets off on a journey that will have her meet the first people in her life she has ever considered friends. What a wonderful and unique group of characters these people turn out to be! I especially enjoyed the mysterious Mage who starts off stalking Sabina, Sabina’s nymph roommate and her demon familiar. The demon familiar has been done quite a bit in this genre, but Wells keeps this one unique and never annoying. There is plenty of intense action to be had, and intriguing back stories. This story fell just a hair short of perfect for me because of one plot element I didn’t care for but I won’t give that away here as to not release any potential spoilers. I guess it depends on where Wells takes this twist. Maybe I will have to eat those words. Regardless, this is one of the best starts of a series I have read in the last year or two. I do not exaggerate when I say I am counting the days until the release of book two.

  • robrobrob
    16:46 on July 11th, 2013
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    After betrayal by her vampire grandmother, Sabina is no longer an assassin for the Dominae and is off to New York City to check out the mage side of her family and to finally meet her twin Maisie – who welcomes Sabina with open arms and lots of enthusiasm.

    I finally have gotten into the swing of Wells’ series (after one short story and one novel) and I really liked Mage in Black. Probably mostly because Well’s UF heroine is thawing a bit and in this book she’s starting to go through some interesting attitude adjustments – let’s face it an assassin just doesn’t inspire the warm and fuzzies. There also was plenty of action in the book as the mage and Dominae vamps are on the brink of war and someone is targeting Sabina for a prophesy she is supposed to fulfill.

    Back from the previous book – in a limited role, but one that shows promise for the future – is the sexy Mage Adam, also Sabina’s demon familiar Giguhl is back to provide a few chuckles. Sabina’s sister Maisie is almost too good to be true and I liked Sabina’s magical mentor, Rhea, who teaches not by the book but in the school of ‘hard knocks’. Sabina also runs across an old friend in the ‘Black Light Distinct, Shade aka Slade, who you may not recognize if you missed “Vampsploitation” a prequel short story published in the anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2 which set up Slade and Sabina’s back-story.

    So, thumbs up from me on Wells’ second story of half vamp/ half mage Sabina and I am looking forward to the next installment Green-Eyed Demon and hoping that Sabina dishes out some major payback to her oh-so-evil grandma

  • Jim Yates
    17:56 on July 11th, 2013
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    This is the first in this series I have read the other 2. The main character is a vampire assassin but also a half breed half vampire and half mage. This book focuses on the vampire half of her heritage as we see very little of any magic on her part. But you do get a side kick with magic powers who is a mage.

    1 The extra characters are really well done if you like witty dialogue and funny comeback this is were the book shines. The demon is really the best of the supporting cast he is great. Really I can’t say enough the dialog is really worth reading.
    2 The world is well done with a good overview of why things are the way they are. You see the other races and get a feel for some of them not all are introduced which is good as you get a good picture of the ones that are.

    1 In this book the heroine is not so bad she deals with a lot of emotional panic and is prone to very unassassin behavior. Like leaving her gone behind because she is exited, panic attack as she is with the main villain and so on. This is the problem the author uses these things as plot devices to move the story along unfortunately it also makes you dislike the main character and think the whole thing is campy I mean an assassin who has killed you don’t know how many deadly creatures leaving her only gun behind or a panic attack….really. It just does not fly other than that the book was good to bad the main character was not as well written as the secondary character.

  • Ashleigh Guley
    18:39 on July 11th, 2013
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    This isn’t really suitable as a stand alone book as it carries straight on from book one [Red-headed Stepchild] and people and events from that book are referenced throughout this book.

    If you want to start reading the series then don’t read this review, as it does contain spoilers from book one [I did try to write a review whilst dancing around the spoilers, but I ended up with two thousand words of complete gibberish].

    So consider yourselves warned…

    Sabrina, her demon familiar Giguhl and Adam and travel from Sabrina’s [and The Dominae'] hometown of Los Angeles to the Hekate Council’s base in New York so Sabrina and Maisie get to finally meet other. There’s not just the family reunion on the cards however; The Council members are still determining whether to go to war with The Dominae or not, so they need to determine what type of power Sabrina has and train her accordingly.

    As Sabrina starts to get used to being reunited with the sister she’s only just learnt about and being in mage central, it becomes apparent at least one mage isn’t and attempts begin being made on her life…

    Sounds quiet compared to the last book, doesn’t it? Don’t fret, Sabrina and Giguhl also come across a demon version of Fight Club and Sabrina also accidentally gets into trouble with a local werewolf pack. Oh yeah – she also runs into an ex.

    Book one was built around the threat to the vampires major religion and the mistrust between the supernatural races, but if you are looking for more of the same you’ll be disappointed as the events in THE MAGE IN BLACK are powered by Sabrina’s need for some good old vengeance: Sabrina now knows that the friend Lavinia ordered her to kill didn’t betray the Dominae at all and Lavinia has lied to Sabrina and treated her like a second-class citizen her whole life.

    Sabrina realises that it’s safer and simpler to kill her way through the corrupted Dominae in order to kill her grandmother, rather then try to talk to members and attempt to get them to see reason. So this volume opens as she just goes along with the only person she has left in the world [Adam] and prepares to meet up with the sister she has only just found out about…

    The main obstacle that Sabrina faces here is the whole vampire versus mage situation. Sabrina’s vampiric side and ethics are stronger and feel ‘right’ to her as she has been raised in a vampire cult, so she is naturally at odds by the mage community she is now in the middle off. For the first fifty three years of her life she has been told that her mage blood is an abombination, now – although no-one outright says it to her face – she is made to feel that her vampiric blood is ‘bad’. Basically -in her mind at least – she’s just traded in the devil she knows for the one that she doesn’t.

    Some readers may be put off by Sabrina’s often petty attitude in this book, but I find that it adds a sense of realism to things. Think about it, she has just literally lost everything; Her friends, her home, job and the only family she has known for fifty three years want her to suffer and die. Then she is abruptly put in the environment of the twin sister she has only just found out about who is in the highly respected position of leader of the Hekate council, Maisie is loved by everyone, has never been treated as inferior because of her mixed blood, and is generally well-adjusted person, so of course Sabrina is going to act somewhat put-out, lost, envious and abandoned.

    I like that Sabrina is still part-vampire and that the author hasn’t flip-flopped and made her whiter than white and all lovely-dovey with everyone now that she has reunited with her sister; She feels nothing for her long-dead parents, is willing to try and bond with Maisie but is still cautious and closed with her and she is agreeable and tries to get along with the other mages more out of a mix of obligation and a desire to piss off granny. At this point I’d say the only people she’d class as friends are Giguhl [Sabrina calls him her sidekick, not her familiar and certainly not minion] and Adam.

    As for ethics; Sabrina still kills when she needs to, she pulls a face at being asked not to hunt humans for food, she thinks the mage’s “protect the innocent” speech is new-age BS and humans? They’re just annoying bugs; When one witnesses an incident and will be able to identify her and Adam, she is unable to see why killing him is considered horrifying to Adam.

    Speaking of Adam, yep – there’s a romantic sub-plot bubbling away there. Sabrina has developed feelings for Adam and it’s clear that he returns the interest, but the whole mage and vampire aspect means that she is trying to ignore romantic leanings. It is easy to see why she has fallen for him so quickly; He is one of the few supernatural’s who hasn’t been horrified or taunted her, he has seen her at her worst and still defended her, he’s fought by her side and has always been honest with her.

    Jaye Wells proved in book one that she has qualms about killing of characters, so there’s never that feeling of assurance when it comes to characters in peril – everyone is fair game in the books, so there is loads of tension building, that kept me reading “just one more chapter” before bed [it was almost two a.m. before I managed to put the book down].

    However I’m left with some niggling questions. Can all vampires reproduce or only powerful ones? Can they reproduce with anyone or only powerful individuals or those from certain races? So if they can reproduce there must be an aging process for the vampires, so how does that work? Or does it stop at a certain point?

    The issue I have is that the author may have indeed answered these questions at some point in the books, but there is so much world-building and new character revelations – seemingly in every chapter – that I haven’t taken any answers that there may have been in, despite re-reading the books and keeping them both on hand for this review.

  • Muaz Khan
    19:50 on July 11th, 2013
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    This book picks up where the debut left off. Sabina is heading to New York to meet the twin sister she never knew about. I can’t even begin to tell you how fun this story is….you have to read it for yourself. I do recommend that you read the first one since this one is based on the history built there. Sabina is just plain kicks ass although she is confused about her feelings for the two men in her life. I hope the third one in the series, Green Eyed Demon will sort this out. If you enjoy Jennifer Rardin, you are going to love this series.

  • CChris
    20:30 on July 11th, 2013
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    This is the story of Sabina Kane – half vampire and half mage. She is an assassin for the vampires but her newest assignment is about to test her loyalty. The mages and the vampires do not get along very well, and Sabina’s mixed blood is a source of disappointment to her family. Sabina is thrown into a situation that forces her to realize things may not be as black and white as she always saw them in the past.

    I liked the cast of characters in this book, although some of the baddies were a little to easy. And Sabina frustrated me beyond belief. She was stubborn and refused to see what was in front of her. However, despite that I did warm to her towards the end of the story. The book is a bit slow in some places, but overall it is quite good. I will probably be picking up the next installment.

  • Jason DC
    22:00 on July 11th, 2013
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    I’ll admit it, I purchased this book for the title. (What red-head wouldn’t?) However, I was truly surprised at the fresh new voice Wells brings to the Urban Fantasy genre. Sure, Sabina is your typical [...] kicking cliche personified, but as the book progresses, I found myself starting to really wonder how her story ends.

    Sabina does have an antihero aspect to her, and you will find yourself at times wanting to smack her and tell her to “wake up already” but the supporting characters more than make up for her lack of dimension. First, you have the demon cat. Best part of the book. Sarcastic and hilarious, reminding you both of Tanya Huff Summoner’s books and Katie MacAllister’s demon dog, Jim. The nymph roommate and the mage round out a great supporting cast.

    The end leaves something to be desired, and feels as if it was thrown together at the last minute, but it still leaves me looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy. For a first effort, it’s much better than most.

  • Ted crayborg
    23:08 on July 11th, 2013
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    I loved this book. I really enjoyed Sabina’s transformation from blinded devoted killer, to vulnerable half mage.

    The prose was smoothly written. The action flowed well. The side characters of Vinca and Gighul were fun and well fleshed out. The author is not scared to kill a major side character, which makes the story more powerful. There was sexual tension but no sex- I liked that!

    I can’t wait to read the next installment to read about Sabina’s further adventures and read about her reunion with the Mage side of her family.

  • argu me
    1:14 on July 12th, 2013
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    I really enjoyed this book. This is book 1 of the Sabina Kane series. Sabina Kane is a half breed vampire/mage. In this world the mages and the vampires are arch-enemies, and Sabina has been harassed her entire life because of her half-breed status. She has grown up hating half of herself and trying to prove herself to her vampire family, namely, her Grandmother. Things begin to shift for Sabina when events happen that make Sabina question her Grandmother. Sabina goes undercover as a spy and assassin, meets a mage who helps Sabina begin to accept her mage half, and make some new friends along the way.
    This book was a great combination of world building, the strong, kick-butt heroine, and overall pretty good urban fantasy. I had no qualms with the writing style, the flow was good, there were no random tangents, or drag out moments. This was pretty straight urban fantasy, just a slight hint at a possible romance. I have to say, my favorite part would be the demon/cat/hairless demon cat roommate. That was a very fun and funny piece of the story that I really enjoyed. Through the book Sabina’s character changes a bit as some of the assassin part of her is chipped away to get to the person inside. A great first book, and I’m looking forward to reading book number 2 in the series.

  • Doug Monroe
    1:33 on July 12th, 2013
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    I didn’t know what to expect. This book was just another one of my rebound books after having read Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. Anyway, I did enjoy this book overall, but really hated the beginning and ending. First, our heroine, Sabina, starts off by killing her friend in cold blood, after being ordered to do so by her grandmother. She does so without even hearing him out. So she’s standing over him with a gun and she can’t spare a minute or two to hear him out? Her friend? Weird. I guess the author wants us to see her as tough. Well, there are other ways. This is just bleak. Second, towards the end of the book, Sabina has a chance to kill her grandmother, who’s been using her and now wants her dead, and she just decides to let her go. WTF? The only satisfying ending to this book would be to drain her grandma dry. Seriously. It’s so obvious the author just wants to drag out this series, which is fine. The author just needs to come up with fresh plot for our heroine. If you’re looking for a good read, try Andrews’ Kate Daniels series instead.

  • Will Park
    3:09 on July 12th, 2013
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    Sabrina Cane is back in all her insecure, impulsive, and ‘let’s do something, I’m angry’ glory. After connecting with her sister, she begins mage training, and her familiar takes up pit fighting in the New York Black Light District. Gighul was great as a talking cat, but the humor has morphed into blatant demon sex jokes, including bad puns. For example, the Vanity Demon named ‘Valva’, who was written in only for Gighul to have a relationship with.

    Plot-wise, the author is forcing the story. She writes these ancient organizations that conduct shadow wars and go with centuries of intrigue maintaining a delicate balance. Then, for a dramatic climax, a big army from group A attacks this big stronghold of group B. Nice drama, people die, but it makes absolutely no sense in terms of world building or plot coherency. Yeah, let’s forget about that intrigue stuff and go mono e mono, eh? Who cares about careful ‘balance of magic’ from book one… boom my outfit changed, cool! Let’s forget that teleportation is common; Sabrina really needs to take cabs everywhere.

    What the author does well are vivid descriptions and girl talk. Wells does ‘in the moment’ like a pro, but this leads to ‘it doesn’t need to make sense, let’s make something happen’ being the her common theme. If she ever gets her plot working, I could give more stars. I think this novel is ideally suited to be enjoyed by women who want to read about a female heroine punching people (who usually deserve it) unconscious against a backdrop of clubbing and demonology. For a supposed accomplished assassin-operative, Sabrina rarely has a weapon, blurts secrets (including her own) in dubious company, but somehow still wins.

    Fun while you’re reading, but don’t expect too much.

  • martin flaxman
    3:45 on July 12th, 2013
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    This is the 2nd book in the series and so far all I can say is Ms. Wells WRITE FASTER!!!!! Looking forward to the 3rd book, Green-Eyed Demon.

  • Amelia
    4:03 on July 12th, 2013
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    Review courtesy of [...].

    THE MAGE IN BLACK picks up almost immediately after the events in Red Headed Step-child. Sabina and Adam (and Giguhl the demon/cat) are on their way to New York to embrace her paternal mage heritage after being betrayed by her maternal vampire side. Once there, she ruffles more then a few feathers including the local werewolf pack, a demon fight club, and the mage council itself.

    The Kum-N-Go’s roadside-chic interior was bathed in a sickly fluorescent glow. The aroma of stale smoke, urinal cakes, and rotgut coffee had me breathing through my mouth on the way back to the ATM. It was my turn to pay for gas, so getting cash took priority over raiding the snack aisle for the moment. -Opening of THE MAGE IN BLACK

    The world building that I fell in love with in Red Headed Step-child is back portraying the Dark races (vamps, weres, mages, and the fae) as the children of Lilith and Cane. Keeping with biblical apocryphal, Vampires are vulnerable to the forbidden fruit (Sabina loads her gun with apple wood bullets). Very cool. And there are references to prophecies of Lilith’s return which finger Sabina as the Chosen one.

    In THE MAGE IN BLACK Mages and Vampires are, to quote Buffy, really unmixey things. Millennia of distrust and jealousy have brought them to the brink of war. As a half-blood, Sabina Kane is the embodiment of that animosity which makes her a hard character in every sense of the word. She’s physically formidable, emotionally jaded, and self-destructive when it comes to personal relationships. Wrap that all up into one person and she can be hard to take. Without fail, you can expect her to be brash, sarcastic, and aggressive regardless of the situation. Sometimes I liked her behavior, other times I found her off-putting.

    Overall, THE MAGE IN BLACK is a fun, gritty urban fantasy with a brutally tough heroine who never seems to catch a break. The tone never gets too dark with the addition of the mischief demon Giguhl. And there is an interesting romantic conflict for Sabina with the mage Adam and the vampire Slade. The ending is less of a conclusion, and more of a set up for the next Sabina Kane novel, Green-Eyed Demon which is due out March 2011. Despite some minor flaws, I’m looking forward to it.

    Sexual Content: References to sex. A graphic sex scene.

  • who knew
    5:57 on July 12th, 2013
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    All Things Urban Fantasy Review

    My criteria for liking a book often comes down to liking the main character. After reading the first chapter of Red-headed Stepchild, I was ready to streak my hair red just so I could look like Sabina Kane.

    “Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal.”

    When we first meet Sabina, she’s in a graveyard digging a six foot hole for her latest meal (a kiddy drug pusher–Sabina gets a bite and cleans up the neighborhood in the process: everybody wins). An orphan raised by her mother’s family, Sabina Kane is a vampire. Well half vampire, half mage. The product of a forbidden love affair, Sabina is forced to wear the stigma of her illegitimate birth literally on her head (the aforementioned red streaks).

    In the world created by Jaye Wells, vampires (or Lilim, as they are called) are the offspring of Lilith and Cain and therefore they all have red hair (their inherited `biblical mark of Cain’). In fact all the dark races are in someway the descendents of Lilith: Demons, Fey etc. The world-building was definitely a strong point in this book: The politics of the various races are believably nuanced and have a real feeling of history behind them. There is the Dominae, a trio of female vampires (headed by Sabina’s grandmother) who govern over the vampiric race, and the Hecate Council that rules the Mages (or Mancies), and the Sellie Court of the Fey. The genesis of Vampires are also fully explained in a new and unique way. Along with a sense of mystery regarding Sabina’s mixed heritage which promises to be more fully explored in future books.

    There is a lot to like about this book, but sadly with each increasing chapter, my affinity for Sabina,–and by extension this book–decreased. Chip nothing, Sabina had a boulder on her shoulder. I almost cheered when different characters called her out as a bitch. This is more of a personal pet peeve (but, hey, this is my blog): barely a hundred pages into the book Sabina had already commented twice that some guy made her panties/crotch get wet. I hate that phrasing; I just find it crass and vulgar. Big turn off. But the biggest obstacle I had with Sabina how she really skirted the TSTL [to stupid to live] line throughout this book (especially the first half).

    It is abundantly clear almost from page one the the Dominae have been using and lying to Sabina practically from birth, yet whenever someone tries to point this out to her, we get half a page of inner monologue where Sabina can’t believe someone would expect her to believe such lies, because, of course, she’s way too smart for anyone to deceive her. And even when she finally sees proof for herself of the Dominae’s duplicity, she still won’t believe that their lies extend to other extremely obvious areas. I understand that Sabina would be reluctant to cast her grandmother, the woman who raised her, in the role of villain, but there comes a point when reluctance must give way to reality. Sabina consistent refusal to acknowledge what was right in front of her was extremely frustrating.

    The tone of the book was also problematic for me. Some chapters indicated that the author was going for a lighter, more humorous tone: like the scene with Gilguhl (Sabina’s demon sidekick) dressed in a pink kimono and indulging in his infomercial addiction. But then basically on the next page, a darker more gritty tone has Sabina in a nightclub walking in on a guy giving oral sex to another guy. Back to the demon who can now turn into fuzzy kitty, then off to a creepy sexual cult. Light or dark; funny or gritty. Both have there place. I would have preferred consistency one way or the other. The author was clearly going for a hilarious meets horror blend, it just wasn’t entirely successful for me.

    Sabina’s first outing, like her hair and nature, is a bit uneven to say the least. But I’m not giving up on this series. The premise and world Jaye has created is too intriguing for that. Ultimately, I think there is enough promise here to warrant checking out The Mage in Black when it comes out in March of 2010.

    Sexual Content:
    Some crude language, a man performing a sex act on another man.

  • Zaheer Fazal
    6:39 on July 12th, 2013
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    Well’s has burst out of the gate pretty Strong with her debut novel and the first in the Sabina Kane trilogy. Sabina’s world is pretty gritty, and she’s at the heart of the darkness. She’s probably one of the loneliest characters that I’ve read about so far in this genre. At the beginning, she’s not even aware of how alone she is. It isn’t until she is thrust into circumstances through which she starts meeting supporting cast members, such as her demon kitty Gighul and the faery Vinca, that she begins to notice just how much she yearns for attachments of some kind.

    It’s this gentle unearthing of vulnerability within Sabina that makes our assassin heroine more likable and her story that much more gripping. Add that to the fact that her existence is mired in lies and the few things that she once held dear are quickly revealing themselves to not be so reliable anymore, and you get a pretty well-developed plot.

    There are some bright spots throughout, however. Sabina finds companionship with her newly formed crew and even a possible love interest in the form of a “mancy”, or mage, warrior of sorts named Adam.

    This being a somber world though, Well’s does not end this installment on much of a happy note – which I found just made me more anxious for the sequel, Mage in Black, due next spring.

  • Neil Ashworth
    7:26 on July 12th, 2013
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    I have been eagerly awaiting this book since the I finished the first “Red Headed Stepchild”. That book shocked me with how amazing the story was and enthralled me with the characters. A half vampire whose own Grandmother wants to kill her? Rockin’. It didn’t take me long to figure out “Mage In Black” wasn’t quite the same quality. The story is good, and I liked reading it. I enjoyed meeting Sabina’s twin sister and I loved the comic relief provided by Sabina’s demon Gighul. Adam, the love interest was gone for a good portion of this book, and to be honest the material felt mostly like set up. There are several new characters introduced and the reason isn’t so clear here. I am sure they will pop up again down the road of this series. The book truly gets going in the last third of the story and then it leaves us hanging with a cliffhanger. Annoying, but then again, I know I will buy the third book as soon as its released as well. Read “Mage in Black” after you finish the first book because its definitely not a stand alone. Enjoy it for Gigul and the set up to the next installment. This book is satisfactory but not completely satisfying.

  • Evenflow
    8:39 on July 12th, 2013
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    Sabina Kane is a professional assassin for a powerful vampire sect. But she is only half vampire, a fact that has been a burden for Sabina her entire life. And when a mage approaches her with information about her mage family, Sabina finds herself torn between the life she knows and betrayal. Her latest mission is to infiltrate a cult and assassinate its founder. But Sabina soon becomes caught up in more than she can handle in a battle among the races. But she isn’t sure which side she should choose.

    Jaye Wells has created an amazing new urban fantasy world of vampires, mages, fairies, and more, all descendants of the fabled Lilith. Sabina Kane’s mother was a vampire and father was a mage, her origins steeped in lies and betrayal. When forced to kill her friend for betraying her race, she still begrudgingly obeys. But there is more to Sabina than just being a killer. She’s complex and doesn’t always make the right decisions, but throughout the story, we begin to see a change in her and the way she views others around her.

    Red-Headed Stepchild is action-packed suspense at its best. And urban fantasy doesn’t get much better than this. Steeped in mystery, intrigue, and magic, this debut is one of the best I’ve read in months. Jaye Wells is a promising new talent.

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