Sunday, 9 September 2012

Review: What Kills Me

Title: WhatKills Me
Author: Wynne Channing
Publisher: Jet & Jack Press
Released: 6th June 2012
Rating: 5/5

Isn’t it weird how you can read two books completely different and yet award them the same rating? This was something I was thinking about earlier when I finished this book. Thinking about my five star books, some of them I knew from the beginning that it was going to be an awesome read. With What Kills Me, this wasn’t the case. But after a bit of trouble with the opening, this book did a 180 and took me completely by surprise.

Axelia, otherwise known as Zee, is on a two month stay in Rome studying Italian. In a rush to get home one night, having lost track of time, she meets a guy called Paolo. That one incident is to be her downfall, because Paolo isn’t interested in dating girls, as she finds out the following evening. He’s more interested in murdering them. His plans go awry however, and she ends up a vampire...through unconventional means. From then Zee is on the run from the entire vampire race, because according to prophecy, she isn’t just any vampire. She’s the one that’s going to bring the destruction of all vampires.

If The Immortal Rules didn’t kill my belief that the vampire genre has been exhausted, What Kills Me certainly did. Seriously, if you still think that, you need to read this. Think words like Monarchy, Crucivium, Sacriva. Have you ever heard of vampires worshipping gods? No?  Well, they do now. Wynne Channing impressed me with the fresh ideas she’s brought to the table. I loved seeing this new side to vampires, one where an actual empire has been created, its very foundations built on something so superstitious as a prophecy. Quite frankly, I’ve never been convinced by the idea of a prophecy. There’s something so...convenient about it, something almost intangible that makes me want to roll my eyes. In this case, however, it worked, perhaps because of the context.

Zee went through a pretty extensive, not to mention impressive, transformation. At the beginning, I had one word to describe her: stupid. What kind of girl tells her whole life story to and goes on a date with a guy she met only the night before? A guy who is so obviously trouble? But then when she became a vampire, she didn’t spend very long being self-pitying and railing at Paolo. Faced with death together with him soon after, her survival instinct rears its head and she doesn’t just talk about saving herself, she talks about saving them. Zee toughens and wisens up. Just a little. In later fight scenes I got a little tired of her screaming and not actually kicking butt, but she did find small ways to help. Then she learns to fight and eventually she’s a badass vampire you do not want to mess with. There is true development in her character that was a pleasure to see. Not to mention the fact that she is hilarious.

Now, two things in this book that are conspicuously absent: insta-love and love triangle. Yes, I see the relieved faces. Here we have Lucas, a vampire highly skilled in martial arts and weapons handling. Unless you want your head cut off, I suggest you stay on his good side. It’s quite easy, really. Just don’t try to kill him. Lucas starts off as wanting nothing to do with Zee; he quite clearly puts a wall between them. The relationship between them is incredibly gradual. I loved the banter between them, it was subtle, but witty. It was so sweet to see him help Zee when she was struggling with her acts and morals as a vampire, and see her lightening the mood when he became concerned. Their feelings for each other weren’t revealed until the last possible minute and their fight for each other was just moving; it’s then you see their depth of feeling for the other.

The writing, without being overly descriptive, was vivid enough for me to have consistently clear images in my head – not just images, but mood and atmosphere. The fight scenes were fast-paced and action-packed and this made a nice contrast with, for example, the temple in Taiwan (at least until all hell broke loose). Nor is the story predictable. While I was a teeny bit suspicious of one particular character, she still managed to surprise me. Not to mention the plot twist. Channing has no qualms about taking her time: she leaves you comfortable in the knowledge of one thing and then springs a surprise on you at the last minute.

While this wasn’t perfect, I was incredibly immersed in the story. I was a bit wary starting it but the author soon dispelled that. I don’t know if there’s a sequel in the works, though I can, in a way, see potential for one. In any case, there are no questions left unanswered, the story is wrapped up nicely and I will most definitely be on the lookout for further work from this author.

A huge thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. This sounds interesting! The last vampire book I read was Last Sacrifice from the Vampire Academy series and that was ages ago. Kind of wanting to get back into vampires with the help of a good vamp book, so definitely adding this to my TBR.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your review, Aa'Ishah! Glad to learn that Zee is tough and hilarious and that there is no love triangle - yay!! I'm going to add this to my to-read list, thank you!

  3. Great review, Aa'Ishah! I doubt I would have even considered this book if it wasn't for your review. A vampire novel that still manages to be fresh and exciting? I'm in! I also really like the sound of the romance in this. No love triangle or insta-love ruining everything. ;)

  4. That cover is so pretty. Even seeing it the second time around makes me drool. I don't really understand how Alexia became Zee but maybe it's in the book so... =)) Its' good to know that the author finds the perfect balance in her writing.

    Great review, Aa'Ishah! :D

  5. Wow! I've seen this book a couple of times but never really bothered checking it out. I didn't even know that it was a vampire book - with fresh and great ideas. Thanks to your review, A now I would have to add this on my tbr. Glad to see you really enjoyed this one. Yay for the great character development and romance with no insta-love and triangle! Awesome review, A! :)

  6. Thank you so much for the amazing review! Insta-love in horror adventures drives me nuts. ("Everyone's dying and I'm terrified that I will be next, but whoa, you are super hot. Let's make out before the monsters come back.") Glad that you appreciated Lucas and Zee's organic relationship :)

  7. Great review! I had never heard of this book before but it is definitely being added to my TBR pile! I love vampires, but I sadly agree that the genre seems to have been exhausted. But vampires having religion and worshipping gods? and a prophecy? definitely intriguing!

  8. Thanks to this review, I'm getting this book. :P

  9. This book sounds really good. I love that there isn't a love triangle or insta love in this book. Great review!

  10. This story sounds amazing Aa'Ishah! I love the sound of this. Fresh take on vampires, no insta-love or love triangles. Kick butt action and what sounds like a swoon-worthy love interest! Sign me up. Lovely review! :)

  11. Yay I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book Aa'Ishah! I too was a bit tired of the vampire genre, but love it when you stimble across something which totally blows your mind! I think I will have to check this book out soon! Wonderful review A! :)

  12. YES to your first sentence! I was thinking about that recently and wondering whether to just scrap ratings because they don't show a fair representation of my thoughts sometimes, but... I probably won't. I'm dependant on them haha. ANYWAY.

    Vampires who worship gods? Oh, I am SOLD already. I love that there is clear growth from Zee over the novel AND that it's free from insta-love and love triangles! WOO. I love me plot twists and successful retakes on mythology and subtle, witty banter and your AMAZING review and... okay, yup. This sounds awesome!

  13. First of all, I actually feel so bad right now reading this because your reviews are always amazing and I've missed them all these past few weeks! Sorry! :( But I'm back, and this books sounds so interesting! The vampires-worshipping-gods thing isn't something I've heard of, and it's definitely hard to find a fresh take on vampires these days so that sounds fascinating! Glad you took a chance on it and liked it, A. :)


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