Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Billi SanGreal series series
Source: Audiobook through Audible.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is one of those book where I initially wanted to read it because I loved the cover, I know I shouldn’t be like that…but it happens. It ended up being an okay urban fantasy with mythology focused around the Knights Templar. I don’t think I will be reading any more books in the series though.
I listened to this on audiobook and wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. The narrator’s voice is very gravely and bothered me. The narrator did a decent job of distinguishing between characters and it was always easy to tell who was talking.
Billi is being trained to join the Knights Templar whether she wants to be or not. When an ancient enemy of the Templars shows up seeking a powerful mirror, it is up to the Templars to stop him before he unleashes the tenth plague and kills all of London’s first born children. Billi is forced to face the horrors of being a Templar whether she wants to or not.
The idea of a secret group that protects normal humans from the things that go bump in the night is a very common one for urban fantasy. So the premise of this story isn’t anything special. In this book this is all given a religious twist; you have the Knights Templar basically fighting fallen angels and the Devil. While I am not big into religious themed urban fantasy I did enjoy some of the mythology behind this.
The thing I really didn’t enjoy was Billi. She is a disaster of a character. She whines constantly about how she hates training to be a Templar and how she wants a normal life. She pretty much whines non-stop. I wanted to slap her and yell “get over it already!”
Billi constantly discusses how she’s been trained from a young age to be this deadly fighter. So I was excited to see her in action…that is until I saw her in action. Pretty much every time her skills are put to the test she can’t handle it, screws everything up, and either needs a guy or her dad to come and save her. I mean seriously? This is our kick-butt heroine?
The surrounding characters aren’t much better. Billi’s dad is a jerk, although we learn there is a reason for that. Billi’s “kind of” boyfriend isn’t much better.
In general the story and characters are spooky and gritty. This is definitely one of the more gritty YA urban fantasies I have read; I wish I had enjoyed the premise behind the story and the characters better because the writing style itself was pretty good. Just a warning to those who are squeamish; there are some pretty yucky scenes in here…think worms eating kids from the inside out stuff like that.
Overall this was a so-so read. I liked some of the mythology behind the Templar Knights and I enjoyed the gritty descriptions and writing style. This was more urban fantasy than paranormal romance which I liked; I also enjoyed the London setting. I did not like Billi (she is whiny and incompetent) or any of the other characters. I thought the premise was pretty blah and uncreative. I won’t be reading any more books in this series. Personally I would check out The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver instead if you want to read about kick-butt demon slaying in the YA genre.