Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Wicked Game
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
My Rating: B 

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: WVMP #1
Main Characters: Ciara and Shane
Release Date: May 2008
Publisher: Pocket Books
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, '60s psychedelia, '80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they're vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara's first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station — and the link it provides to their original Life Times — the vampires would "fade," becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as "WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll." In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs' vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around — next to Ciara's complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the "gimmick" enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren't so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher — and the perils graver — than any con game Ciara's ever played...

My Review:
I was attracted to this series because of the interesting premise and it worked for me. In this world, vampires fade if they lose touch with the time frame when they were alive. At this radio station, they've figured out a way around that. The vampires run the night shifts and they each play the music from when they were alive, but now that is being threatened because the owner of the station needs it to make some more money or she's going to have to sell it. And that's where Ciara comes (ie. con artist) guru.

Shane is the youngest vampire at the station, but he died during the 1990's so he still has a disconnect with modern times. He and Ciara have a connection, but after their initial run-in, she doesn't quite trust him, even though she really wants to keep him safe while simultaneously easing him into the modern world. 

While she may be a con artist at heart who normally takes advantage of people, Ciara is trying to be better. And she quickly develops feelings for the vampires....all of them. She wants to help and protect them and is doing everything she can to keep the station safe, even if that means she has to commercialize their "vampireness". 

There is most definitely a growth arc for Ciara's character in this book. Her entire life she's been taught to take care of only herself and she's taken that to heart, at the detriment of every other relationship she's ever been in. With these people, she's trying to be better and that leads to her developing bonds with them she's never had with others before. 

Shane also had a growth arc. He's very laidback and has never viewed his vampire life proactively. When Ciara comes into his life, she begins to help him see other possibilities...and she does this with all the vampires. Suddenly he's seeing more reasons to truly live the life he has, even if he's not human. 

It was a fun book. Like I said, very creative premise. It's a four book series and I'm looking forward to seeing where the entire crew goes from here. There were some major changes in attitudes toward the end of this book and it should be interesting to see how that plays out....

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