Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback by Steven A Roman

StarWarp Concepts, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9841741-0-2
Available: Paperback

Pandora Zwieback is a perfectly normal goth/punk teenage
schizophrenic. Since she was six years old, therapists have been telling her two things: “Take your pills”, and “There’s no such thing as monsters.” Then one day, a thrilling series of intertwining events leads her to save the life of a gorgeous boy, the godson of a beautiful, immortal, monster-hunter. Her “perception filter”, a veil of naive, limited sight is
lifted, and Pan’s reality is rocked forever. Her greatest fears are realized: we live in a world populated by monsters.

She meets Annie, an ancient protector of humankind from all misbehaving weirdlings. In “Men In Black” style, most of Annie’s current troubles revolve around keeping the various monsters of Gothopolis, (the legendary parallel culture of paranormals on Earth) under control. But the deeper plot involves a truly  vicious assortment of vampire houses, competing for dominion over the human world. Their frantic quest is to be the coven that reanimates one of the first undead, a wicked fallen angel killed in battle centuries ago. Coincidentally, this demon is also Annie’s ex-lover.

Blood Feud is a roller coaster read; the action never lets up. Several main characters are deftly defined and become intimately developed within a few pages. Author Steven A. Roman has an incredible gift for running lateral plot-lines that intersect with a glorious crash, while keeping the reader interested in the fate of each player. The saga is
original and sufficiently complex to sustain several novels, and Roman clearly sets the story up for his sequels. Roman’s style is accessible and brisk; I was definitely ready for another story about Pan and her friends in the “Fiend Club”.

Although the violence (especially the weapon-play) is graphic during several episodes, wry humor and constant references to multi-generational pop-culture somehow keep the book on the comic side of horror. Roman’s themes of friendship and strong family ties play well; the love between Pan and her parents adds tension to the menace of the villains, and gives the reader a tangible reason to hope for the best for the heroes. Highly recommended for ages 15 and up for complexity of plot and violence.

Contains: moderate violence, moderate gore, mild sexual content.

Reviewed by: Sheila Shedd

*We interviewed Steven Roman here.

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