Review of ‘Damned’ by Holder & Viguie, intriguing YA series

“Outside, a wolf howled in deep mourning. A hardened Israeli soldier patrolled. And ruby eyes burned with longing.”(Holder &Viguie, 2011, p.509: Damned)

Such words paint the picture of how deep and emotional the novel Damned(Crusade Series #2) really is. I will take some time and focus on characterization, because I think that is the strongest point in this series. The plot is great and the action scenes are incredible by the way.

But the characters are who touch the heart. From the most cruel to the most caring.

First of all, Damned was very good. Team Salamanca face fights on all sides: Keeping Jenn’s sister Heather together since she is a Cursed One (vampire), Antonio, ah, Antonio continues to fight with Team Salamanca and is devout to God but his bloodlust is no longer quieted; then Solomon, another vampire has new tricks up his sleeves all while Team Salamnca try to dodge new supersoldiers that are a mix of human, vampire, and werewolf. Geesh, there is so much going on and of course, just like in book 1 there are a myriad of flashbacks tripping me up while all I care much for is Jenn and Antonio’s relationship and will they ever get her sister back to normal.

Now, back to the characters. I will list them, along with my thoughts about each, but please be warned. There may be spoilers in here and let me know if I missed someone.

  • Jenn Leitner: I like how the authors portray Jenn as “Just Jenn” in book 1. Suddenly she is bumped up to Leader and I like her transition from “Just Jenn” to an alpha in her group. Tough decisions must be made all while trying not to cry over her sister’s transformation and father’s betrayal. I think she will be a tough one just like her grandmother Esther.
  • Esther Leitner: Part of the Resistance and has a shady past. Her husband “Che” died in book 1 and she cares so much for granddaughter Jenn and her family, but she remains strong; helping Jenn whenever she can. Even so, she can’t believe Jenn did not tell her that her boyfriend Antonio was a vampire…
  • Antonio de la Cruz: Antonio, Antonio…he has to be one of my favorite characters simply because he has faith in God but grows fangs too. He is a tortured soul and maybe that is because like most humans, we have a base nature that laws, morality, and religion keep under control. While Aurora was torturing him, driving a knife near his heart over and over and depriving him of blood- Anotnio finally breaks…does this make him a monster? He thinks so and Jenn is his heart but should he just be himself or who God called him to be?
  • Holgar: Poor chap, that werewolf. He is also Team Salamanca. He is strong and loyal and I think he and Skye or at least he and Jenn make a great couple(although Jenn is on an Alpha mode and will completely dominate him). Holgar has abandoned his pack and mate for life in order to fight the vampires. To him, a pack is everything, but Team Salamanca is his new family…
  • Skye York: The White Witch. Normally I am not fond of “witchy” characters and books, but Skye, the witch with the rasta braids is the team’s healer. She is not a fighter, because White Witches are not fighters but she teamed up with Team Salamanca after her own boyfriend, Estefan joined sides with the vampires. He continues to get inside her head and with all the spells for healings and protection, her memories, and Estefan on her mind- she is liable to crack.
  • Eriko: The Hunter; probably has a small frame according to the description novels, but with a scary past herself wants to kill all the vampires after seeing one kill her own best friend on a webcam. What’s really interesting is that a few years before, Eriko was a part of a singing trio called the Vampire Three. She quit that after her friend’s death. Joined Team Salamanca, drank the elixir required for the one who’ll be the Hunter. This powerful elixir allows a normal human to become superhuman with super speed, super hearing, and super strength just like the vampires. For Eriko though, the elixir is beginning to be too much and it is hurting her physically…
  • Jamie: Mr. Hothead. He is probably the one I hate the most. He is Team Salamanca’s normal human, like Jenn but his disdain for vampires and werewolves run very deep. His family was killed by those monsters which means he holds cold hatred for Antonio and Holgar. At one time he did trust Antonio, but in Damned, it changes again. But Jamie has a fury that can squash any monster in his path.
  • Noah: New to the team and has a fondness for Jenn Leitner. He is Israeli and handsome and strong. I sure hope there is a love triangle- sounds weird since the books has a some love but is 90% action.
  • Aurora Abregon: The most terrible vampire I ever read about next to Sita in Christopher Pike’s books. She wants to see Antonio turned over to the evil side but she was hurt herself.  Long story but now she is on a war path.
  • Solomon: Red haired rock star looking vampire who promised everyone on the planet vampires were here for peace and not to start trouble. Whatever. He has Jenn’s father with him and he is just as ruthless as they come.

Bottom line, I love this series because it is showing what can happen in the real world if vampires were loose. Only Antonio is a vampire who has fell in love and prays to God, not all vampires are like him. None of them are. And it is a trying time for a team that starves, get injured, and yes- these authors do not mind killing off characters from previous books. They kept it real.

Thanks Holder and Viguie!

On to Book 3: Vanquished!


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