The One Where Wench Shau Made Wench Barb Read a Book
The Sabina Kane Series by Jaye WellsMany months ago now, Wench Angela challenged the Wenches to recommend books for each other. Many accepted the challenge, but as the year has flown by only a few of us have finished our challenge books, and even fewer have taken the time to write the review on their books. But as summer wound down and my most anticipated new releases of the year have come and gone, I've finally had a break in my reading schedule to pick up the first book in Wench Shau's recommendation, the Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells, beginning with Red-Headed Stepchild.
Why Sabina Kane for Barb?
Well, I wanted Barb to read something that has a story that’s rounded up in one book in case she doesn’t want to read the whole series, but also something that I really really liked. I loved Sabina and her story of finding out who she is and what she’s capable of. I knew Barb likes complex heroines, the unappreciated underdogs who have a chip on their shoulder, and Sabina is just the girl for her. So I kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.
Here’s what Barb thinks of the Sabina Kane series...
I took Shau's recommendation, downloading the first book while I was still in the midst of an incredibly busy summer, filled with travel, several new book releases, and personal responsibilities, causing me to put off reading the first book for longer than I had planned. I had just finished reading Stacia Kane's newest Downside novella, Wrong Ways Down (which I reviewed here) and was dying to reread the whole series, so I didn't think that I would get hooked on Sabina. I figured I would read the first one, write my review, and move on to Downside. I'm so happy that I was so wrong!
I read Read-Headed Stepchild and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't devour it, but I was interested enough that I picked up the second book, Mage In Black, right away. Somewhere in the midst of that book I became completely invested and read every spare moment I could steal. I finished it on a Friday evening, after which I read the novella in between books two and three, Violet Tendencies, in about an hour, moving right on to book three, Green Eyed Demon, that evening. I didn't get very far with GED that night, but I had it finished by Sunday afternoon, and the only reason it took that long was because I forced myself to put it down and go socialize with actual human beings for a while. It took a few days for me to finish book four, Silver-Tongued Devil, what with work and all, but I finished it one morning before work, and I was wrecked the whole day! So, today, I've spent the entire day devouring the final installment in Sabina's saga, Blue-Blooded Vamp, which was uh-may-zing! I tell you all this to demonstrate just how deeply this series dug its claws into me. It hooked me and did not let go until the last page, and that is a rare and beautiful thing in a book.
Why This Book Was Perfect For Me
My reading selections have been primarily urban fantasy or paranormal romance for nearly three years now, but I've found that I've been fortunate to be directed to the best of the best in those genres. So this series surprised me with a mythology that I hadn't yet encountered, complete with multiple types of creatures and a fully fleshed-out world that unfolded as I read deeper into the story, and a not-so-subtle reflection on prejudices we encounter every day in our mundane world.
As Shau mentioned, I love a strong heroine who is complex and flawed, but who grows and becomes a better person as her story unfolds. That is certainly the case with Sabina Kane. We know from the very first scene in the series that Sabina is a force to be reckoned with, but we learn that her toughness is really only skin deep. Beneath her bad-ass veneer is a vulnerable female who is incredibly lonely. But that changes through the course of the series, as Sabina learns that allowing people in, making friends, developing family, and finding love makes her a stronger, happier being. It's not an easy journey, and her road is bumpy, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Along her road to self-discovery, Sabina picks up a gaggle of friends and family who round out the cast of the series beautifully. The story is unquestionably Sabina's, but she learns to rely on the beings around her, giving us some of the most delightful supporting characters I've read. The new mages in Sabina's life, Maisie, Adam, Rhea, Orpheus, all are vital to her journey and are wonderful, faceted characters in her new world. But Giguhl, her demon minion, is one of the best sidekicks I've read. Funny, biting, supportive, a true friend, Giguhl is just a joy to read from the first time we meet him until the very last page. The development of Sabina and Giguhl's relationship is worth the entire series alone.
Often I measure the quality of a book series on its ability to wring emotions from me, and Sabina Kane has that, in spades. My heart aches for Sabina, for the love she didn't receive, instead being ostracized for events and characteristics beyond her control. I have a deep loathing for her grandmother, Lavinia Kane, one of the most vile antagonists I've read. Ms. Wells, through her brilliant storytelling and excellent characters, left me sobbing several times, laughing aloud more than once, gasping repeatedly from events I did not see coming, and filled with joy at the end of the series. It was quite a ride, making all of the heartache worth it in the end.
I absolutely loved this series, which got better with every book. It's very much a saga, the tale of Sabina's journey from lonely outcast to beloved family member and friend, with each installment leading to the next, building to a spectacular climax. Sabina has secured a place among my favorite, strongest heroines, and the series will now be counted among my very favorites. I am sure that I will read it again and again.
Thank you, Shau, for a wonderful recommendation, and for knowing exactly what I would love. You did beautifully, and I hope that my choice for Wench Merit will be as good!
Have you discovered Sabina Kane, Saucy Reader? Did you love the series as much as I did? Are you convinced to give it a try? Share your thoughts below.