Monday, June 18, 2012

Crusade

Crusade (Crusade, 1) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, 2010. 470 pages. Published by Simon Pulse. Source: Won.
For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun.
Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated — and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose.
Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself — and her heart.
First Sentence:
For thousands of years the Cursed Ones hid in the shadows, fooling mankind into thinking they didn't exist.
I am sad to say that Crusade did not live up to my expectations and that I was quite disappointed in it. At first, it was an okay read, but after further inspection I found that it just was not that good. Which is why it has taken me literally months to write this up.
It always saddens me when a book I think I am going to enjoy turns out to be a flop. I was first drawn to Crusade because the synopsis sounded interesting- girl leaves home to train and fight vampires and then forced to return home to deal with a death in the family- sounds like it could be good, right?
There are a few things that urned me off while reading Crusade: the characters, the pacing, and the cliche ridden predictability of the plot line.
For the most part I enjoy books that have back story- I like knowing why things are the way they are- but Crusade spent entirely, like the majority of the book, too much time telling you how things came about. While that could be good, I think had the the authors spent more time on keeping the story moving forward rather than backwards it would have done wonders for the plot and kept things moving along. As for the pacing, it was slow as all get out and not even the action scenes, which I normally love, could pull me in.
  
I would have liked to have seen more dialogue between the characters, because it seemed like the entire book was about the back story and building things up for the next book. The lack of dialogue really slows down the progress that the story could make because there was a definitely lack of interaction between the various members of the cast.
While the beginning of the Crusade starts off with a fair amount of action, but all the action rapidly vanishes for what seems like the majority of the book. Given the fact that the synopsis pretty much promises you an action-packed read, it was pretty much a walk-in-the-park and could have used a few more dashes if danger and slaying of vampires.
Jenn: I don't know if the authors intentionally made Jenn a weak protagonist, or if that was by chance just how she ended up coming across. One of the reasons I didn't much care for her is that she was...just unlikeable. While she was generally a weak character, the one thing that really bothered/annoyed me about her was that she kept going on about how she was special in the little journal entries throughout the book, yet throughout the book I never felt that she was special or about to do something the would change the course of events in the world in which she lived. That right there and the fact that she was all swoony over Antonio didn't help her case any.
Antonio: it kind of felt like he was maybe supposed to be the vampire version of Jesse- from Meg Cabot's Mediator series. Other than the fact that he reminded of a vampire version of Jesse, I did not like the whole girl falls for the vampire slant to the story. Why, because it has been done entirely too much and just seemed kind of forced in this book.

I did enjoy one aspect of Crusade (see->). While on a whole I didn't care too terrible much for Crusade, I did enjoy the fact that the vampires in it were not all sparkly and were truly predators of the night. It was a nice turn to see these creatures of the night given a more fearsome guise and that they were evil with no redeeming qualities.
Usually I can deal with a book having a few cliches, but Crusade was so loaded up with them that it just bogged the entire story line down. One of the things that really turned me off from this book was Antonio and Jenn. It's bad enough that, just, about every book featuring vampires has the heroine falling for a vamp, but the fact that he was one of the hunters and a vampire and the love interest was just too much for one character.

Final Verdict: Crusade was not for me. The story and characters were not enough to win me over.

Crusade earns 2.5 of 5 pineapples.

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