Monday, October 10, 2011

The Becoming

The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein is the first book in the Anna Strong Chronicles. Anna is a young woman who, to the dismay of her parents, has quit her teaching job and begun an exciting career as a bounty hunter. She and her partner, David (a former professional football player), are about to bring in their latest bounty when it all goes horribly wrong - the man gets the better of David (a stunning first) and then attacks Anna. Waking up in the hospital a couple of days later, she has no idea yet that her life has changed irrevocably. Her doctor, Avery, senses the changes, though and takes her under his wing - he's a vampire too, after all, but much older and more experienced. Good thing, too, since not long after her release from the hospital, it seems the tables have turned and she's the one now being pursued by someone or something. The things she holds dearest in her life are being threatened, and Anna must learn quickly what she is now capable of, if she's going to stop whoever it is.

It was difficult for me to get through the first few chapters of The Becoming. The attack on Anna in the very beginning was uncomfortable for me to read, because it's a rape scene. In the hospital, when she begins to have flashes of remembering what happened and when she's told that she was sexually assaulted, she's very nonchalant about it, and starts to believe she was actually a very willing partner once it got started. I kept reading, though, and I understand why she felt this way - I also sincerely doubt the author is trying to play down the seriousness of rape - but that didn't make the first few chapters any less uncomfortable for me. Then, when Avery explains to Anna about feeding, it turns out that Stein's vampires apparently prefer to feed on humans while having sex. And it's apparently impossible for a vampire to have bad or even mediocre sex. So, after this first part of the book, I thought the whole series was just going to be vampire smut.

Which is why I'm glad I kept reading. The sex became less a main feature after that, and we got more into learning about the physical changes Anna is going through as she transitions from mortal to undead (it's a biological process! Doesn't all happen instantly here.). The action also starts to really pick up more, and it got really interesting to me. I like Anna, but there were SEVERAL times where I'd guessed where things were going (parts of it are a little predictable) and wanted to take her by the shoulders, shake her, and yell "REALLY?!?!??" I mean, I know she's new to the whole vampire thing, but she is a little slow to pick up on some things, for a bounty hunter. Aren't they supposed to be pretty street-smart? I can understand why she may not have wanted to allow herself to jump to certain conclusions, but come on.

I was a little disappointed that Anna does not actually use a crossbow in the book, though there IS a crossbow in one scene. The cover is cool, though, but maybe she should have been holding her .38 instead.
All in all, I know most of what I have said seems negative, but once the book got past the rape and the smut, it really started to pick up and I didn't want to put it down - I was very interested to know what was going to happen next, who was behind certain things, when she was going to realize who she could or couldn't trust - and I'm definitely going to pick up the next in the series! If the rest of them continue the way The Becoming left off, they should be full of action, which is what I expected from a series about a bounty hunter-turned-vampire.


Ace Books

Series Info: What came before this book? What's next?
Anna Strong Chronicles
* The Becoming (Book 1)
- Blood Drive (Book 2)
- The Watcher (Book 3)

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1 comment:

  1. I love it when books that start off bad redeem themselves. It's like a reward for keeping on reading :) Great review!