Plot: 14-year old Nick Gauiter finds himself stuck in the middle of a battle with zombies, vampires, werewolves, and other really Big Bad creatures that go bump in the night.
Never read a Sherrilyn Kenyon book - a author well known for her Dark-Hunter saga - but after the can't-put-it-down sensation I had rushing through Infinity, I just might become a addict. Due to the popular demand of her readers for a book of hers to be more accessible to the younger demographic, Kenyon responded with this, a fantastic young adult novel. Typically, even if I'm 'into' a book, it takes me a while to read the whole damn thing. Nah, not this time. Read the first 20 pages at a 24-hour Wal-Mart, loved it, and continued to read until page 200 at my local Barns & Noble. Going nearly a day without reading the book, I rushed to the nearest Target to buy it before they closed, and finished the book later that night.
So, yeah, it's addicting, which is a testament to good writing and really interesting characters. Our main protagonist, Nick Gautier, mirrors myself what with the overdose amount of sarcasm he plants on in nearly every conversation. Although he has quite the funny side, Nick's serious when it comes to respect - especially in regards to his mum, just barely paying the bills as a late night dancer. At school, he's bullied for his under-privileged lifestyle and beat up on plenty, which typically gets him in trouble as the teachers intervene just when he's about to defend himself. One particular night Nick makes a choice that gets him shot and badly bruised, and is admitted to the hospital.
A stranger who calls himself Kyrian offers to pay all the expenses, and all Nick has to do is worth for him at his house - doing errands, making phone calls, etc. (nothing "pervy", as Nick goes out of his way to ensure) Right about here, Nick's life is thrown for a loop. It seems the football players at school are acting students and teachers by eating their skin zombie-style, and there just might be some truth to the whole vampire and werewolf thing after all, not to mention miscellaneous other creatures that go bump in the night. The odd thing is that everything seems to be connected to Nick, and although other people who are beginning to figure out there's something not quite right with the kid, he just wants to make sure his mom's A-OK in the midst of this zombie invasion.
There's also a super awesome character in the form of Bubba, a 'I-don't-take-shit-from-no-one' type attitude dude who spends his free time slicin' and dicin' zombies for the joy of it. He has some 'friends' who are part of the hunt - Tabitha (gorgeous Goth girl) and Mark (who's cool enough to douse himself in urine to mask his human 'stink'). Basically, the matter-of-factness to the whole thing is amusing and refreshing. Everyone knows the score instead of Nick, who's just along for the ride and not much believing what the hell is going on half the time.
Basically, the book's just fun. It nicely mixes a light and serious tone - there's a quite funny cultural reference or joke one moment, and the next scene is a deadly serious Evil Demon sequence. The story and creatures may not seem all that original and possibly highly redundant (especially in this day 'n age), but it works (as in, I successfully forgot my dislike of vampire & zombie stories as I read the book). Nick's a very interesting character with a great personality, and I'm very, very excited to see the next installments in the series.
Zombies, vampires, werewolves, and a bunch of organizations that delve into dark magick - The Chronicles of Nick is shaping out to be quite a awesome series, and (obviously) I'm going with the recommendation on this one. There's not a lot of supernatural books that geared for young adults that are halfway good these days - this just happens to be a pleasant exception.