Seven Kinds of Hell is the first in a planned trilogy of urban fantasy novels by Dana Cameron. The lead character is Zoe Miller an archaeologist with a difficult past who stumbles into the middle of three factions who are after some important historical artefacts.
Growing up Zoe and her mother never stayed long in the same place. Her mother was afraid of her husband’s people and didn’t want them to have contact with Zoe. The novel opens with Zoe having carved out a niche for herself as an archaeologist being summoned to be with her mother at the end of her life. Her mother warns her again about her father’s people and after the funeral Zoe discovers that they are still on her trail. To complicate matters further Zoe is a fangborn, though she doesn’t understand the implications of this and she is scared of unleashing her inner beast. She finds herself embroiled in a race between three factions who are all after the same artefacts when one of the factions kidnap her cousin.
I liked Zoe as a character and as the heroine. She is vulnerable yet tough and importantly for me she seemed to be trying to make sane decisions. I have a pet hate of characters who given the choice make bad decisions every time. She is also clever and resourceful and I believe that Cameron has skilfully crafted this character.
There is quite a cast of supporting characters who are weaved in and out of the narrative as required. The most significant are Will, the ex she had to leave; Danny, all who is left of her family and Sean her college friend. There are clearly unresolved feelings between Zoe and Will, she is frightened of revealing her werewolf self and their relationship is certainly complex throughout the course of the novel without ever becoming the main focus, though I did find myself wanting a few extra details.
The pace of the novel is fast, once it gets going, and it doesn’t let up for a second. The plot is full of suspense as well as twists and turns that are impossible to predict. I loved the way that Cameron uses Greek mythology in order to add depth to the storytelling.
Seven Kinds of Hell is a fast paced urban fantasy novel with a unique perspective on werewolves, vampires and oracles. It is tightly plotted and makes for a great start to what I hope is going to be a great trilogy.
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