Although the main character is just sixteen, in some ways Jealousy - the third book in Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series - reads less like the YA I'm used to than Paranormal Romance of the 'grown up' variety.
As I hadn't read a Strange Angels novel before, I have to confess that I did have a little trouble catching up on certain elements of the story so far. In Jealousy, we find Dru at the Schola Prima, enrolled in training classes under the watchful eye of the Order - and evil eye of queen bee svetocha Anna. Lili St. Crow's 'real world' of djampirs, svetochas and wulfen is both original and fascinating, but newcomers to the series may find it takes a little while to get a grip on their hierarchy and Dru's history among them. My guess is that book one is definitely the place to start on this occasion. While heroine Dru narrates with a wry humour that is both clever and engaging, her tone hints at someone older and more emotionally sophisticated than your average YA heroine. I'd have estimated her age to be in the early twenties if it weren't for the fact she's still at school. Since some of the other main players here are not as young as they look, they also bring a more adult feel to the story as a whole.
Dru herself is an interesting and fairly formidable heroine. She's practical and likeable and fights with a ferocity that's frankly breathtaking. A female in a largely male world, there's definitely a tension between her readiness to be one of the boys and the boys' eagerness to treat her like something special. The djampir boarding school at which Dru finds herself is drawn with an attention to deal that makes for plenty of uneasy atmosphere, heightened by the fact that Dru never really knows who to trust. Dru's main problem - apart from the risk of being killed by nosferatu attackers at any given moment - is the less than warm reception she receives from bitter but powerful Anna, who may have more to do with Dru's past than she's letting on. Then there's Dru's romantic feelings for her protective wulfen best friend Graves and the mysterious djampir Christophe, which waver tantalisingly between the two.
Jealousy is a pleasingly dark and suprisingly witty tale with serious crossover appeal. While not my usual type of read, I quite liked it. I'd recommend it to those who enjoy Paranormal Romance for adult readers, and I'd definitely advise checking out the earlier books in the series first.
Out: July 29th 2010, UK / US
Thank you to Quercus for providing a review copy of this book.