Posted in Fashionably Late Reviews :)

The ‘Crusade’ series promises so much… but delivers something different

There is something about this series that kept drawing me to it. Maybe it was the cover. Maybe it was the blurb. But I know the biggest draw was because one of the co-authors is Nancy Holder.

Holder has worked on Buffy, among other things, and I felt like this series had to be a winner.


So, I‘m not going to review these books individually. I borrowed them from the library so I don’t feel obligated to do so. Aaaand… I don’t think you’ll enjoy three of the same posts. Because I would probably write the same thing about each book.

Let’s get one thing straight: I LIKED this series. I LIKED it. I felt an attachement to this bunch of characters so that by the end of book three I felt a little sad that it had ended. But I couldn’t stop noticing those little things that niggle a person.

For starters, Jenn is an ok protagonist. I struggled with her at first because she plays the ‘there’s nothing special about me’ card, when it’s blindingly obvious that there is. She’s special. She’s different. She needs to own it because her self-deprecation is frustrating to read. She did grow into her boots, so to speak, throughout the trilogy, so that was nice to see.

The real issue is that I wish this book had stuck with one perspective. Maybe then I would have warmed to Jenn quicker. Maybe I wouldn’t have been forced to skip large sections. You’ve heard me say it before; I’m not a fan of multiple POVs. It takes something really epic to sway me.

A photo posted by Sarah Clare (@behindonbooks) on Jan 2, 2016 at 11:18pm PST

This series roams over a scene like a camera on a crane. Everyone gets a turn with it over their shoulder and invading their thoughts. It’s told from the third person perspective but when the focus is on an individual character we hear their prejudices and such too. And it just wasn’t working for me. What’s that saying about too many cooks? Yeah. Too many POVs spoil the broth too. And when I say ‘too many’ I’m not having the golly wobbles about a dual POV… there has to be at least eight. At least. It’s like Game of Thrones. And just as flat.

I will also say this of this series: Stick with it. Read book one and don’t give up because it does get better. I was much more comfortable with the second and third book. Trust me!

Huh. However, the thing about the first book is I could not help but compare it to Buffy. As I said, Holder has worked on that show/franchise and the echoes almost became carbon copies in places. Let’s just look at the characters:

Eriko, the ‘chosen one’ super stregnth leader = Buffy
Jamie the hot headed Irishman (and he’s a little too ‘DOWN WITH THE ENGLISH’ for my liking) = Spike and Angelus in one.
Skye the British witch = Willow/Tara
Antonio the vampire who has a soul control on his blood lust = Angel
Jenn = Petulant Buffy. You know the one. Where she pouts and cries and doesn’t want to be the slayer anymore.

giphy (39)

Well… Kinda.

The only character that really stood out to me was Holgar. Apart from the fact that he would make a good drinking game (each time he says ‘Woof.’) he feels the most original of the cast. He was my favourite throughout the series. A little cliche considering he’s a werewolf with all the expected werewolfisms. But I liked him a lot.

Just a quick word on the ‘romance’ here: Jenn and Antonio were ridiculous. We’re told in the beginning that they love each other. But not having the reader experience the blossoming of this romance was a risky move. I just didn’t feel it. It took until the last book for me to actually feel anything on my end that this pair said they were feeling. And then they had themselves a cringey prophetic type HEA and… nah.

It’s essentially Buffy crossed with True Blood pitched at teens. But I never felt like any of the characters were teenage. Jenn’s sister, yes. But any hope I had for her character coming through and being awesome were dashed when I realised she was just a tool. She was the spanner in the works, nothing more.

I skimmed the parts from the ‘villain’ POVs. I just didn’t care. I wanted stay with the dream team.

Too many POVs.

Too many.

Toooooo many!

It’s a little frustrating because this series has bags of potential. And there were umpteen possibilities to make it something fresh and new, and to give Jenn a spicy and exciting narrative, but all in all it was very vanilla. Also, I may have to use the word ‘outdated’ too.

A photo posted by Sarah Clare (@behindonbooks) on Jan 5, 2016 at 12:06pm PST

If a fourth book were to magically materialise, would I read it? Yes. The writing is solid and dependable. I just think that this would have worked better on screen rather than on the page.

A middle-of-the-road read, really. I think I gave each book 3 stars on Goodreads because I liked them, but ultimately they’re not a good fit for me, and that was disappointing. These books SHOULD have been a fit. All the ingredients were there… It was just undercooked.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?



YA writer. Epic reader. Professional procrastinator.

4 thoughts on “The ‘Crusade’ series promises so much… but delivers something different

  1. I have the 3rd one to read still but it has been YEARS since I read them.

    I liked the multiple POVs but I agree that at times it was too much and it made it hard to me to keep all the characters straight. Jenn is such a dull character to me so I liked having other characters to follow; especially Jamie and Eriko.

    And I never felt the love between Jenn and Antonio. It was some weird platonic relationship that confused me more than it had me rooting for them to get together.

    I hope to read Vanquished some time later this year just to finish up the series.

    1. I know what you mean with the other characters breathing a bit of life into it, but I can’t help but wonder ‘what if’? What if it had been only from Jenn’s POV? Maybe it would have developed better. Who knows?!!!

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