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36
4.7 out of 5 stars
What Kills Me
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2012
What Kills Me was a pleasure to read. The very beginning left me wondering if 'Zee' was going to be one of those ultra goody-two shoes that are simply too pure to stomach, but she wasn't. I liked her immensely. She was strong, without being cold; sarcastic, without being irreverent; and vulnerable without being a snivelling weakling in constant need of protection. Don't get me wrong, she needed protecting, but she wasn't one of those useless female leads who just flails about waiting for the hero to do all of the work. The hero, by the way, is also fabulous. Lucas is just as strong as you would expect him to be, but shows a surprising depth of emotion, despite his gruff exterior. Yummy!

What I loved most, however, was the witty repartee between the two of them. It was done very well and I think warranted five stars all by itself. It was often used to lighten a tense moment, without making either character appear oblivious to danger or overly flippant. I did think Uther's timely arrival there at the end was a little too convenient, but by that point I was so afraid the whole thing wasn't going to wrap up and be a cliff-hanger that I has too happy to care.

After reading the book and Channing's bio I have to admit to feeling a little inadequate. Apparently she is an awesome writer with an awesome job. I would ask how any one person could be so lucky, but it would be naive to think that there is no connection. I am definitely up for reading another of her novels in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2012
Okay, you caught me.....I'm not necessarily the target audience for this book. It's aimed squarely at the YA market and even with the best soft focus camera shot I could not be described as anywhere near YA - but bloody hell, I loved it!!

From the first page the story dragged me in and I just could NOT put it down!! I fell head over heels with Lucas, but I also have to pay my respects to Zee - one of the most likeable, least whiny young female leads I have come across in a long while. The story is well written and fast paced - with enough twists and turns to keep this old codger happy :)

I hope to all that anyone holds holy that this turns into a series - and if so I will be first in the queue to get the next one! 3 Cheers for Wynne!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2012
Axelia is just a normal student, studying in Rome when she falls into a sacred well and emerges a vampire. If that weren't bad enough, her unique method of reincarnation as a preternatural creature was foretold in ancient vampire folklore and she is forced to go on the run, with only a grumpy vampire sword-smith for company, in order to avoid losing her life.

The folklore reminded me a little of Queen of the Damned but it's such a different style and focus that it's not really that big a deal. I haven't read a vampire book in ages and I found this one a refreshing return to the genre. Although there is a romantic element, it's not particularly strong and the story focuses more on the action, which is constant and vividly described. The pace of the novel is non-stop and I found the first half a real page-turner. I felt the second half became a little repetitive but there was development and it was still entertaining.

I thought the characters were well-drawn, even the incidental characters were fully imagined, although I would have liked to understand more about what was going on with Lucas - he was quite an enigma really and I think the relationship development between him and Zee suffered because of it. In some ways I think the story could have been slowed ever so slightly to allow for us to get to know them better. As Lucas himself mentions at one point: "You're going to live forever. Pace yourself." but I guess that would have spoilt the sense of urgency. Overall, an enjoyable light read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2012
Wynne Channing's debut novel, "What Kills Me," is to die for. I'm not being cute here; this vampire novel kicks the you-know-what out of most other vampire novels out there.

The premise is original. The characters are well developed. The settings are beautifully described. The story is fluid and fast-paced. The action is almost non-stop, but never over the top. Most importantly, the series' potential is unlimited.

The main characters, Zee and Lucas, make you want to cheer. They're damaged, yet determined. They're also a great team, whether working in tandem to remove heads and limbs from enemies or supporting each other through a never-ending series of betrayals and heartbreak. Thankfully, Channing depicts how they deal with their burgeoning feelings for each other with style and finesse, instead of overwhelming the reader with endless prose about physical attraction and pseudo-narcissism.

The ending was one of the best I can recall. While bringing the story to a satisfying, albeit surprise, conclusion, the information revealed has the potential to turn the entire series on its ear.

I eagerly--but not very patiently--await the next installment.

I highly recommend "What Kills Me" for fans of YA, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy ... although I firmly believe it should be on the must-read list for anyone who loves great fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2012
By Bwgan on behalf of Zasah 04

I have never written a review before even though I have read and enjoyed loads of books. I liked this one so much I felt I had to tell people about it.

I downloaded What Kills Me yesterday and I could not put it down. It was so easy to read and a definite page turner.
The way in which Wynne Channing wrote it made it very atmospheric resulting in the story being easy to visualize in my head. Even though it would be good to see the relationship between the two main characters develop Ms Channing thankfully hasn't ruined the story by adding a complicated relationship or love triangle like so many authors have.
The characters are believable and well rounded and the motivation and behaviour makes sense unlike a lot of authors. The plot unfolded at a smooth and good pace.
To sum up, the story was interesting, the characters believable and I really cared about what would happen to them.
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on 28 January 2013
THE SHORT VERSION
What Kills Me is a fun take on the vampire myth. It wraps some familiar aspects of traditional vampire lore into a fresh paranormal romance that doesn't leave the reader gagging on clichés. Though the first few chapters dragged a little, the pace picked up with the introduction of the core action and never stopped. I recommend this to all fans of paranormal romance.

THE DETAILS

WHAT I LIKED
I meant to go to bed a reasonable hour and only read about halfway through What Kills Me before turning in for the night. That didn't happen. I stayed up until 2am and finished it in one night.

Zee, our main character, is a bit of a self-conscious badass. It's an awesome combination. Channing has some serious skill when it comes to breathless action scenes and vivid sensory details. As she described moments in the narrative, I could see the vivid colors or the layout of the land. Her writing is wonderful.

The wit, too, was great. There are some one-liners in this book that had me chuckling, and I don't usually laugh out loud with books. Sometimes that humor seemed out of place, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it.

The plot progression after the first action scene (chapter 4) was great. Though the moments leading up to that scene were a little shaky (I didn't really believe Zee's motivation at times), everything after was well worth the wait. I think this is one of those books you have to resolve to finish even if you're not hooked on the first page because it will definitely win you over in the end.

I liked the mythology of the vampires Channing creates. They're realistic, dark, a little heartless (most of them, anyway), and a nice change from the pushover vampires that are still somehow popular in modern fiction. Though these vampires can feel and love, that love has to be earned. No "I show my love by staring at you" BS.

I admit that I pegged the romance in the novel , but I still enjoyed it. At times I wondered if the motivation behind their developing love was realistic, but you see more and more of the characters' motivations and vulnerabilities as time goes on. I enjoyed that in particular.

Finally, the resolution really worked. In the final pages, I was breathless, excited, and completely hooked. The ending met my expectations--exceeded them, really. I loved what we discover in the final pages, and it puts a spin on everything Zee endured up until this point. I thought this was a perfect ending for the novel.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
The first four chapters dragged in a weird combination of too slow and not enough development. I related to Zee more often than not, but she had a few "what the hell are you doing" moments that had me worried. For instance, she runs into an Italian boy who gives her the creeps, yet she tells him these intimate details of who she is and why she's in Rome. And then she lets him--a stranger--walk her home.

Never fear, though. Those frustrations all but disappear after chapter 4. Once I hit that chapter--which is action-packed--I realized I couldn't put the book down. And again, I stayed up way too late reading it. I really did enjoy this book on so many levels.

The setting was sometimes brushed over such that I had to marinate for a bit to even figure out where I was. Transitions, too, jumped around at times. The characters would be about to start training in one scene, and the chapter would end. In the next chapter, they were on motorcycles with no clear transition between the two scenes. These settled out over time, but they jarred me from the book whenever I encountered them.

BOTTOM LINE
Yes. Definite yes. Read through to chapter six at least, and I can pretty much guarantee paranormal romance fans will love it.

Note: I received a copy for an honest review.
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...and the elderly woman standing behind the steaming cart grinned a toothless grin, her face folding like an accordion.

The line above is a small example of Wynnes' use of language. I love the image this brings to mind, it does it so simply. I wished I'd highlighted more for you, but I was too interested in read the book. Along with her use of language and original descriptions, the two main characters and their story arc, the overall plot and the character arcs were all excellently done.

The heroine managed to be both feminine, charming and cute, as well as kick-ass when circumstances required it. The hero came around slowly, but finally fell for the charms of Axelia, including her strength and capacity for compassion. I loved watching how their relationship unfolded, and how they bounded, steadily, by the end of the novel. It wasn't romance in the slushy, love at 1st sight sense. These guys were thrown together and `found' they had feelings for one another through friendship, sparks of repartee and mutual respect.

I enjoyed the vampire lore and prophesy too. And the twist at the end which I didn't see coming was a great closer.

If I had to be picky, I'd say that although well written, there were a few too many and too long fight scenes. I found myself flicking through to the end of them on occasion. But this is mainly because I prefer short punchy action scenes. Those of you who love well written fight scenes will love the frequency and length of these, though. It's a subjective thing, certainly nothing else.

For a debut novel (although you'd never know) this was an all-round great read by a rising star in fiction.

I recommend it and will follow this author eagerly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2014
This book has some nice ideas, but not enough to keep my attention in light of the somewhat clunky characters and plotting. Lots of action/adventure keeps the story bombing along, but it can also feel a bit rushed, and the story relies on the heroine vacillating wildly between sheer stupidity ("yes, I will go into that deserted and dark place with a strange man") and blind acceptance ("so vampires are real? Sounds plausible..."). An okay read and will probably be enjoyed by Twilight fans, but a bit weak for my tastes.
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on 10 July 2012
Wynne Channing's Novel 'What Kills Me' really does stand out from the normal, stereotypical vampire books. Channing has developed a new way of interpreting vampires and the way they function. The main Character Zee (Axelia) struggles with coming to grips with her new life and what may lay ahead.

Firstly, I really enjoyed the way Channing made the character develop over time and didn't just rush into the bonding of the character it made it quite realistic. Also, I really liked the way Lucas' and Zee's relationship developed over time. even though they had strong feeling for each other near the start it developed well.

If you enjoyed any book's like Twilight, House Of Night then you will be blown away by this indescribably fascinating Novel. Supernatural excellence!
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on 2 March 2013
What a fast and enjoyable read.
I should be sick and tired of vampire stories at this stage (I read so many of them) but What Kills Me had a refreshing take. First of all, it starts out in Rome, the main character is Canadian, and how she becomes a vampire is unique. Zee's voice was full of excitement, while Lucas is calm, steadfast and a little cranky - they balance each other out wonderfully.
This is an action packed yet charming paranormal coming-of-age story. I hope to hear more about Zee and Lucas in the future.
And the cover takes my breath away!
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