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I’m really excited to be bringing you my first physical ARC review on my blog! I was keeping my eyes open for these books when I first heard about them and when I got a chance to ask for ARCs, I jumped on it and I’m so glad I did. Thank you so much to Josie for sending me both Killian’s Dead and May Day ARCs for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Today I’m going to be doing a mini-review of Killian’s Dead and a full review of May Day, both by Josie Jaffrey. These books are part of her Seekers series and the first books in order when you look on her website here. Yes, I’m that weird person who has to read all books from a universe or author in a specific order! Keep reading for my thoughts on both books and don’t forget to pick them up if they sound like something you would enjoy!
Mini-Review – Killian’s Dead by Josie Jaffrey (3.5 stars)
Title: Killian’s Dead (#0.5 Seekers)
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Published: 4th of June 2020 – Silver Sun Books
Format: ARC – 50 pages
Love is for losers. Jack doesn’t care about anything except music. All she wants to do is find a decent gig, stand by the speakers and let the bass roll through her. It’s the only reason she gets out of bed.
Until she meets Winta. In the space of a second, everything is different. Winta knows what she wants and for one night, what she wants is Jack. It feels like the start of forever. Then Winta disappears and Jack faces a choice: should she go back to her life, or track down the only girl who can change it beyond recognition? One things’ certain: Jack has no idea what she’s getting herself into.
Killian’s Dead by Josie Jaffrey is described on Goodreads as a science-fiction fantasy novella and it is the first book in the Seekers series. In this short novella, we follow Jack, an 18-year-old girl who will soon be going to university and ends up meeting Wintra, a captivating older woman, who she falls in love with at first sight. And suddenly, her life completely changes.
The first impression I got of this book was that Jack was an incredibly strong, doesn’t-take-any-crap-type character, and because of her personality, I loved her straight away. I read a lot of fantasy books where the female leads are often a big vulnerable and wimpy, but Jack is no such thing, she is tough as nails.
I also didn’t really realise what genre this was and what was actually happening before the last sentence of the book where everything clicked and my mouth fell open. This is a really short novella, but I think the author did an amazing job of setting the scene and really letting the reader get to meet Jack, Wintra and Killian before the events of May Day. I really appreciated this as it gives us a “behind-the-scenes” look at their personal lives and mainly at Jack’s feelings and personality, which I really appreciated.
I can’t really say much more about this book without giving it away because it was short and a lot of things happened in such a small amount of book, but I will say that even if you don’t like the “topic” you will definitely be surprised – look at me trying to get you to read this series without telling you why and knowing that some people won’t like it but wanting them to read it anyway, make sense?
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
This was a really great first instalment and first look at these characters, the world in which they live and a teaser for the first book in the Seekers series. I was really surprised when I finished this book and read the last sentence, I wasn’t really sure if I had understood it until I started the next book, and then I was really happy – I know this is really cryptic, but you will understand in my next review aha!
I gave this book 3.5 stars, it was a really good and enjoyable novella, I loved getting to know Jack and she seems like she is going to be so amazing in the next book. There were some confusions for me and it is a bit vague, also, it’s really short, but I definitely think it’s worth it to get a view of what happens before! I would definitely recommend if you are thinking of picking up this series and all Josie Jaffrey’s books in the Silverse!
Full Review – May Day by Josie Jaffrey (4 stars)
Title: May Day (#1 Seekers)
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Published: 9th of July 2020 – Silver Sun Books
Format: Physical ARC – 377 pages
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one. It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die. Body bags on standby.
May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.
May Day by Josie Jaffrey is the first book in the Seekers, a paranormal/ urban fantasy mystery series (that’s a mouthful) in which we follow Jack, a Silver (vampire) – we learn about her life before she became a Silver in Killian’s Dead. In this book, Jack and her colleagues who are part of the Seekers, a team of vampire detectives have to solve a bunch of murders and Jack has to come to terms with her feelings for a few people!
When I requested this book, I saw on Josie’s website “Vampires are Back”, and that was the only thing I needed to request this book, I was so excited when I received it and jumped straight in, so thank you so much Josie for sending me this book and signing it too!
May Day is set in Oxford in the UK, and this gave me so many vibes from different books and shows, I loved it. I have read quite a few books set in the UK, but I don’t think I’ve read many set in Oxford, so this was a really interesting experience.
We don’t get much of an insight into where the action takes place in Killian’s Dead and I actually thought it was set in the U.S., until later in May Day when the same location appeared again and it clicked, but that could have just been me forgetting something I read in Killian’s Dead!
I really liked this setting, it was really cool to have an actual setting with vampires in it, it made me think of Twilight, but also, this book is so different to Twilight, you couldn’t get two books to be any different actually. And that’s what really drew me in, the blurb sounded so unique and the book is like nothing I’ve ever read before, it was great!
Jack: Jack is the main character of this book, and I personally adored her, found her hilarious, sassy and amazing, but I can see people taking offence. If I were to define her behaviour, I would tell you to take her with a grain of salt, she definitely has quite dark humour, which I really enjoyed and I thought she was great. I think Killian’s Dead really helps to give insight into her because even though we see a bit about her past, we don’t ever really see in detail how she was turned Silver, and the novella was really interesting and helped in that sense. I thought that Jack was a great character, she is spunky and she won’t take no for an answer, she wants to always find the bad guys and solve the case, along with struggling with her past, her feelings and trying to get over daily hangovers from the Valentine Massacres – you’ll know what I mean if you read it. I personally loved her and thought she was brilliant, I can’t wait to read the next instalment in this series to find out more about her.
Cam: He is one of Jack’s colleagues, and even though we don’t get that much of an insight into him, I really enjoyed this character and what we learn about him throughout this book. The thing I liked the most was his relationship with Jack, they are both frustrating but they love each other and have each other’s backs.
Naia: Naia is really spunky, she is definitely gung-ho and she blazes ahead without questioning anything. I think that even though both Jack and Naia are reckless, Naia is more so and I think it’s mainly due to her age. As these characters are vampires, they aren’t really old in terms of human years, but I liked that they all have quite a bit of maturity and really come across as adults instead of teenagers out of their depth. I liked Naia and I hope we learn more about her later.
Boyd: We didn’t really get an insight into Boyd either, and I didn’t really like him that much, but because he is one of Jack’s colleagues, I thought he deserved an honourable mention. He is the deputy of the team so Naia, Jack and Cam look up to him, and he definitely has “a stick up his arse” as Jack puts it, but I’m intrigued to learn more about him.
Killian: Oh my gosh, what an infuriating but also addictive character! We first meet Killian in Killian’s Dead – hence the title – and he is Jack’s nemesis. I didn’t like him to start with, but he really grew on me and I loved reading about his encounters with Jack, I had no idea where this was going, but this book took a turn at one point and I was nearly screaming. I really can’t wait to read the next book in the series as soon as it is released because it sounds like Killian and Jack have more in store for us and I’m definitely here to witness this!
Vampires: If you know me, you know I love vampires, and I don’t just mean “love”, I mean “LOVE”. I didn’t want to give too much away in the review for Killian’s Dead, but now I can talk about it and I have to say that I loved this element of the plot. I love how every Vampire book can be so different, be it the way they act, the way they are turned, the way they live, etc, and this was such an interesting thing to read. I just really liked how the real world was also built around them and I think that if you like vampires, you will love this book.
Murder/crime scene investigation: I love me some murder mysteries, and this book was really enjoyable on this front for me. I like it when there is more of an actual forensic investigation, but I did really like it. I wasn’t expecting what happened and the conclusions they came to, so I think Josie really pulled that off because I had no idea who the culprit was until they were unmasked. I liked how nothing seemed to match up and nothing made sense until they found one thing really important and all of a sudden, things clicked into place. There is murder in this book, and it’s rather explicit, as well as gory and bloody, but if you don’t mind that, I think you’ll enjoy this book!
Relationships: I found that this book had some really interesting relationships, both friendly and romantic, which I really appreciated, as a lot of fantasies I read have one or the other. This book has a lot of things going for it, but I loved how Jack was struggling to come to terms with her feelings, and I have an inkling that she will still be struggling with them in the next book. I loved seeing how Jack and Killian’s relationship evolved throughout the book, it was all over the place and messy, really intriguing and so annoying, but I loved it, and I also loved her relationship with Tabitha, and Cam!
Something I absolutely adored in this book was the trigger/content warnings, so thank you, Josie, for adding these, however, I would have preferred for them to be at the start of the book because I only saw them when the book fell out of my hand last night and the page sort of opened onto it, but I am really happy that they were added because it’s really important to make sure people will be comfortable reading a book.
Here is a list of content warnings that you can find in the back of the ARC copy if you have one. I’ll also be adding these to the May Day page on Book Trigger Warnings, a wiki created by Jenny from JenJen Reviews and her partner Rob!
Trigger Warnings: general warning for violence/murder, general warning for blood/gore, including blood-drinking, description of injuries, dead bodies, forensic investigation, autopsy. Brief mention of suicide. Blood drinking as pleasurable/sexual behaviour. Some swearing (up to and including “fuck”). Use of “date rape” drugs including Rohypnol, in a non-sexual context. Predatory sexual behaviour discussed on-page but not seen, including stalking, sexual assault and rape, physical abuse of women for sexual pleasure. Use/abuse of prostitutes mentioned. Misogyny from side characters. Brief mention of miscarriage.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, I think this was a great first book in an urban fantasy, paranormal, mystery series and I was hooked from the minute I started it, I couldn’t put it down and that hasn’t happened for a while for me!
I loved everything that this book offered, specifically the vampires, because I’m still a 13-year-old with a crush on Edward ahaha! This book was great and I loved this new representation of vampires, it was really cool and I loved how intricate their system seemed, with the contrast of the Seekers’ simpler life. I loved the mystery side to this book, but also the relationship side with the friendships and the little touch of romance. I do prefer a touch of romance in fantasies, and this was just the perfect amount for me.
I gave this book 4 stars, I really enjoyed it, and I think a lot of people will also really enjoy it. I’m so glad I got a chance to read this. The writing style was really fluid and I enjoyed it a lot, I loved Jack’s sarcasm and the humour was so on point, I can see people not really liking the tone of the book, but I personally loved it and found it so sassy and snarky! I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of this series, that ending really surprised me and I can tell that the next one is going to be even better, I can’t wait to read more books by this author! I definitely recommend it!
Thank you so much to Josie for sending me the ARCs of Killian’s Dead and May Day, this was such a great experience and I’m so glad I got the chance to read both of them so quickly.
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JOSIE JAFFREY
“I have always written stories, but it wasn’t until I started the first book in the Solis Invicti series in 2014 that I really became obsessed with writing. I love to read, particularly where the escapism of the story is enhanced with an element of fantasy or science fiction. For me, writing is simply an extension of that journey, but I get to decide what happens next (though it’s amazing how often the characters seem to decide for themselves what I’m going to write!). I love to hear from readers, so please do get in touch through my website or via Twitter.” – Josie Jaffrey