urban fantasy book reviews Kalayna Price Once Bitten, Twice DeadOnce Bitten & Twice Dead by Kalayna Price

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsOne of the great joys of book blogging is the discovery of a new authorial talent. I recently had the distinct pleasure of reading two books — Once Bitten and Twice Dead — by new author Kalayna Price.

The protagonist of this excellent series, Kita, is a shapeshifter — a tiny tabby cat who hails from a world dominated by lions and tigers. Forbidden to marry the man she loves, she has run away to a world that closely resembles our own.

While she is on the run, in order to hide from those who would take her back to her home world, she pretends to be a stray, hiding in the homes of strangers.

As Once Bitten starts, an attack results in her accidentally becoming a vampire and losing her ability to shift. Before Kita can even accept her fate, she is convicted of a crime she does not remember committing and is forced — under penalty of death — to hunt down and stop a deadly killer.

Twice Dead continues Kita’s perilous adventures with vampires. As the youngest vampire, she has almost no powers nor any control over those she has. And yet when a powerful vampire, the Collector, brings her troupe of entertainers to town, Kita must solve a series of murders while avoiding becoming part of the travelling freak show.

Both of Kalayna Price’s novels had edge-of-your seat plots as well as a surprisingly vulnerable heroine surrounded by a strong supporting cast. I read both books straight through, which is increasingly rare for me.

What set these books apart, though, was not the plot or the character or the setting or the novel’s premise, but simply that all elements together reinforced each other. Once Bitten and Twice Dead were so well balanced and finely crafted that I am bereft of weaknesses to carp on, which, loyal readers may know, is sort of my shtick, even with my favorite books.

Alas, instead of critiquing, I will be putting Kalayna Price onto my must-read list.

Published in 2009. Kita Nekai, on the run and the smallest of her shifter clan–a calico cat among lions and tigers–is being hunted. She was expected to accept her role as her father’s successor whether or not her cat was up to the task of leading the clan. She disagreed. Now she’s less than a step ahead of the hunters, bone-tired, cold, and living hand-to-mouth in the city of Haven. And that’s the high point of her day. She’s also drugged, “accidentally” turned into a vampire, and sentenced to death for recklessly creating a rogue shifter who tortures its human prey. She’s got seventy-two hours to find the rogue, evade a city full of hunters, prove she’s not responsible for the rogue, and keep the vampire council from killing her. All while sorting out an apprentice mage, a married ex-boyfriend shifter-hunter, and the vampire who made her.


  • Stephen B. Frank

    STEPHEN (S.B.) FRANK, one of our guest contributors, earned a Ph.D. at Duke University and works in the field of education reform. When he needs a break from real life, he likes to indulge in urban fantasy. He has a particular love for humor, so some of his favorite authors are Dakota Cassidy, Mary Janice Davidson, Mark Henry, Julie Kenner, Katie MacAlister, Richelle Mead and Christopher Moore.

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