Saturday, 31 August 2013

New Release: Stage Fright by Michelle Scott

Cassandra Jaber’s dream of acting becomes a nightmare when she blacks out on stage during a private audition. She awakes, sore and disoriented, with a three-hour hole in her memory and a crippling fear of the spotlight. Although she tries to piece her shattered life back together, she remains at the mercy of the dark secret locked away in her mind.

But when a mysterious man, who calls himself a guardian of the night, rescues her from a terrifying attacker, Cassandra’s eyes are opened to a fantastic world she never guessed existed. She soon realizes that her midnight rescuer holds the key to her salvation. And her heart.

Where can I buy this book? 

My review:

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Cassie is an aspiring actress who loses her nerve and has panic attacks after a bad experience at an audition, though she cannot remember what happened to her. She soon works out that vampires are running the theatres and stealing the souls of the actors to keep themselves young-and Cassie is now on the menu.

This book had different elements from the usual vampire story. As well as feeding on blood, the vampires feed on the 'shine' aka souls of creative people which drains everything good from the person and gives the vampire added beauty and strength. This was different and I liked the concept. Vampires owned theatres and art galleries in order to have access to the creative souls. I also liked the diversity of the main characters. Cassie is part Greek part Arabic and worries that her Middle Eastern appearance could be an issue when auditioning for traditional white roles, but there is no chip on her shoulder about her heritage and no racism elements to the story. I liked this. She isn't 'Cassie with an ethnic background'-she's just Cassie, and she is a sympathetic character that you can't help but like. Her best friend Andrew is a great character and I enjoyed the added storyline of his domestic abuse at the hands of his boyfriend Caleb. The other characters like slimy Darryl, supernerd Perry, flamboyant Victor, Charles, Hedda etc are all interesting and entertaining in their own ways, making the book very much character driven. One other thing I enjoyed was the dry humour surrounding the plays that Hedda has featured at the theatre.

"Could you explain why Lucy Seward and a scarecrow performed a square dance in slow motion while a sad clown played the harmonica?"

"Did you see The Penguin, the Lemur and the Cheerleader: an Apocalyptic Tale last year?"

That was funny, as were Victor's mad plans for his new play which had Cassie totally horrified.

There are two reasons why this book has three stars from me. The first is that I like my urban fantasy to be all action, and I did find the first third of this book to be a bit slow plot wise for my personal taste. Also I'm not a great fan of the theatre so I did struggle a little with the plot being set mostly around the theatres and plays that Cassie is involved in. Despite my reservations, I did get more into the book at the halfway mark as the plot sped up. The whole last third of the book was gripping as we waited to see how the story was going to end. It is not my normal kind of read but there was enough in it to keep me reading even through the slower parts.

I would say that this book will appeal to fans of vampires, gothic reads and paranormal novels, to older YA readers and adult readers. 

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