I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million times more, the sign of the zodiac series is one of my favorite series that I’ve read thus far. So when given the opportunity to read Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson I was pretty enthusiastic.
Once she was a soldier for the Light, the prophesied savior who would decide the outcome of the eternal conflict raging unseen in the dark corners of her glittering hometown. Now Joanna Archer is just another mortal—still born of an impossible union of Shadow and Light . . . still hunted by both—and carrying the unborn child of a lover held captive by a depraved demon goddess. Joining forces with a band of rogue Shadow agents, Joanna’s ready to storm the stronghold of her demonic foe, risking everything to enter this ghastly, godforsaken realm where the price of admission is her eternal soul. Because in a world that has stripped her of her power, identity, and fortune, Joanna has nothing left to lose—except her baby, her future, and the epic war poised to consume the city.
To be honest, when I read Neon Graveyard I had no idea that this was the final in the series. It’s a bit sad to think that I won’t be able to look forward to these amazing books anymore. However, I think that if the series were going to end anywhere that this would be the place for it.
On that note, I have to say I’m always really impressed with Ms. Pettersson’s character development. Her character’s don’t come across as cardboard cut-outs. They have all the markings of real people with real problems, emotions, hopes, failures, and dreams. Joanna Archer, as the main character, comes across as the most genuine, and her transformation from book one all the way to book six is pretty remarkable. You can even see it in the covers, although I know that an author usually has no say in that part of their novels. You can see that each look signifies exactly how much she’s changed and this final transformation is probably my favorite. In my review of the fifth book, Cheat the Grave, I complained that in loosing her powers, Jo wasn’t as kick ass any more. In Neon Graveyard, Jo does a pretty good job of convincing me that even as a mortal she can compete in a world of people with extraordinary abilities. Seems like everyone wants Jo dead, and despite that she not only survives, but thrives against all odds.
Odds that include both the shadow and light troops of Las Vegas having her and the grays in their cross hairs. However, on top of that, through out most of Neon Graveyard, Jo is desperately searching for a way to get into the universe that is MidHeaven and rescue her love, Hunter Lorenzo, from his crazy ex. This, while really important, confused me as to why it was such a large focus in the book. Hunter is supposed to be the love of Jo’s life. Someone who knows and is linked to her very soul. So it makes sense that she would work tirelessly to rescue him from MidHeaven. What doesn’t really make sense is that in giving so much time to MidHeaven and it’s occupants, the story didn’t have a whole lot of time to deal with the tulpa, or Jo’s dad, who is supposed to be the main antagonist. Sure he was in Neon Graveyard, and his minions certainly made life harder for Jo and her cohorts, but when it came to the final show down between her and this evil being, I was a left a bit nonplussed. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the ending to Neon Graveyard, it was a good way to leave it off, but I just wish that more space was given to this inevitable clash that’s been building for five books. Because as it is, it happened so fast that I was left thinking ‘wait… that’s it?’.
That complaint aside, most of Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson was really fantastic, because while I wish that more ink was given to the Tulpa, I’m really glad that most of the problems that Jo’s had are being resolved pretty nicely. I’m not sure if there will be more zodiac books in the future, or some sort of spin off to the series will be introduced, because some aspects of the story are certainly left with a ‘to be continued’ feeling. While I definitely wouldn’t mind reading more about this world that Ms. Pettersson has created, the way it was left was enough that I’m happy with the story, and look forward to anything else that Vicki Pettersson has planned.
The Scent of Shadows
The Taste of Night
The Touch of Twilight
City of Souls
Cheat the Grave
The Neon Graveyard