First things first, I adore Lauren Dane. I haven’t read a book of hers that I disliked (though, I do have some favorites!). Secondly, what the what? How did I not read this series before now? Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane is book one of the Rowan Summerwaite series, and it completely blew me away. Vampires, goddesses, and a serial killer on the loose are more than enough entertainment. Add in Rowan’s quirky personality and engaging, realistic (often hilarious) dialogue, and you won’t want to stop reading until the last word on the page. A fast-paced read with wonderfully developed characters and terrific world-building, Goddess with a Blade is an urban fantasy that you won’t want to miss.
Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she’s a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.
A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas’s new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she’ll mete out her own brand of justice.
Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can’t let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.
I don’t think I can say enough about Rowan. Badass heroines (the more tortured, the better) are my crack, and Rowan fits the bill. She’s a vampire hunter, vessel of a goddess, and a woman still searching for…something. Rowan’s bravado and outrageous attitude are just another way that she protects herself – from feeling, from showing too much emotion. Underneath, you feel her loneliness. She can’t tell any humans about the supernatural aspects of her life, and, for legitimate reasons, Rowan distrusts and dislikes vampires. Her relationships with Susan, her mentor, and Thena, her friend and an acolyte to the goddess Athena, are clearly important, but Rowan needs more friends. With a tumultuous childhood and truths that rocked her to the core, Rowan seems to keep even her close friends at arm’s length. The believability of Rowan combined with the “extra” she gets from being Brigid’s vessel combine in such a dynamic character. I want to be Rowan’s friend.
As the local Hunter, Rowan is in charge of keeping vampires in check. When they step out of line, she knocks them back down a peg. Or kills them. It really depends on the offense. Her job immediately puts her at odds with the new Scion of the city. Basically, he’s the head vampire in the area, and he’s taking over after Rowan killed the last guy. The new Scion is Clive. He’s yummy AND he has an incredible British accent. Of course, Rowan’s chemistry with Clive is off the charts. Rowan needs a strong man in her life to complement her own strengths and to lean on when she needs support. Clive is perfect for her. They are so adversarial that it creates a delicious tension, and I was not disappointed when the chemistry between them exploded on the pages. I mean, if a vampire has hundreds of years to hone his skills, I expected the sexy times to reflect that expertise (which they did, though more sexy times wouldn’t have made me sad). Now, Jack did make me sad. Jack and Rowan clearly have history as friends and, once upon a time, as lovers. I thought I knew where things were going with Jack, but that idea train was derailed. Jack wants more than Rowan can give him. I think he knows that he just isn’t alpha enough for her.
The world-building in Goddess with a Blade seamlessly weaves current culture, preternatural creatures, and Celtic elements into an exciting backdrop for Rowan’s adventures. The combination of vampires and goddesses worked for me (I wasn’t sure about it, at first). I’m curious to see where Lauren Dane goes from here. Do we get introduced to more goddesses (or gods) with acolytes? Are there more creatures beyond vampires? I don’t know. With both Clive and Rowan living in luxury (though, Clive’s luxuries are substantially more extravagant), the weapons, cars, and travel are relatively unlimited.
Once again, Lauren Dane hits it out of the park. Goddess with a Blade uses popular themes of vampires and deities but in a wholly unique, creative manner. Plus, I think I have a girl crush on Rowan. She’s smart, funny, and totally badass in spite of (perhaps, because of) an incredibly difficult childhood. Rowan is the friend that everyone, including me, wants to have. Let’s not forget crazy hot Clive. He’s bound to have some attractive friends, right? Um, anyways… Just read the book. It’s so worth it. Buy it, get it from your library, or borrow it (legally!) from a friend. As you rush out to get the next book in the series, you’ll wonder (just like me) what took you so long to find Rowan.