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Review: Almost to Die For by Tate Hallaway

Almost to Die For: A Vampire Princess Novel (Vampire Princess of St. Paul #1) by Tate Hallaway
Young Adult, Vampires, Witches
Trade (NAL TRADE, 241 pages, $9.99)
ISBN# 0451230574
On her sixteenth birthday, Anastasija Parker learns that her so-called deadbeat dad is actually a vampire king. And he wants Ana to assume her rightful position at his side, in spite of the fact that she has witch's blood running through her veins-from her mother's side.
Too bad witches and vampires are mortal enemies. And now Ana's parents are at each other's throats over her future. It's up to Ana to make a choice, but deciding your eternal destiny is a pretty big deal for a girl who just wants to get through high school.

Author Site: www.tatehallaway.com

Everything I love in YA fiction! (5 stars)

Anastasija Parker wants what any normal teenaged witch does. To celebrate 'sweet sixteen' by passing her Initiation. Which might not be such a problem but for the fact she has no magic. Then there's the little matter of her father, a man she's never met. A man who happens to be vampire royalty, who wants Ana to join her vampire kin as their princess.

While her mom and dad fight for her love and loyalty, two very attractive options pop up on her romantic radar. Nikolai is a lead-singer and witch, while Elias is her sultry vampire guardian and neither will back down from protecting Ana.

As she learns more about the other side of her heritage and some dark secrets about the one she was raised with Ana will have to decide where her loyalties lie. It's a clashing of blood and magic in St. Paul and only Ana can appease the masses so she can get back to drama class.

I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it! It isn't every day that I pick up a bit of young adult urban fantasy and just fall in love with it. Maybe not every reader out there will feel the same but let me tell you what made it work so well for me.

Ana is the first character I've read that made me go "OMG it's a 16-year-old me!" minus the paranormal elements. She's less than cool but not completely friendless. She doesn't make up for it like other heroines in this genre by being all aloof and not caring. Ana wants to be liked without being needy and whiny but she also doesn't bend over and let everyone treat her badly. When she's being harrassed by a classmate she doesn't drop witty one liners but she still comments back. While she obviously isn't completely comfortable with the changes going on in her life she wants to give her vampire dad a chance to explain things. Wanting to know more about who she is and not just taking her mother's word for it. There's a rebeliousness in that I really found relatable.

I also loved that instead of being set in one of the many popular locales popping up in urban fantasy these days this book is set in Minnesota. I enjoy a fresh and less glamorous (or cliched) setting once in a while and Hallaway clearly knows it well enough to make it interesting.

More than all of that though the actual magic in this series starter is excellent. I kept thinking how I wished I had thought of the concept. The originality and the symbiosis (if you want to call it that) between the witches and vampires is well thought and leaves lots of room for meatier plots in sequels. If you love witch fiction I highly recommend you pick this one up.

Overall I think this is a terrific start to a new series I will definitely be continuing to follow. Young adult readers who enjoy love triangles, vampires, witches and quirky characters will probably find this a very satisfying read.

Other Reviews:

Katie's Book Blog
Roundtable Reviews For Kids

Notes: As per my request I received an ARC from the author.

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