Series: Slayer Chronicles #1
Published by Dial on September 20, 2011
Joss McMillan’s perfect life crashes down the night he witnesses his sister’s murder — at the hands of a vampire. He then finds out his family’s secret heritage: They are part of the Slayer Society, a group whose mission is to rid the world of vampires. Joss is their new recruit. As Joss trains, bent on seeking revenge for his sister, he discovers powers that could make him the youngest, strongest Slayer in history. But there is a traitor in the Society, one whose identity would shake Joss to the core . . . if the traitor doesn’t kill him first. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod is still sinking its fangs into new listeners every day. Now, bestselling author Heather Brewer brings us the other side of the story, from the perspective of Vlad’s former friend turned mortal enemy: vampire slayer Joss McMillan. This is the first in a series of five books that can be listened to alongside Vlad Tod or entirely on their own.
I’ve been a Minion (term for fans of Heather Brewer and the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series) since Eighth Grade Bites (Vladimir Tod #1) came out in 2007. So, forever, basically. I’m ashamed of myself for not reading this awesome spin-off sooner! The prologue caught me right away and I knew this book would refuse to let me go until the very last page.
I already knew some of the back-story from reading The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod – we don’t learn a lot about Joss, but enough to know why he was driven to become a part of the Slayer Society. Seeing the whole story, from the beginning, from Joss’s point of view, definitely makes me feel more sympathetic towards him and the things he did in The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.
My heart breaks for Joss throughout much of the story. He’s a dutiful big brother, yet he feels like “the invisible boy,” both at school and at home. He’s a loner with no friends, for no reason other than the fact that he’s a little bit stronger, a little bit faster.
I really liked Malek. He’s calm and funny, yet serious and dedicated. He treated Joss like a son. At one point, he called Joss a kid, but it felt affectionate, not condescending as it did when Abraham said it. Honestly, I thought his fate was a trick at first – a test Abraham had concocted for Joss. My heart grew heavy when I realized this wasn’t the case. In his absence, I quickly became fond of Sirus, but of course, that didn’t end well, either.
Another great character, in my opinion, is Kat. Unfortunately, I can’t describe why I like her without getting too spoiler-ish, so I’ll just leave it at that. I liked her a lot, though, all the way to the end.
About halfway through the book, even though I still hated Abraham, I could kind of see the method in his madness. Near the end, there’s a scene between Abraham and Joss that has a lot of shocking revelations, and it provides a lot of insight for the reader.
Two of my favorite moments were when Joss stood up to Abraham and when he kicked Abraham’s butt. Loved it! Absolute favorite scene? At one point, Kat slaps Abraham. I died laughing.
Joss goes through so much during training – mentally, physically, and emotionally. He breaks a few times, but he always picks himself up. His growth as a character is obvious; he’s wise beyond his years – wise beyond even that of his fellow, more well-trained Slayers.
The ending was insane. I don’t know how else to put it. There are so many twists, turns, and shocking revelations, one after another. There are a lot of character revelations, especially, that had me on the edge of my seat. And we are introduced to two characters, as well, who will be familiar to anyone who has read the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. With one character, we are shown the events that led up to Joss’s appearance in Bathory.
In all, I absolutely loved First Kill. It’s Heather Brewer – what’s not to love?? I finished this book, and was eager to get right into the second book. Also? Reading Joss’s story really makes me want to re-read the Vlad books, if for no other reason than to re-read the parts with Joss.