The Horror Zine Review
Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback (Book 1)
by Steven A. Roman
|Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Starwarp Concepts (June 15, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
Blood Feud: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback
by Steven A. Roman
Review by Jeani Rector
Blood Feud, The Saga of Pandora Zwieback by Steven A. Roman is a journey into the world of dhampyrs, who are the progenies of vampires and humans that possess the strengths of the undead, but none of their weaknesses. Holy water does not burn their flesh, crosses and prayers do not ward them off, and sunlight has no effect.
It is also the world of goblins whose blood is tinged with the fairy realm, elegant gothic Lolitas from Japan, and of Annie, the “Beautiful One,” the centuries-old destroyer of monsters.
But mostly, Blood Feud is the story of Pandora (Pan) Zwieback, a sixteen-year-old goth high school student who has “monstervision.” She is able to see who passes as humans in this world that are anything but. Pan’s parents believe this is a mental illness and the psychiatrist has prescribed medication to prevent these visions. But Pan prefers to see monsters than to be doped up and dumbed down, so she doesn’t take the medication.
Adding to that is the complication that not only are her parents separated, but her father owns a “horror museum” and his latest addition is a coffin imported from Europe. The adventures begin when the real owners of the coffin want it back.
Blood Feud is considered a Young Adult novel, even though it contains words like “suck ass” and “asswipe.” I was not aware that profanity and the Young Adult genre can peacefully co-exist, but the author assures me that as long as the book does not contain sex, then it qualifies for the teenage audience.
That said, Pandora Ziewback is a very interesting and well-developed character. It is easy to relate to the problems she has with her peers because the ability to see monsters makes her unique, and in high school, unique translates into “different.” Being different does not make a high schooler popular, nor does Pan’s propensity to get into fights on school grounds.
Pan comes across as a real girl with real feelings and authentic reactions to those feelings. She is a smart and brave heroine who manages to stay positive and upbeat, despite the obstacles she must overcome. She handles difficulties dead-on (pun intended) and when the showdown comes with proof that the monsters she has seen all her life are real, Pan does her best to protect the ones she loves.
Steven A. Roman handles Blood Feud very competently and is a skillful writer. There is violence and bloody gore in Blood Feud, but that seems to be everywhere these days. Some parents may object but others won’t.
All in all, Blood Feud is an exciting read, and a page-turning adventure. Although intended for a teenage audience, many adults would enjoy it as well.
The ending is a bit of a disappointment because it is a cliffhanger intending to make you want to buy the sequel to find out more (Pandora Zwieback adventures are a series), but over-all this is a good book. It is fun, intelligent, uplifting, and interesting. It has well-defined good guys and bad guys, so you know who you are rooting for, always a plus. Best of all, it is not your sappy, run-of-the-mill Twilight clone. Blood Feud is unique, just like its main character Pan.
You can buy Blood Feud HERE.
About the author
Steven A. Roman
Steven A. Roman is the bestselling author of the novels X-Men: The Chaos Engine Trilogy and Final Destination: Dead Man’s Hand. His writing has garnered praise from such authors as World Fantasy Award–winner Charles de Lint, Bram Stoker Award–winner Elizabeth Massie, and fantasist and crime fiction novelist Neal Barrett Jr.
His short fiction has appeared in the anthologies The Best New Zombie Tales 2, The Dead Walk Again!, Doctor Who: Short Trips: Farewells, If I Were an Evil Overlord, Tales of the Shadowmen 4: Lords of Terror, The Ultimate Hulk, and Untold Tales of Spider-Man. He also wrote the graphic novels Lorelei: Building the Perfect Beast, Stan Lee’s Alexa, and Sunn, and co-wrote the direct-to-DVD animated short X-Men: Darktide.
In addition to writing Steve worked as a fiction editor, then later as Editor-in-Chief, for ibooks, inc., a New York–based publishing company. Among the many titles he edited during his tenure were: original licensed novels based on Terminator 2, The Transformers, Witchblade, Spider-Man, and Ghostbusters; the fantasies Dragonkin, Moebius’ Arzach, and The Orc’s Treasure; the science fiction series Isaac Asimov’s Robot Mysteries; and the Young Adult SF spoof Britney Spears is a Three-Headed Alien!
Steve’s current writing projects include the novels Blood Reign: The Saga of Pandora Zwieback, Book 2 and Doctor Omega and the Megiddo Factor, and the Mature Readers graphic novel Lorelei: Sects and the City.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Macabre Cadaver, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, Story Mania, All Destiny, and many others. Her book Around a Dark Corner was released in the USA on Graveyard Press in 2009.