You think your after school job sucks? Try being fifteen-year-old Billi SanGreal for a day. After facing down mean girls in the cafeteria and sleeping through most of her classes, Billi has to go home to her London flat, don some chain mail, and head out into the dark to stake some undead with her hard bitten dad. See, Billi is the daughter of one of the last remaining members of the fabled Knights Templar, a mysterious society of Christian crusaders dating back to the 1100’s. Originally a monastic order of impoverished knights who ferried pilgrims back and forth to the Holy Land, the rag-tag modern day Order defends humanity against the supernatural forces of darkness, including vampires, werewolves and the occasional fallen angel. In spite of being a pretty smooth hand with a sword, Billi is sick of cleaning blood off her jeans and landing in detention for late homework because her driven, distant father thinks decapitating demons is more important than long division. Plus, her half Pakistani & Muslim heritage make her feel like a square peg in a round hole in the traditionally Christian fighting force. Tired of the politics and pain that come from being a Templar, Billi tries to leave the Order, but finds herself sucked back in when she discovers that her lapse in judgment concerning a tall, dark and handsome maniacal stranger may have resulted in the Tenth Plague being released on the greater UK. Equally distracting is the fact that her childhood friend Kay has returned from Oracle training in Jerusalem and somehow managed to turn into a total hottie while he was gone. Now Billi has to find a way to mend her relationship with her forbidding father, figure out if Kay is the Templar for her and somehow stop the Angel of Death from frying all of the world’s firstborn. It’s a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Billi can. Move over, Buffy Summers. Billi SanGreal eats vampires for breakfast. What else ya got? This creepy, cheesetastic gore-fest mixes history, fantasy and horror in a compulsively page turning way that will have you screaming for a sequel long before you hit the final chapter. (And yes, there is one coming.) Did I roll my eyes (okay, more than a few times) over some of the over-the-top bits? Sure. But Billi’s showdowns with various versions of The Unholy are truly terrifying and the book’s fighting sequences frightfully well choreographed. This is a must-read for The Da Vinci Code and Buffy fans alike. And don’t blame me if you stay up all night poring over the pages. I warned you–debut author Sarwat Chadda‘s story of the first female Templar is hopelessly addicting.
Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda