4 out of 5
Book by Amanda N. Newman
Werewolves, vampires, hybrids—fans of the paranormal genre are in for a treat.
Uprooted from her family in the Ukraine, Anika Litynska struggles to keep up appearances with the rich and elite students at Dark Forest, one of the most prestigious schools in Alaska. Determined to help her destitute family pay her tuition, Anika gets an after school job at The Wolf’s Lair, a family owned burger restaurant in Canis Falls, but there is something unusual about her manager Brayden, something… unhuman. As Anika grows closer to Brayden, she is drawn into a paranormal world that has coexisted with humans for centuries—a secret that her family has concealed. As Anika delves deeper into the lore of vampires, werewolves, and hybrids, she is faced with an agonising choice. Follow her family’s legacy? Or protect Brayden from the hunters?
Hybrid Empire is an engaging young adult novel with a new twist on the werewolf/vampire phenomenon. Narrated in first person, Anika is a shy and somewhat timid adolescent who grows into a confident and assertive woman. She’s a powerful character that readers will enjoy cheering on, and a strong role model for adolescent girls and boys. The vampire, werewolf, and hybrid lore, while confusing to get your head around, details the complicated history and culture of these mythological creatures, and ultimately works in creating a believable world just beyond our own.
Scenes and chapters transition coherently, though it does take time for the action of the story to commence. The writing style is easy to follow and is engaging, adapting a strong and intense pace during the supernatural scenes that keeps the reader engrossed. Some events in the novel seem to work out a little too easily for Anika and become arbitrary, but it is a minor criticism against the overall story.
Hybrid Empire is the first book in a series and a must-have for fans of the supernatural.