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Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Jury's Still Out on C.J. Hill ...

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tori Hampton has it all—beauty, wealth, athleticism, popularity and the prestige of being a senator's daughter. Her only quirk? The 16-year-old has a weird, inexplicable obsession with dragons. Ever since she was a kid, she's had the urge not only to understand them, but also to destroy them.

Tori's fixation leads her to a rundown dragon-themed summer camp in the D.C. area. At first glance, it looks like a normal camp—dingier than the Cancun resort she vacationed at last year, of course, but normal nonetheless. Then, things start getting strange. Tori's led to a secluded, secret part of camp, where a group of not-very-friendly teens sneers at her million dollar wardrobe, salon-styled hair and obvious lack of camping know-how. Her suspicion mounts as they put her through a rigorous course, testing her skills with rifles, horses and physical fitness. It's only after she proves herself capable that she's told the truth: Tori, along with the other kids in the special camp, are dragon slayers. An evil dragon lord is raising the beasts with the intention of using them to take over the U.S. It's up to Tori and her cohorts to save the country.

It's all so unbelievable that Tori's not sure she even wants to stay at camp, let alone be a Slayer. She wants to understand her powers, yes, but to go up against a real, live dragon? That's crazy. And it's not like the other Slayers care a fig about her, so why shouldn't she march right on back to her McMansion and forget all about ancient monsters attacking the U.S.? While Tori's deciding what to do, she's also struggling to prove herself to the other Slayers, resist the attentions of not just one, but two boys, and to understand the unbreakable connection she feels to the dragons. Does she have the courage to be a Slayer? Does she have a choice? When the inevitable happens, she'll have to decide who she really is and what she really wants—before it's too late for her country and everyone in it.

Since I love Janette Rallison, a very nice local woman who writes funny, upbeat novels like My Fair Godmother, I thought for sure I'd adore Slayers, the first novel she published under the pen name C.J. Hill. Yeah, not so much. The idea of a group of dragon-slaying teens intrigued me, but the story just couldn't keep my attention. It's too long, for one thing, and the characters never develop enough to feel like anything more than names on a page. I didn't feel a real connection to any of them, nor did I feel any connection between them, which made the Tori-Jesse-Dirk love triangle especially irritating. While Slayers did have a few exciting parts, mostly it just bugged. My conclusion? I'm still a big Rallison fan, but the jury is still out on C.J. Hill ...

(Readalikes: Reminded me of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan and a little of Firelight by Sophie Jordan)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for violence and very mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love: I bought Slayers from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.


  1. Ahh I'm sad to hear that you didnt like it. I'm a big fan of Janette Rallison too. I still might try it???

  2. I totally felt the same way about this book. Not immpressed with CJ Hill, though I do love Rallison.


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