Review: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Box Set (Books 1-3) by Nikki Jefford (Narration by Em Eldridge)

Who doesn’t love a deal, especially when it’s a great audiobook listen. YA PNR/UF romance enthusiasts will not want to miss checking out the Aurora Sky Vampire Hunter Box Set which includes all of the first 3 (full-length!) stories from the Vampire Hunter Series. For just one Audible credit you get 22 and 1/2 hours of entertainment!

Book 1 Review: Aurora Sky

4.5 “A New Bite on Life” Stars for the story and narration!

Move over Buffy, there is a new teenage vampire huntress in town! Given that YA vampire romance is how I became hooked on audiobooks (yes, you know which series I’m talking about: )) and that I watched nearly every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer way back in the day, I’m ecstatic to say that I have found a new vampire series to dig my teeth into: Aurora Sky! Book 1 in the series does a fabulous job of setting up this creative take on vampire lore with a YA audience in mind. Moreover, Em Eldridge’s smooth narration makes this a perfect choice to experience in audio format!

When Aurora Sky wakes up from a car accident, on a secret military base, as a different person (literally–or at least a highly engineered version of herself–think the teenage huntress equivalent of the Bionic Woman), Aurora knows that her life will never be the same again. Injected with a virus that makes her blood similar, and yet highly toxic, to vampires; the military agents inform Aurora that if she wants to continue receiving the frequent antidotes that she will need to keep her alive, she must work with them to kill vampires. Aurora who has never been particularly athletic, is perplexed by this request, until she learns that her secret weapon requires no prior or unique combat skills: its her blood–one bite renders a vampire immobile allowing her to easily finish him or her off.

But Alaska resident and 18 year-old, high-school senior, Aurora, is still a teenager with typical teenage problems, as can be best demonstrated by a list of resolutions she compiles shortly after her transformation:

1. <s>Kill first vampire</s>,
2. Get drunk,
2. Kiss a boy, and
3. Lose virginity

“With the first done, everything else should be easy!” Famous last words?

Book 1 also introduces us to a number of potential love interests. From Aurora’s vampire hunting partner, Dante, to a boy from school, called Fane, who turns out to be so much more than just a boy, Aurora has her hands full with both her personal life as well as her nocturnal activities. But will she actually get to cross all the items off her list before she finds a vampire who hunts her down instead?

Having listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed Em Eldridge’s narrations before (in her narrations of several books of Penny Reid’s Knitting in Clay series), I knew I was in for a treat from a narration perspective. I’m happy to say that Ms. Eldridge didn’t disappoint. From her perfect rendition of Aurora, who I can picture just from her intonation, to even her perfect British accented intonation for Fane’s roommate, Ms. Eldridge spares no detail in making her narration exactly adapted to the story that Nikki Jefford has penned! Moreover, Ms. Eldridge’s pacing and smooth voice make listening to this title seamless, so that you can just sit back and enjoy the story.

All in all, Aurora Sky is a great debut to a YA PNR/UF romance series that I will no doubt want to explore in much greater detail. Now I can’t wait to start book 2 in the Vampire Hunter Series, Northern Bites!

Book 2: Northern Bites

4.5 “New Allies?” Stars for the story and narration.

Northern Bites, book 2 in the Aurora Sky: Vampire Huntress Series, continues rights where book 1 leaves off. After a mission gone awry, Aurora, and her vampire hunting partner (Dante), are under probation. Moreover, and perhaps even worse from Aurora’s perspective, they have a new informant they are forced to work with and who is none other than Valerie from the first book, who helped cause Aurora’s break-up from her vampire boyfriend, Fane. Can this possibly be a recipe for vampire hunting success?

Further complicating matters, when the death of another vampire hunter agent (and a high school boy with a connection to Aurora) requires them to end their probation early and go to a mission in Sitka, they are also forced to work with Jared, a recruiter in their organization. As things begin to unravel, it becomes clear that there is more to Jared than first meets the eye, and not necessarily in a good way. Can the vampire hunting team complete their mission under such circumstances? Moreover, what secrets is Jared hiding, and what’s his true agenda?

But not everything in Aurora’s life in Northern Bites is work. There are also several developments in Aurora’s love life. Even as she misses Fane and despairs over the fact that a relationship could never work between a vampire and vampire hunter anyway, the flirtatious tension between Aurora and Dante rise to a new level. Could we possibly have a love triangle?

Further complementing this intriguing YA PNR/UF series is Em Eldridge’s satisfying and pleasing narration. Having already grown to enjoy her rendition of Aurora Sky and the other players in the Aurora Sky Vampire Hunter Series from book 1, it was easy to join right into where book 1 leaves off at the beginning of Northern Bites. Moreover, I truly appreciated the remarkable consistency that Ms. Eldridge maintained between the characters’ voices that appear in both books. Additionally, I think Ms. Eldridge does a fabulous job of capturing the personalities of each character in her intonations. In Northern Bites I particularly liked her fun and yet somewhat mischievous portrayal of Valerie, who plays a much larger role in this book. I also enjoyed her voicing of Jared who also plays a larger role in this book (sounding appropriately mysterious and authoritative–just what is he up to?).

I can’ wait to continue to hear Aurora’s, and her cast of vampire and vampire hunting friends’ story, in book 3, Bad Blood. I’m particularly looking forward to see which direction her love interest takes. Personally, I’m rooting for Fane, though the obstacles in their way are certainly of the “deadly” variety.

Book 3: Bad Blood

4 “Hunter or Hunted” Stars?

Book 3, Bad Blood, picks up a short while after Book 2, Northern Bites. Aurora has been away at vampire hunter agent training camp for six months, and she’s about to take a test to see if she passes and can finally go back home. Meanwhile, Aurora’s past hunts are coming back to haunt her–not literally, but by at least one “family” vampire member, and a separate vampire–who she already knows–conducting an investigation into Marcus’ death. Can Aurora evade those who are after and investigating her, or will the vampire hunter become vampire prey?

As if things with her job were not bad enough, more evidence comes to light that certain individuals at the government agency she works for may not be who they at first seem. Will they protect Aurora or do they have her true interests at heart? As part of her job, Aurora also has to once again work and get along with Valerie and Noel. But can she trust them?

Last but definitely not least the love triangle continues to flourish with both Dante and Fane vying for Aurora’s attentions. But just who makes her heart beat faster?

Em Eldridge continues her well done narration in Bad Blood. Having not only the same narrator but also a narrator who makes a concerted effort to maintain consistent character voices across books really helps the listener settle right into the story. In addition, Bad Blood tests Ms. Eldridge’s ability to deliver French phrases and French accented voices with the appearance of a French teacher who draws Aurora’s suspicions.

This third book was a little slower in the beginning with so many plot lines tempting and tantalizing us with potential plot twists. However, the last quarter of the book really heats up with potential directions, from what Aurora really is to what she really wants to accomplish. My mind is swirling with possibilities. Now I can’t wait to see which direction Aurora decides to take, and who she decides to align herself with from a friends and allies perspective. Nevermind, who she will ultimately end up with from a love perspective: Fane or Dante? I can’t wait to listen to book 4, Hunting Season, to keep piecing together how Aurora’s story will ultimately end.

Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.