Friday, 29 June 2012

Wicked Game - Jeri Smith-Ready

Wicked Game (WVMP Radio, #1)
Wicked Game (WVMP #1) - Jeri Smith-Ready
Grade: Adult - UF
Rating: 5/5 stars


Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, '60s psychedelia, '80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they're vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara's first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station — and the link it provides to their original Life Times — the vampires would "fade," becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as "WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll." In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs' vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around — next to Ciara's complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the "gimmick" enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren't so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher — and the perils graver — than any con game Ciara's ever played...(Description from Goodreads)

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I love Jeri Smith-Ready. Just thought I’d put it out there. There are some authors that can just do no wrong and, for me, Jeri is one of those authors. I know vampires and con artists aren’t exactly new these days, but I never considered putting the two in the same story. The mix of the supernatural and deception circulating throughout ‘Wicked Game’ made it a more engaging story that I could ever have hoped for.

My favourite part of ‘Wicked Game’ had to be the main character: Ciara Griffin. Like all good Urban Fantasy characters, she has a troubled past that we’re introduced to throughout the story. There are so many layers to Ciara and she hides herself so well – probably because she grew up pretending to be different people in order to con them, because that’s who she is: the daughter of two con artists; bending the truth comes naturally to her. We get to see Ciara grow and change throughout the book. Her skills are used in many tricky ways and her idea of the world gets modified drastically – who wouldn’t have their mind changed slightly when they discover vampires exist? But I really enjoyed seeing how strong Ciara is. She’s sceptical and doesn’t instantly believe in the idea of vampires; more often than not she thinks before acting (which is more than some UF characters can claim) and she doesn’t let herself get pulled into things she doesn’t believe in such as religion and, like I mentioned earlier, the existence of vampires themself. I found these all added up to make an extremely strong leading lady. I love her.

I also love vampires. Not in an I-want-to-be-one way, but if I had to pick a favourite supernatural being it would definitely be vampires. I’m always a little surprised – and insanely happy – when I came across a new vampire story that puts a unique spin on the vampire myth. That’s not to say the traditional cape wearing “I want to suck your blood” vamps aren’t interesting, but I love when there’s a bit of a creative spark that makes the author’s vampires stand out in the crowd. ‘Wicked Game’ has that spark for me. Jeri Smith-Ready’s vampires – upon undeath – become frozen in the era they were turned in. While the world changes around them, they’re unable to adapt and learn the new ways of the new least not without some serious help and a lot of struggle. That’s not their only quirk, but it’s the one that hooked me onto their crazy awesomeness. I really liked the idea of these vampires from all over the last century being stuck in their different times, bringing their personal histories and experiences to the present while fighting to not “fade” – another vampire quirk where the vampire’s mental stability starts to lessen as they move further away from their own era.

Speaking of history, a lot is displayed in the book through the music mentioned. Jeri is my go-to author when it comes to music. If anyone could bring such a strong focus on musical influences and turn it into an essential part of an amazing story, it’s Jeri Smith-Ready. Music is obviously an important part of the story, with the main 6 vampires running a radio station, each hosting separate shows based on the era they grew up in. Jeri gives the vampires an outlet to fight the possibility of fading through their DJ-ing and through music. What better way to allow the vampires to connect to their past and unique eras than through the music they would have listened to while alive? It works so well and gives them something to hold onto. I loved it and it also gave me a chance to expand my own music knowledge. I don’t actively seek new music, but I’m really tempted to look up every song mentioned in ‘Wicked Game’ because I know they’d be awesome tracks to add to my ipod. Entertainment and musical education, only part of what ‘Wicked Game’ brings to its audience.

An important and major part of the story revolves around the vampire DJs and hiding their true existence from the world, while also marketing on it. This is where Ciara’s past comes into play. She’s perfect at creating a new image for the DJs and finds many ways of selling that image to the public without actually revealing who or what they really are. I love the excitement and sense of danger that comes with this risk – and it is a risk, as they could be discovered at any moment. It makes you sit on the edge of your seat hoping nothing will go wrong, but knowing something’s going to pop up to put a spanner in the works.

I loved every moment of ‘Wicked Game’ and can’t wait to see what trouble Ciara gets up to next.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)


  1. GAH! I've heard of this one! Lauren told me to read it based on one of HER friend's recommendations, but I never put two-and-two and realised it was by Jeri... who, I might add, I've still never read anything by... I need to fix this, because this sounds AMAZING.

    1. Jeri is one of my favourite authors. She's just such a fantastic person and her stories are so engaging. I can't say enough about her books. You should definitely give either this or Shade a go :)


  2. I love coming to your blog for adult UF recommendations! Great review, Kim! This does sound fun and I love that it's quite music-focused! I really need to read one of Jeri's books!

    1. I have so many adult UF books sitting unread on my shelf's ridiculous. But I'm so glad my reviews are giving you suggestions.

      I hope when/if you start a Jeri book you enjoy it as much as I do :)