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Book Reviews

Review: “Red Handed,” Gena Showalter

June 8, 2011
Review: “Red Handed,” Gena ShowalterRed Handed (YA Alien Huntress #1)
Written by Gena Showalter
Published August, 2007 by Simon & Schuster
288 pages
Genres: Aliens, Sci-Fi
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four-stars

Phoenix Germaine has been trying to earn back her mother’s trust after going into rehab and kicking Onadyn — the drug of choice for New Chicago teens. But when a party in the woods turns into an all-out battle with the most ferocious aliens Phoenix has never seen, she’s brought home in what appears to be an Onadyn-induced state. Hello, reform school.

Except, what her mother doesn’t know is that Phoenix has just been recruited to join the elite Alien Investigation and Removal agency, where she’ll learn to fight dirty, track hard, and destroy the enemy. Her professional training will be rigorous and dangerous, and the fact that one of her instructors is Ryan Stone — the drop-dead gorgeous, nineteen-year-old agent she met in the woods that night — doesn’t make things any easier. Especially when dating him is totally against the rules….

Red Handed is an action packed and highly-enjoyable read. While the first few chapters are a little predictable for some, the story soon develops into a incredibly imaginative world where humans and aliens alike battle together for the safety of planet Earth.

I remember reading one of the YA Alien Huntress books a few years ago – and I remember really enjoying it. Mistakenly, I thought it was this one, and decided to re-read to complete the series (it’s only two books so far and I’m not sure if Gena Showalter plans on expanding) but within a few chapters, I realized that I had in fact read Blacklisted (the second book) all those years ago. So, my venture into the YA Alien Huntress series became a new one all over again and I’m pleasantly surprised with what I found.

Gena Showalter has a way of writing YA fiction that isn’t completely dumbed down. We get those steamy scenes without them being ‘full-on’ – like the would be in the adult section – but they’re not vanilla, either. It’s a welcome change.

Red Handed is also incredibly light, but somehow all the action and world-building manages to fit between the pages. It’ll prove to be a quick and speedy read while at the same time being enjoyable. I must admit I’m interested in reading the original Alien Huntress series now that I’m familiar with the characters. I do enjoy Gena Showalter’s writing.

I loved the tense relationship between Phoenix and Ryan, though I am disappointed it wasn’t expanded upon further. I guess that’s what the Epilogue was for though. I know where Blacklisted leads, as I’ve read it so many years ago, and I know that it’s more of a companion novel than a sequel, as it centers around different characters that only had a small role in Red Handed. I think Gena had the potential to spread out this series more, into more books narrated by Phoenix, but instead we get the second novel set a year later after all is said and done. I guess this stops it from being repetative, but still, I would have liked to see more between Ryan and Phoenix.

Another bonus point in Red Handed was the ‘realness’ of the secondary characters. All too often they’re swept under the rug and seemed nothing more than paper cut-outs. Kitten, Emma, Cara and even the instructors made great personalities with a great deal of individuality to them.

I read another person’s goodreads review that said: “Think a younger, sexier Men In Black” I couldn’t agree more with this comment! Gena Showalter has created a great world with this series (and the original adult series I’m guessing) and I really recommend it!

Recommended to: Highly recommend to readers looking for a not so ‘vanilla’ YA series full of action and great characters.

About Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. She lives in Oklahoma with her family and menagerie of dogs, and truly believes love conquers all.

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