Retribution (Anna Strong Vampire Chronicles, Book 5)
by Jeanne C. Stein
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielsen
Review by Gayle Surrette
Ace Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441017737
Date: 25 August 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Anna Strong is a bounty hunter. She's also a vampire. Because of the attack that left her a vampire, she's caught between two worlds; the human and that of the supernatural community. Anna is trying to hold on to her humanity and her contact with her human friends. Her vampire mentor, Williams, tricked her family into moving to Europe so she could break away from her past. Anna rebelled -- strongly averse to being told what to do with her life. She dropped all contact with Williams and those loyal to him. Now, he wants Anna's help because young vampires are being killed, drained of blood, and there are new vampires showing up who don't know any of the rules. Something is very, very wrong.
Anna's lover is gone and she's at loose ends. Williams has warned her about the danger to newly turned vampires. Culebra, a supernatural, but non-vampire that she trusts, is missing, and Anna's afraid he's gone after the witch who had once tried to kill him. Gloria Estrella, Anna's business partner's ex-girlfriend is back in town touting a new cosmetic and making Anna nervous that Gloria just might convince David to give it another try. Of course that was before everything went South -- in the meaning of bad, very bad indeed.
Retribution brings Anna face to face with all her demons. She wants to have a foot in each world, and to do that she's been ignoring her new vampire nature -- refusing to immerse herself in learning what the limits of her powers are and how this society that exists along side the human world works. Now she must learn and fast in order to stop the killings. She must accept who she has become and find her place. Will she give up her humanity and become like so many of the vampires she's met -- even those who seem to be fitting into the human world have some worrisome attitudes towards humans? Will she find a place uniquely hers? One where she can keep her human friends and still be part of the supernatural community.
The theme of the outsider has been a mainstay of many stories. With Anna Strong, Stein has the perfect outsider because Anna is still human in her heart while her mind knows that she's now also something more. The books are an interesting peek into the mind of a person who, as a bounty hunter, deals with the dregs of humanity but also appreciates the best of the species, all the while becoming part of a community that she still doesn't fully understand or trust.
Once again, a compelling story, as Anna follows her instincts to do what is right for all the people she cares about, human or supernatural.