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Julie Doe

Tainted - Julie Kenner I'm coming in kind of late with a review here, but I just recently finished this series. Tainted is the first book in the Blood Lily Chronicles.

Lily Carlyle is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Her younger sister, Rose, is raped by a man named Lucas Johnson. When Johnson is released on a technicality and begins to stalk Rose, Lily takes matters into her own hands and kills Johnson. Unfortunately, Lily is also killed during the attack.

Lily wakes up in the body of Alice Purdue, a bar maid at the Bloody Tongue. The Bloody Tongue is owned by her uncle Egan, and, as it turns out, by Alice and Alice's sister Rachel. Lily is soon greeted by an odd creature who calls himself Clarence and who tells Lily that her mission is to assure that the Ninth Gate to Hell is locked before something called Convergence. At Convergence, which is imminent, the legions of Hell will be able to pass through to Earth. Part of what she will have to do is kill demons.

Lily begins her demon-killing training, but is curious about the life she has usurped. She begins to dig into Alice's background, all without giving away the fact that she is *not* Alice, and finds that Alice is an integral part of what is happening. Making things even more interesting is a demon named Deacon Camphire, who was originally befriended by Alice and who seems to have an intense interest in Lily-in-Alice's-body.

I thought this was an original take on urban fantasy. Lily was an engaging character. The story is told in the first person, typical of much UF, and although, Lily can be sarcastic, I still found that I liked her voice. She is smart and has a sensible knack for self-preservation.

I did think that Lily's acceptance of her new life came pretty quickly, but I can understand why she was ready to leave her old life -- except for Rose -- behind. I also wasn't completely sold on the seemingly instant transformation of Lily into a demon-fighting super-girl. Fighting is a skill acquired through practice -- lots and lots of practice -- and it seemed to come too quickly to Lily to be realistic.

The secondary characters were interesting. Deacon is a enigma, who we get to know better over the course or the series. I like that his secrets are revealed slowly. Can't say too much here, because it would be a spoiler.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read, and I would definitely try other books by this author.