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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Fatal Retribution by Diana Graves is the first installment in the five-book Raina Kirkland series, which follows the titular character, a young woman - with a human father - who also happens to be an elven-witch hybrid. Raina is, by all appearances, a normal being with a strained family dynamic, similar to what one would expect in a YA series. However, while on a camping trip with her brothers, they are attacked and affected by a rogue vampire...and where all other infected become undead, Raina herself becomes a living vampire. The attack is wholly unprecedented as vampire activity is regulated, which puts Raina on the path to finding answers herself in a mission that uncovers corruption, details of her past, danger, and plenty of action along the way.
Fatal Retribution is unique in that it imparts elements of realism into a popular genre. Diana Graves has created the society Raina inhabits as one where the species of creatures coexist in a sense, although the difference between what is dictated and what is actually adhered to is interchangeable, just as it is among cultures, races, and socio-economic clusters in “real life”. It's this realism and the human elements in Raina that give Graves' first entry in the series a fresh twist. Like all good coming of age stories, there is a budding romance and some angst thrown in, but the layered plot and character-driven narrative steal the show here. I'd recommend this well-written and engaging story to all who enjoy good paranormal young adult fiction. Fortunately, books two through five have already been released so there's no waiting time between reads for even the most ardent fans of the series.