I’ve never been a big fan of UF books, but the United States of Monsters universe by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus has always been an exception. I found Brightblade just as enjoyable as Straight out of Fangton and I Was A Teenage Weredeer. In fact, I think I enjoyed it more.
Ashley Morgan runs the risk of being a Mary Sue character. As the book description mentions, she is a “psychic, telekinetic, empathic superhero, spy, detective, bounty Hunter and private investigator.” What saves her is that she does none of these successfully. Because of her penchant for failure, she doesn’t take herself or situations around her too seriously. Her punchy internal monologue is what really holds this book together.
A private investigator and New Detroit, Ashley learns that her brother, long thought to be dead, is alive-- kind of. She comes upon a magical sword which has an angel imbued with and it that becomes something of her Jiminy Cricket, keeping her in check and going down the right path toward inevitable disaster.
Ashley, who has always been extremely prejudiced against vampire types, has an opportunity to reevaluate these prejudices when she finds out her brother is now a vampire. Then suddenly she ends up on a quest to raise an ancient vampire that can turn vampires back into humans. All the while Ashley is up against a ticking clock in a fight not go full vampire herself.
Just like all of the novels by these two authors, Brightblade nothing but fun. Just like the main character herself, the novel never takes us all too seriously. It is full of pop-culture puns, word plays, sarcasm, and good old fashion Mel Brooks-type wit (which might explain why I love these books so much). Ashley is a great strong female character. It’s interesting to see the story of this world told from the perspective of human. While it’s not necessary to read any of the other books set in this universe, knowledge of the other novels certainly makes Brightblade more enjoyable. There are so many little nuances that you will only get if you read the other books. Lots of characters cross back and forth between the two of them, such as female weredeers and magical ex boyfriends.
If you’re looking for a light read is impossible to put down, the story is for you.