The Progeny by Tosca Lee (quick review)

theprogeny_toscalee_simonshusterEmily Porter is the descendant of a serial killer. Now, she’s become the hunted.

She’s on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders—one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save.

Filled with adrenaline, romance, and reversals, The Progeny is the present-day saga of a 400-year-old war between the uncanny descendants of “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her descendants. A story about the search for self amidst centuries-old intrigues and Europe’s underground scene…and one woman’s mission to survive.

 

I was hearing and reading so much praise for Tosca Lee’s The Progeny that I was becoming quite curious. Luckily, the hold list at the library was not so long that I had lost interest before it was available.

Today I spoke with a man in the last hours of his life.  Tomorrow that could be me. (p.138)

This is a thriller with some paranormal aspects (progeny have a particular ability and the Scion who hunt them are resistant to it), a bit of humor (“Vampires aren’t real” cracked me up), and a few nifty twists that kept me guessing. The story is told in first person so the reader learns about the three orders as Emily Porter does, lending more immediacy to the action and the things she discovers. Racing around a European countryside and journeying through the royal “courts” of the Progeny, we are along for quite a ride as Emily must decide who to trust.

I am in a country I do not remember with a man I barely know and who, by all accounts, I should not trust.  My only tie to real answers has just died because of me.  Does that make me an accomplice to murder? (p.137)

It is no secret that one of the plot devices I gravitate towards is memory loss, and it is done fairly well here.  As the book opens, Emily learns that she voluntarily had her memory wiped and receives a warning that she must stay hidden to protect herself and others.  And that warning – dunh dunh dunh – is from herself… not the first time I’ve seen that done, but still, I was hooked.

I am haunted, heady, at odds with the surreal fabric that has become my life. (p.109)

I would class this novel as New Adult, it has a YA vibe with primarily adult characters and adult themes. The cos-play rave nature of the “courts” were an interesting element, but definitely added to the new adult/YA feel. Other parts of the story were decidedly more adult, and one particular element would give me pause if I wanted to quibble about a morally questionable choice. However, none of this detracts from the fact that this is a thoroughly readable and enjoyable suspense thriller and that, even better, the writing often elevates the narrative.  Bring on book 2!


The Progeny (Descendants of the House of Bathory #1) by Tosca Lee | Howard Books, May 2016 | 336 pages, library edition

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