This is not your typical vampire story. The heroine is a resourceful loner in a post-apocalyptic world full of horror and nightmares. She has an intrinsic ability that makes her the target of vicious kidnappers. But her fellow captive is a target as well, and of a race that is her sworn enemy. He is not beautiful like Edward, or evilly captivating like Lucius. The battle of wills between them forges unbreakable bonds.
This has been on my keeper shelf since I first read it nearly ten years ago. Once begun it was (and is) impossible to put down. It is finely wrought in all of the necessities – character development, world-building, and plot intricacy. The heroine is atypical. The antagonist/protagonist is both repellent and compelling. McKinley defies the conventions of vampiric beauty so rampant in popular literature and imbues her hero with a feral, alien countenance that engages rather than entrances. This book is a multi-faceted hybrid of fantasy, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, urban escape that will enthrall you.
The only thing you will regret about picking this one up is its stand-alone status.