That's what I was in the mood for this time. I also wanted a strong female protagonist. Not just any strong female would do, of course, but one that was focused, disciplined, and tough... with some wit thrown in for good measure.
I wanted Sarah Connor mixed with Buffy Summers. Odd combo, I know, but whoever said desires make any sense?
Well, I didn't get Buffy. Actually, I didn't get Sarah Connor, either. But what I did get was someone that made my blood sing for more.
I got Emiko.
Who's Emiko, you ask?
She's that awesome woman on the cover of The Last Dance: A Sepia Blue Short, written by Orlando Sanchez. This is basically a prequel to his Sepia Blue series.
So what's it about?
The Unholy, creatures of the darkness, have been imprisoned within Central Park for over a hundred years. Wards placed around the park keep the Unholy from breaking out into the the rest of the world, and elite warriors known as Hunters have the duty of protecting us from them. But the wards are weakening, and the unholy have escaped. Emiko, a Level One Hunter, prepares for the toughest battle she's ever faced in an effort to keep the weakened wards from breaking in entirety, knowing this would allow the Unholy the freedom to wreak havoc on human society.
This short story is only around 35 pages in length, but it's one of the best teasers for a series that I've seen in a while.
Sanchez places the reader into Emiko's shoes from the very beginning, giving us a glimpse into her soul. He tells us very little, choosing instead to make Emiko's words and actions speak for her.
And they do it well.
Emiko was focused on her goal, she was smart, and she fought with incredible discipline... but she was also compassionate.
She was somebody that I could admire.
While the first couple of pages were a little slower than I would have liked for a short story, the rest of this work more than made up for that. Its fast paced action and its ability to pull me in made me want Emiko to prevail against the Unholy at all costs.
Sanchez made me want more.
Thankfully, The Last Dance isn't the end. Rather, it's the story of an important event set before the Sepia Blue series, which focuses on Emiko's daughter, Sepia.
And I really hope to find that Sepia is as awesome as her mother when I read the first full novel in the series!
While not available on Smashwords, The Last Dance can be found on Kindle and Nook, as well as Scribd.