Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
Puffin, 2009. ISBN 9780141325873.
(Ages 12+) Billi has been sent to kill the 6 year old boy in the playground. She balks at the task, but she is a vampire slayer, one of a select group of people descended from the Knights Templars of the Crusades. Immediately the reader is hooked, wondering what she is going to do, appalled that she is being made to kill a child. The setting is London of today, so the reader is taken through the sights and sounds of a modern city, the setting against which this band of impoverished slayers exists.
They must fulfill their destinies, but Billi balks at hers, wanting desperately to be like anyone else. The task of keeping London safe from the evil which has existed for more than a millennium eats at her, and she constantly spars with her distant father about their mission. When her friend Kay returns form training in Jerusalem, they visit the most sacred of places where the Seal of Jerusalem is kept, and inadvertently, Kay releases the evil, and they know that people will die.
A horrific take on the vampire genre, Devil's Kiss will keep the students reading, as they take the ride through the city along with Billi, Kay and her father, as well as a gaggle of other recruits, in search of Michael, the archangel, one of their kind who has fallen into evil and must be destroyed. Children die in the hospital nearby as they close in on their prey. A highly entertaining read, great characters and an involving setting, the second in the series, The Dark Goddess, is due shortly and there is a website which will add to the mood evoked by the book.