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Thank you NetGalley and Howard Books for providing an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Emily Jacobs is the descendent 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 determine 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 everyone of her descendants. A story about the search for self, filled with centuries-old intrigues against the backdrop of atrocity and hope.

Before I begin my review, you’re probably wondering why I have two different covers depicted above. Well, the smaller one is what was supposed to be the finished cover, but for whatever reason someone at the publishers decided to go in a different direction. Personally, I loved the red cover. I thought it was beautiful and elegant in its simplicity. The cover that they went with in the end is nice, but it just doesn’t grab me like the first did. Anyway, on with the review.

I’ve heard of Tosca Lee, but The Progeny is actually the first book of hers I’ve read and all I can do is kick myself for not trying her before. It’s one of those books that combines great characters with an exciting and multi-layered mythology. Emily/Audra is a character that you can’t help but become attached to. While in some ways she’s your typical kick-ass heroine that you often find in this genre, she also has some interesting vulnerabilities due to her memory loss. As the reader you’re swept along in her quest to discover her past as well as what happened to make her resort to voluntarily having her memory wiped. The secondary characters are equally well-developed and it’s not always obvious who is friend and who is foe. The only criticism I have is that about halfway in, the story segued into an overly long party scene which had me impatiently wanting it to get back to the good stuff. Thankfully the action does pick up and it never slows down until the unbelievable cliffhanger conclusion which had me yelling “Darn you Tosca Lee!” Seriously! How the heck am I supposed to wait for book #2? Oh well. I suppose I’ll have to content myself with reading her other books. The Progeny immediately hooked me with its fascinating characters, exotic locales, and beautiful world-building. It’s a unique and inventive twist on vampire legends which takes the historical figure of Elizabeth Bathory and creates an entirely new mythology around her. I highly recommend this to fans of horror and paranormal fiction!

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