About THE NEXT GENERATION
Fitting in can be hard for anyone. But for Julian and Nika Adams, it’s especially challenging. Born as partial vampires, a rare offshoot of pureblood vampires, the twins have had to deceive people their entire lives—distancing themselves from their peers.
Nika desperately wants a hero, a soulmate, someone she can trust with every fibre of her soul—someone as amazing as her father. The boys at her high school aren’t impressing, but luckily for Nika, Hunter Evans has moved into the neighborhood.
Julian desperately wishes he could sever the empathic bond he has with his sister. While it was fun to experience each other’s emotions when they were kids, now that Julian finds himself pining for a girl he can’t have, sharing his feelings is the last thing he wants to do.
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Even though I’m new to SC Stephens’ Conversion series, its premise and the fact that the story is told through alternating perspectives of not just teen siblings but twins whose bond allows them to feel each other’s emotions as they go through everything that comes with being a teenager and a ‘little bit’ vampire, I knew I needed to introduce myself to this paranormal series and see how Nika and Julian Adams cope with growing up and co-existing with humans when half of their nature wants them to succumb to who they truly are at their core while the other side fights it in order to protect their secrets and those in their lives who matter most.
I admit that I probably should have started at the beginning of the series, so I could truly understand every facet of the storyline, but it can be read as a standalone as long as readers don’t feel out of the loop when backstory information is presented. Not knowing didn’t detract from my enjoyment of The Next Generation, but I’m the type of reader who likes to know and understand EVERYTHING there is about the characters and the plot, so I was a bit out of sorts until I focused on who the twins are presently and not necessarily where they came from and who they belonged to from the previous books in the series.
SC Stephens constructs quite the interesting setting and dynamics in Nika and Julian’s story. Stephens meticulously blends the problematic issues that come from being teenagers and the ones that come from being part of a vampire family whose secrets need to stay hidden for the safety of themselves and others. Equal weight is given to both sides of who the twins are and with the added qualities of suspense, self-discovery, and young love, the story line is complex and the characters are well-developed.
I do have to mention that the ending of Nika and Julian’s story felt a bit rushed and open-ended. Now, I’m not sure if that was deliberate on Stephens’ part and there’s more to come for the twins, but I wanted more from the ending…I wanted to feel closure for all of the situations that occurred in the text, especially when it comes to certain characters and decisions that were made, and I just didn’t feel like I got the resolution I needed.
I definitely enjoyed The Next Generation. Both Nika and Julian are interesting characters who have their own unique personalities and views despite the unbreakable connection that they share. Because the twins are not the same gender, it’s quite comical, at times, to see how they handle one another’s ‘issues’ and just how awkward such situations can be when nothing is sacred because their respective emotions infiltrate each other’s bodies and minds repeatedly.
Overall, it was a great introduction to a different side of SC Stephens’ writing and I’m intrigued enough that now I want to go back and read the first three books in the story because I definitely think those books will offer insights into The Next Generation that I just couldn’t grasp starting with the fourth book.
4 Poison Apples
Read an EXCERT of THE NEXT GENERATION now
A slice of anger ran up my spine—I shivered with the strength of it. As I closed my eyes, intense, rolling hatred seared my body, tightened my muscles. I wasn’t angry at Arianna’s comment; I actually found it rather amusing. No, the anger scorching my soul wasn’t coming from me, but from Julian. And it was strong. He was pissed.
My eyes snapped to where I could feel him in the gym. He was moving away from the massive room, hopefully coming out to join me. Curiosity and concern blossomed in my chest. I really wanted to know why Julian was so angry. Although, knowing him, I did have one guess…
“I’ll work on that…” I murmured to Arianna as I felt Julian leave the gym and enter the boy’s locker room. Frowning, I wondered what the heck he was doing. His anger had spiked as he’d left the gym, not diminished. My concern heightened. I should go see what’s wrong with him.
Knowing Julian could feel me just as well as I could feel him, I tried to squelch the worry bubbling inside my stomach. I even tried sending calming feelings Julian’s way, but it wasn’t working. Whatever had him riled up wasn’t letting go; he was getting angrier and angrier.
Arianna laughed, then she started going into elaborate detail about all the dates she wanted to go on, and which boy she wanted to take on them—she had about five or six mapped out already. Tuning her out, I tried listening for my brother. I couldn’t hear him through the people and structures in the way though. My ears just weren’t enhanced enough. It irritated me sometimes that my family’s gifts were weaker in Julian and me—the two of us were much more human than vampire. But that allowed us to feel more normal than the others, and I did appreciate that fact. The limitations were just really inconvenient at times. While any of the other vampires in my family could have easily picked out the conversation Julian was having, all I was getting was low, husky murmuring. But his emotions were simmering, and that was all I needed to know.
Glancing at Arianna, I gathered all my stuff and zipped up my bag. She raised an eyebrow, but didn’t pause in telling me all about her imaginary date rock climbing with Jake McKinley. Giving her a soft smile, so she didn’t get too suspicious, I started to stand. “I’ll be right back, Arianna, I—” Dread locked up my muscles, and I halted mid-sentence and mid-stance. Fear. Julian was feeling fear now. His anger had been rising to a boiling point, but now it had shifted to stark terror, and I had no idea why. Dropping my bag to the ground, I hauled ass across the football field.
“Nika? Where are you going? What’s wrong?”
I ignored Arianna’s concern and kept running. I had to get to Julian. I could have blurred to him in a split-second, but hampering my abilities had been drilled into me since birth, and I wouldn’t go against that training unless the situation absolutely demanded it. And when Julian’s fear shifted to panic…I began to believe that the situation demanded it.
But knowing that Arianna was staring at me as I ran away curbed the desire to blur to Julian. I wouldn’t freak out my friend if I could help it. And aside from extreme panic and lingering fear, Julian was okay. Well, he wasn’t in pain at any rate.
Pulling open the doors to the gym, the metal singing in complaint at my force, I suddenly felt a rush of agony. Gasping, I paused in my step. The zing of hurt had exploded over me, almost like I’d felt it myself. I hadn’t, though; it was separate from my own feelings of fearful concern. The pain had come from Julian…and renewed anger came right behind it.
Once I was inside the gymnasium, my hearing finally picked him up. He was cursing, and there was a lot of scuffling. It sounded like he’d gotten himself into a fight. Odd. Julian wasn’t one to pick on people. But then again, if what had happened earlier in the gym to make him so happy was what I was afraid it was…then yeah, he might have started this fight.
Cursing under my breath as another bout of pain lashed Julian’s body, I glanced around the empty halls. Seeing it was clear, I sped off after Julian. In mere seconds, I was at the edge of a group of people in the boy’s locker room. They were all cheering on a couple of guys going at it in the center. Two bodies were sprawled on the tile floor of the open shower, wild punches being slung everywhere.
From the blood bond and our emotional connection, I knew Julian was amid the melee. Silence shocked me for a second as I stood on the periphery and watched my brother through the cracks in the teenagers surrounding him. He’d gained the upper hand and was straddling a senior: Russell Morrison. I watched in horror as Julian successfully landed a punch to Russell’s jaw. So many racing heartbeats thudded in the room…it was nearly deafening. What the hell?
Knowing that our supernatural strength was superior to every other kid at this school made fear cut through my startled state. Julian could seriously hurt Russell if he wasn’t careful, and with the amount of pain and anger Julian was feeling right now, he didn’t seem to be worried about being careful anymore. He was completely out of control.
“Julian!” I screeched, an edge of panic to my voice. He could not get in a fight with a pure human. He’d accidentally kill him.
About S.C. Stephens
S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.
Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.
In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out the movies and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.