I downloaded Pamela Palmer‘s A Blood Seduction from the Amazon KDP list. At the time of posting it was still free. (Plus, if you follow the link to her website you’ll find a contest to win a signed copy.)
Description from Goodreads:
Take me down to Vampire City…
Vampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal world…one who knows nothing of the power she wields.
Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can’t do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red.
Welcome to Vamp City…
I’ve had this book on my Goodreads wish-to-read list for a while because it’s raved about and tops quite a few Must-Read listopia lists. So, when I saw it come up on the KDP free list I grabbed it. Honestly, I’m not seeing what everyone loves so much.
It’s like one long, protracted rape scene. It felt like every vampire and trader in Vamp City must be walking around with a hard-on all day, constantly on the lookout for any female that they are somehow obligated to assault on sight. Seriously, I don’t think the book goes 5 pages without someone being molested in some fashion. People are killed, tortured and raped endlessly in this book.But this seems to be a fate reserved solely for women. Are horrible, psychopathic vampires really so picky? The reader is forced to confront women being literally ripped apart, drained dry, burned, beaten, raped by a penis wrapped in a barbed sheath, as well as just raped en masse and on display, fondled, molested, humiliated and intimidated non-stop (and I mean that almost literally. It is the backdrop of the novel), but only one man was embarrassed because he had to show his bits in an auction and one man was hunted for sport. That’s pretty much the complete list of male victims in the book.
I know rape is a pretty common motivator in fiction. It’s also used fairly common to ensure the reader knows bad guys are really bad, but I just couldn’t take a whole society based on it. I found reading this book extremely uncomfortable, and I read for fun. This was not fun for me.
Then there is Arturo and Quinn’s relationship. There is a constant back and forwards between them in which he says he ‘I want you’, she counters with ‘as a slave,’ he then counters her with ‘no, in my bed.’ Now this wouldn’t be so horrible except that she’s his slave either way. He owns her. There is no indication that (or even social process by which) she could be anything but a slave in Vamp City. So, there’s a mixed emotional message being sent here. She’s supposed to somehow accept that his wanting to make her a sex slave, as opposed to say a scullery maid, is somehow better or even acceptable. Here’s a direct quote about his thoughts on the matter,”If only he could make her a simple slave and keep her, always, in his house. In his bed.” Yea, he’s not looking for a wife or an equal, just a slave. Lets also not forget that he’s not even offering exclusivity. She’d be one of 4.
Then there is the way this is all cloaked in the illusion of choice. She knows it’s and illusion, but she’s falling for it all the same. She has no power, no control and no other options. Personally, I’d rather call a spade a spade and get on with it. Yea, I’m so not getting what people love so much about this book.
A lesser disappointment, though still a disappointment, is Quinn’s reunion with Zack. He’s essentially her sole motivation. She spends 90% of the book trying to rescue him. Are we, the reader, given a heartfelt reunion? No. Just a ‘go away Quinn.’ Such a let down. Sadly though, having finished it I find myself left with a morbid desire to read the second just to see if it could possibly be as bad. How misguided it that?
I wish I used star ratings on this blog so I could give the book a one star…except I still probably wouldn’t. I really want to. I disliked it that much. But dislike it as I might the writing was still alright and it was still well edited enough to deserve better than a one star. That doesn’t make me feel better about it though.