Review of Drawing Dead (Dana McIntyre Must Die #1), by S.M. Reine

I picked up a freebie copy of Drawing Dead, by SM Reine from Amazon.

Description:

The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body. 

Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She’s infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she’d rather die than turn. 

There might be a cure. But the only way to get it is through Nissa Royal, a vampire with close ties to the masters of Las Vegas. Nissa is dangerous — too dangerous to be allowed to live, much less work alongside. 

But if Dana dies, vampires win Vegas. If she doesn’t die, she becomes one of the bloodless. The cure’s her only chance. In this deadly game of hold ’em, Dana’s drawing dead, and whatever happens next, there’s no changing her losing hand. Dana only knows one thing: If she’s going down, she’s taking as many vampires as possible on her way out… 

Review:

I was pretty disappointed in this book. But largely because I went in with really high hopes. I bought it because the heroine is a fat, butch lesbian and how often do they get to be the heroes in a story…an action hero no less? It wasn’t the diversity aspect of the story that let me down though. Dana is just as the cover suggests (and YES she even got to be fat and butch on the cover!). She’s married to a butch-ish woman. So, Reine didn’t even play into the ‘one of them has to be femme’ trap. I love that. The police chief is a ball-busting trans woman, and it’s engaged in the book, not just dropped in as a token. And not all the other characters are straight, white, cis, etc. So, I’m not disappointed to have bought a book that includes a lot of things I wish more books incorporated (Positively represented fat women on book covers? Hell yes, more!).

Unfortunately, what let me down was that Dana is so darned unlikeable. She’s rude and vile and dismissive of people who care for her. I don’t mean that as any sort of ‘proper women don’t act that way.’ Heck yes, give me more cursing, belching, sarcastic women. I mean it in the sense that she’s almost cruel to a wife that loves her, prioritizing her own wishes over heartfelt pleas. She snarks off to people who are actively trying to help her, as if they are being unreasonable, etc. 

What’s more, Dana is basically suicidal for a large part of this book, which means she runs head-long into battles with so little regard for her own life that it felt too much like a miracle that she continued to survive. Heroes/heroines that are so perfect in battle that they never even consider fear is are flat and uninteresting, IMO. 

All in all, Reine’s writing is fine. And despite there being 40 books in this universe (as of the publication of Drawing Dead, the book is readable as a standalone. But I wouldn’t go so far as to claim you don’t feel the lack of those other books. There were several decisions important in this book that are made based on the events of other books, and you notice.

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