Tag Archives: vampire

Review of Certain Dark Things, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I borrowed Silvia Moreno-Garcia‘s Certain Dark Things from the library.

Description from Goodreads:
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

Review:
I’m going to be honest. I picked this book up at the library based on the cover alone. It is gorgeous and caught my eye. The word vampire was there took and that’s all she wrote. I too this sucker home.

This is a technique for picking out books that has often led me astray, but in this case it worked out just fine. I quite enjoyed Certain Dark Things. I mean, Mexican vampires, or more accurately vampires in Mexico City! The main character is from an ancient Aztec clan, but there are African, Canadian, European, Russian, Chinese and vampires from other places too. Ain’t immigration grand? Not all of them represented in the book, but there are at least 10 subspecies of vampires.

One of the main character is a bisexual Latinx vampire, and the other is about the cutest 17yo boy you’ll ever meet. Honestly, with his tendency to be uncertain in social settings and open, naiveté despite living on the streets, I wondered if he wasn’t meant to be on the autism spectrum somewhere. But I think that might just be me, nothing in the book other than how I interpreted his behavior suggests this. Either way, I adored Domingo. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Atl, but Domingo stole the show for me.

I wouldn’t call this a romance, though I think it has romantic elements and a HEA of a sort. But I like it better for how it ended.

The writing is lovely and I really liked the voice a lot. My biggest complaint is that it is cliche to have a villain obsess over hunting a woman down to rape and torture because his advances were rejected. Yes, there’s more to it than that, but that’s a lot of what it boils down to and that’s just motivation that’s been used and used and used and used.

All in all, Moreno-Garcia is on my radar now and I’ll be checking out more of her work.

Review of Blood Shackles (Rebel Vampires #2), by Rosemary A. Johns

I won a signed copy of Blood Shackles, by Rosemary A. Johns through Goodreads.

Description:
What happens when SPARTACUS meets VAMPIRES? Except the vampires are the slaves… In a divided paranormal London, Light is the rebel vampire of the Blood Lifer world, with a talent for remembering things. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows. But not now. Not since someone hunted and enslaved him. When he’s bought by his alluring Mistress, Light fights to escape. Even if he can’t escape their love. But if he doesn’t, he’ll never solve the conspiracy behind the Blood Club…

WELCOME TO THE BLOOD CLUB

Who are these ruthless humans? Who’s their brutal leader? And who betrayed the secret of the Blood Lifer world?

WHERE THE PREDATORS

London, Primrose Hill. Grayse is the commanding slaver’s daughter. The enemy. She buys Light, like he’s a pair of designer shoes. So why does Light feel so drawn to her? Ashamed, he battles with his desire, even as he burns for her. Can a slave truly love his Mistress? Especially when his family is still in chains. Will he risk everything – even his new love – to save them?

BECOME THE PREY

Does a chilling conspiracy lie behind it all? A stunning revelation leads Light to an inconceivable truth. To the dark heart of the Blood Club. If he can face his worst terrors, he can save his family and his whole species from slavery.

Maybe he can even save himself.

Review:
Honestly better than I expected. I always approach anything involving slavery, especially romance, very warily. So many ways to go wrong. But this managed not to glorify it or the abuse the slaves endure, physically, mentally and sexually. It was a little glossed over, still uncomfortable though, but not made out to be anything but horrible. This is not something I enjoy and I struggled getting through the book since a decent amount of it is dedicated to man talking about what it’s like to be broken.

I even eventually got used to the journaling format it is written it. But I could not stand the cant the characters spoke. Nut for head, neb for nose, lobehole for ear, mush for mouth, etc, etc, etc, etc. OMG it was endless and annoying. Plus, despite being set in modern London and one of the characters growing up in Boston, they all spoke it. Even the rich people you’d have expected to be well educated.

I also found it a little odd how many opportunities vampires had to kill their captors, even when they weren’t mentally broken, but instead just fought them. They pushed them or broke a bone or talked when they were perfectly capable of killing them and moving on. Especially when Light is made out to be an exceptional fighter.

The writing is very good and the editing fine, maybe not perfect but fine. I don’t know that I’d be interested in more of this series, but I’d be perfectly willing to read more of Johns’ writing. I found a lot of it thought provoking, even if disconcerting.

 

Review of Amaranth (The Resistance Trilogy #1), by Rachael Wade

I apparently downloaded Rachel Wade’s Amaranth in 2013. It was a freebie and, as it’s still free, I can only assume it’s a perma-freebie.

Description from Goodreds:
Hoodoo-influenced Southern Louisiana seems like the perfect place for Camille to escape her abusive past and dysfunctional family. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with the handsome Gavin Devereaux and plummet into the world of Amaranth, a place of exile for reformed vampires.

Wrestling to escape a deadly ex-boyfriend while giving Gavin a chance, Camille is confronted with decisions that threaten not only her life, but the lives of her inhuman friends she has come to love. Entangled in her friends’ quest for freedom, she dives into their realm and faces the threats of Amaranth’s ruler—the mother of all vampires—and her own inner demons.

Now Camille must decide whether she will derail her life and make the ultimate sacrifice for the monsters that interrupted her bumpy path back to sanity—what she still wants so desperately—or escape with Gavin before it’s too late for both of them.

Review:
This might have had a good idea in it somewhere but it’s not written well enough for me to tell. Several times I was simply lost and didn’t know what was happening. For example, the book starts in Paris, with Camille talking about leaving her abusive boyfriend in Seattle. Next chapter, she’s in Louisiana talking about leaving her abusive boyfriend, but not the same abusive boyfriend. No idea what happened to the first one or how she ended up with this second one or when she moved to Louisiana. But more to the point, it took quite a while to figure out what was going on. It was jarring.

I marked several passages in which I literally couldn’t figure out what was actually supposed to be happening. Sometimes the writing was just unclear. The pacing is odd and I was often uncertain about time frames. There are several inconsistencies and also a lot of presumed knowledge. I felt like, as a reader, I’d been left out of some essential planning meeting and everyone around me was just going on as if I knew something I didn’t. The characters were one-dimensional and the writing flat.

Gavin and Camille’s relationship is practically insta-love and we’re told how amazing it is, but never shown anything. I never felt any chemistry between them. Then there is Gabe and Audrey. They fall in love off-page and apparently she’s turned into a vampire and let in on all the vampire knowledge that Camille isn’t. Camille introduced her to the vampires and somehow she’s allowed in on all the secrets but the main character isn’t? Yeah, that’s how this book rolled and you sure to feel it.

Worst of all Camille was spineless for most of the book, despite readers being told she’s strong and then she runs off and does something amazingly too stupid to live. Seriously, unbelievably stupid!

Honestly, I just think this needed a lot more work.