Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blood Song - review

Blood Song
***** (out of my arbitrary possible six)

urban fantasy

I'm liking this cover; her hair falling around her face, her eyes almost glowing, and that little delicate fang that she can't quite hide. I like the sparse colors, with just a hint of red. There have been a few covers with this tyle of graphics - I've enjoyed those that I've seen so far.

I've read books by the writing duo C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp; two of the Thrall series, Touch of Evil and Touch of Madness. I remember liking Touch of Evil enough to buy the the second book when it came out. Unfortunately, by the time I was almost through reading Touch of Madness, the narrative style was driving me crazy. It's not even really a big deal - just word usage. Didn't affect the plot, the subplots - only my particular enjoyment of the novel.

When I saw the author's name, Cat Adams, at first I thought this was a brand new author, then I thought it was just one of the duo branching out on her own. Apparently, this is just their new pen name. When I found out it was the same two, I thought - "oops" but decided to read Blood Song anyway. And I liked it. There were a few words that I thought - c'mon, people don't talk or even think like that (normal people, everyday you and me people - unless you're a highly, extremely educated and wordy person or someone who speaks crosswordeze. Maybe it's just me). I enjoyed it, and found it to be a remarkably non-frustrating read. :)

The main character, Celia Graves, is a personal security consultant - which is a fancy phrase for a rather expensive bodyguard. Celia lives in an alternate world -it's ours (some of ours, anyway - The United States) but with a slightly different historical relations and countries; and there are vampires (bats), weres, telepaths, magic use and demons. All are recognised by all citizens and there is quite a market for products related to protection against vampires, etc. There is also a market for spells and spelled or charmed items. But just because many of the supernatural species are known, doesn't mean they're all treated equal. One of Celia's good friends is a werewolf, who keeps this fact hidden. I like the way the world is built around these various species and how the authors let us in on the various peoples/items little by little. There are small or micro info-dumps, but it's not overwhelming. Rather we get some explanations a paragraph here, a couple of sentences there, a paragraph here.

The police are able to use some spells to investigate crimes. Clairvoyants are used to help crime victims re-capture memories. Some therapists are able to use magical abilities to make traumatic events seem not so traumatic.

When a vampire is newly turned, they lose all sense of their previous selves, there are no memories left of their previous life, which means there are also no loyalties or family obligations left either. So when someone is attacked and possibly turned, one of the first things checked for are memories of knowledge of self. There are warrior-priests on patrol...Interesting world building.

As the book opens, Celia has just visited her best friend at an exclusive facility for a birthday celebration. Celia's best friend (Vicki) is a clairvoyant who lives in a "facility" - a type of rehab that caters to the very rich - rehabilitating all kinds of problems, from abuse to learning how to deal with magical or special abilities. After her visit, Celia is just getting started on her first day or rather night, as a bodyguard to a prince. This is where things begin to get weird. The night busy with visits to the seedier parts of town, getting more and more gritty until finally they end up at a particularly tired part of town, with tired and worn out strip clubs. This is where Celia's party is attacked, only it's Celia that suffers the most....As you can see from the cover of the book, Celia is attacked by a vampire, not quite turned and now has to adjust to drinking only solids, dealing with people's preconcieved notions (after all, if you lived in a world with vampires, and saw a fanged very pale woman come up to you, wouldn't you want to shoot holy water first and ask questions later?) Since this attack happens when she's guarding the prince, Celia has some questions. This isn't the only thing that goes wrong that night...

Celia ends up having to call on an ex-lover of hers who (whom?) she's still attracted to. And her werewolf friend seems to have some secrets that might or might not endanger her in later the way, she's also a little attracted to him, although it's stated that she doens't want to complicate the friend relationship they have - prefers to keep it comfortable. It's like a good friend that you know is sexy as hell - you appreciate it, but you're not going to do anything about it. So it's not quite like the typical love triangle that's a part of urban fantasy books in general...not yet anyway. :)

This book was entertaining to read. there were certain happenings that would get to some readers - like the sudden gaining of powers or the secret that Celia learns later in the book that actually helps her when she most needs it - but it's also apparent that Celia is going to have to pay one way or another for the use of that certain secret. Mysterious or vague enough for you? spoilers.

I enjoyed this novel enough to decide to buy the second one - or at least find out if the narration style changes like the Thrall series - which I still maintain was a good storyline, with interesting happenings. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys urban fantasy or dark fantasy. And the vampires in this book so far, don't appear to be the angst-ridden vampires of some books - these vampires are straight up mean dangerous. This was good reading with some fun magical gadgets and interesting characters.

The dialog between characters is written well - some humor, some facetious comments, and good all-round dialogue.

Other books by Cat Adams

Magic's Design - Feb 2009

There are many, many other books written by these two, under their previous pen names, C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp - such as the Thrall series, the Sazi and others.

Reading Challenge - Horror & Urban Fantasy 2011 Reading challenge

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