Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Black Blood by John Meaney - review

Black Blood
*UK title Dark Blood
John Meaney
Fantasy with a gothic/punk feel...

****** six out of six stars...maybe more

cover - this cover really represents the book.  If you look closely,  focus on the gothic style of buildings, the spires, the claw look, and the dark, dark, a touch of the feel of the setting....

Quite a while ago, I was gifted a book called Bone Song by John Meaney.  When I read it, I was blown away by the style, the general feel of the book, the dialogue...everything about it.  So of course, I got online and ordered the sequel - couldn't find any books at all by John Meaney in our local Barnes & Nobel store (the only big bookstore in our city).  I feel a rant coming on....C'MON!!! big bookstores...there are literally hundreds if not more authors and titles of books that you are not carrying...but you will put up whole sections of reprints and products of Twilight books - hardcover, trade paperback, playing cards, wrapping paper, etc.   I know it's business, but how about trying to sell some books?  get some of the books in the store that available, a better variety of SciFi, Fantasy, UF, etc for customers who are stuck going to your store because there is only one other bookstore - the bookstore that closes before 6 p.m.?  - okay - rant over. 
....I found a copy of the sequel, ordered it and then put it on the shelf and kind of forgot I had it- I tend to do things like this.  So the other day, I was thinking about Bone Song....about how much I enjoyed it and I found Black Blood and started reading it.  I enjoyed the hell out of it.  Just as good as the first novel and what an ending!  Oh boy....kind of gives hope that a third book might decide to come out of this man's brain....

This is one of those books that is hard to review - it's hard to give it quite the justice it might deserve.  The setting is amazing.  The city of Tristopolis is dark, because on their earth, the rotation is different, so that parts of the earth are always in light, and parts are always in the dark.  In Tristopolis, for example, people buy sunglasses to wear INSIDE.  The energy and materials used are manufactured by things like bones (explained in Bone Song), huge insects, spiders, etc.  Wraiths help to power things such as elevators, security systems, lights, all kinds of things.  This is just a small taste of the rich world building that Meaney has worked out.   Best yet, you're never, ever treated to longwinded explanations of things - nope.  it's all weaved into the story in short descriptions, so well done that you don't even realize that anything is being explained.  Masterfully done.

In the first novel, there was a conspiracy and murder.  Donal - a police investigator became involved with Laura - a highly placed detective who just happened to be a very rich zombie.  Zombies are not your Walking Dead type of zombies in this world.  Rather it's more along the lines of Terry Pratchett's zombies...sort of.  These zombies are people who have paid to be resurrected after death, treated with a black heart (among other things) and have to re-charge using a power source to stay functioning...  If you haven't read Bone Song, this will be a spoiler....
for Bone Song....Donal ended up having a premature death while trying to save his love...and ended up with her zombie heart...So in Black Blood his story begins with him being a new zombie, having a promotion and dealing not only with grief, but with learning his new limits, powers, abilities, etc.   And trouble is brewing.  There's this new department in the police headquarters called Customer Relationships...and everyone who works there is superbly happy....oddly so.  And a hatred of non-humans...specifically zombies has been increasing and brewing.  Politicians are trying to get new laws passed, taking away rights.  Odd things are happening and Donal is being drawn deeper and deeper into a quagmire of conspiracies while trying to find Laura's murder....

John Meaney told a very interesting compelling story.  His narration and dialogue is great - along with his worldbuilding.  I feel like I might be gushing, but I think this is one of the best books I've read.  It's up there among my favorites. 

This duo of books is very good, and I am planning to see what his other works are like; I see that he's quite a writer, with a few series out there.  Again - what a hell of a book.  I kind of want to go back to the first book and start reading the story all over again...

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